Along the way.

Yesterday is gone. And, good riddance. It started bad and it ended worse. You didn’t see me here because my Cox modem/router failed. They wanted $75 because I didn’t have customer care. Okay, okay. I have a good idea of what this gear costs.

But, when I said yes to having a technician visit, he or she couldn’t be scheduled for almost two weeks.

Uh, wait a minute.

Off I went to the store. The first modem didn’t do what it was supposed to do, so I traded it for another one. I had the COX gear for so long that I forgot that it is a combination modem and router.

Back to the store I went.

New router in hand, I thought, “ah ha, I’me done.”

You know the saying, “If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans?” It turns out that also includes making modern digital things work properly.

I called a Cox online tech who was helping me through the installation. It turns out two techs didn’t know what they were doing. Sure, my main machine — this one — was working. Somewhat. Safari couldn’t load a lot of websites, including WordPress. However, I had no signal to our televisions or our phones.

Luckily, there was a shouting mach on celestial television. When that was done I watched the end of a bad football game. And, finally Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.

I went to sleep early. Midnight. Normally that would mean I’d wake up around 5am. For some reason I slept until 9am.

During that long sleep I had a dream. In it I figured out how to make every work. Maybe.

It came to me that it had to be the router since nothing but the main machine was getting signal. I Googled around for Linksys and found their website. It turns out that they have an app for my phone. I downloaded that, followed step by step instructions and, ALL JOY.

I do have to adjust each machine’s settings but I expected that.

You know how I say that we should let our pictures marinate? Maybe we should do that with all seemingly complicated issues.

Just a thought.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, er, in front of the porch, who’s the best photographer of them all?

Not me, that’s for sure.

I resurrected this picture from the scrapheap of time. I liked it t the time, but I didn’t share it.

Now I am.

I was walking around The Bywater, which is a realtor’s name. It’s really just a section of the 9th Ward.

I stumbled on this scene. I couldn’t believe my luck… until there was almost nothing to show in the mirror’s reflection.

I did what I could and called it good.

You would have seen another picture today, but it got lost in digital space. Likely, you’ll see it tomorrow.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other.


Squares, not squares.

Never.

No little boxes. Don’t left anybody put you in them. Don’t put yourself in one. If your experiment fails, it fails. That’s how you learn. How you grow. Anybody who knows me knows I am a baseball fan. Think about this. The very best hitters have a batting average of around .300. That means they only get a hit once in three at bats. They make an out the other two times.

Who are we as artists, writers, musicians, to think that we should do any better?

If I really think about it, I’m not sure that I can claim the mantle of artist. I see things. I make pictures of what I see. That’s it. Artists, as I understand them, actually create something from whole clothe. Yeah, sure. I do some stuff in post production that makes my picture a little different. But, without being there. Being on site. Seeing stuff the somebody else has already done, what would I have?

Make no mistake. People call me an artist. I’ll take it. I’m honored. Humbled. But, for me, I have to strip it back and understand what I really do. Pictures by discovery.

This picture. Somebody painted a bunch of squares on an iron door. A while ago. The door is starting to rust. Somebody else hung few Mardi Gras beads over the top. A while ago. They are fading. Discolored. Then, I walked by and took a picture. On the way to somewhere else. As usual.

I managed to put everyone’s work in my picture. I suppose that at least three of us are part of it. Maybe more.


Sign of the times.
Sign of the times.

This is not a sign of the times.

It is a ghost sign. Hiding in plain site. A billboard for all to see. There was a plastic sign hung over it. It rotted through the ages. It fell away reveal the original work behind it. Knowing the neighborhood, it’ll likely remain this way for a long while. Or, at least until taggers complete their appointed rounds.

The picture. F8 and be there. And, hope for some reasonably good light.


Rain in the Bywater.
Rain in the Bywater.

Yes. A little rain must fall. And, it must fall like it would in an Impressionistic painting.

So, here’s what happened. We had a hurricane on Thursday night. You didn’t know about it because it didn’t make the national or international news.

What? Wait. Why not?

It was something called a Cold Core Hurricane. It formed out of a huge thunderstorm and winds that were blowing from 60 to 100 miles per hour. It started to form an eye and then broke apart. It probably didn’t last for more than a couple of minutes. Luckily for us. On the other hand, it couldn’t last very long. It didn’t have heated gulf water to fuel it. And, the temperature wasn’t hot enough to propel it. It didn’t have the chance to turn cyclonic.

What does that mean for this year’s hurricane season? The one that starts in just ten days. I have no clue. The season is supposed to be about normal. But, we haven’t had a hurricane work its way into the gulf and head even remotely to us for a couple of years. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. What it does mean is that it’s time for us to stock up on batteries, canned (yucky) food and bottled water. Or, not. Our working plan is to leave if a hurricane head this way. We’ll see.

Anyway. The barley formed hurricane didn’t do any damage. There was a lot of thunder and lightning, but we didn’t lose power. The rainfall was intense but fairly brief and by morning everything just had that newly washed look to it.

The picture. I took it in the Bywater. It’s naturally softened by rain water, which also made all those lights sort of bubble up and glow. The rest is as usual. See it. Shoot it.


Beans, beans, beans,
Beans, beans, beans.

Lundy Gras. The Monday before Mardi Gras Day. Or Fat Tuesday, If you wish.

Forgive me. I’m keeping this very short because I had to go to work by about 6am today. Forgive me too because I haven’t even looked at very many emails or comments. It’s been very, very busy around here. But, not crazy. I’m pretty methodical. Except when it comes to the parking situation. Then any sort of method is impossible. Heh!

Anyway.

There were three parades on Monday in New Orleans. Red Beans in the Bywater. Proteus and Orpheus in Uptown. I managed to photograph them all. Short day though. Only 11 hours and over 6 miles walking.

So. That’s it. Ask me questions about the pictures if you’d like. I’m happy to answer. In a couple of days. And, if you are wondering. The bottom picture that is captioned very simply “Mardi Gras,” is my best picture of Carnival Season so far. It says everything it needs to say about Mardi Gras. It is all that it should be.

Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras.


Water pump house. Bywater.
Water pump house. Bywater.

Since today is officially the first day of Autumn, I thought it might be a good to wrap up some of the junk I photographed over the summer. These are the odds and ends of about six rambles through the city at all different times, over many days. Some pictures were driven by the light at the time. Others, by the location. And still others, just by the fact that I was passing by. I suppose that I didn’t post them at the time because I liked other pictures. Or, some of these pictures just hadn’t marinated long enough. They are ready now.

I’ll discuss them underneath each picture. Okay.

This place is a long abandoned pump house in the Bywater. A neighborhood in the river side of the 9th Ward. I’ve never seen it without a chain ink fence around it, so I finally just included the fence. It’s the low storm light that makes the picture.

Passing through.
Passing through.

A light decisive moment. I wish I was just a little quicker. I was walking around this upper 9th Ward neighborhood when she pedaled down the street. The pink highlights are the thing.

Rebuilding something.
Rebuilding something.

Storm light again. The neighborhood is called the Irish Channel. It keeps expanding as realtors see fit. It’s really located in what could loosely be called The Lower Garden District. The boundaries keep expanding because the neighborhood is rapidly being redeveloped. Old housing stock is fairly inexpensive. It’s a great place for young couple and young families to start out if they want to live in New Orleans.

Overgrown.
Overgrown.

End of the summer in New Orleans. This upper 9th Ward neighborhood still has a way to grow. If we don’t have a cold — cold for us — winter, this growth will be twice as high next summer.

Chained and barred.
Chained and barred.

A neighborhood called Black Pearl. The name is a cross of a street name and a population name. It survived Hurricane Katrina intact, only to be hammered by a tornado — yes, a tornado — in Feb 2007. Yes. Nature hits us down here every that way it can.

Summer growth
Summer growth

Another example of summer growth. This time, in the 7th Ward.

The pictures. Yeah. There’s some heavy post production in some of them. Nothing at all in others. I mostly did what I felt at the time. Or, what the pictures showed me that they needed. Like that. Just like that.

 


New Orleans Color
Yellow9Ward-1

Remember the yellow picture? It’s posted on my Laskowitzpictures page on Facebook. A lot of readers have commented on it. Well. Many people think New Orleans really doesn’t change all that much. They think we are steeped in tradition.  In many ways we are. And, we probably would have remained remain that way. But, Hurricane Katrina changed things. A lot of things. Many people left. New people arrived. People started businesses. Some failed. Some prospered. Even though The Joint opened a few years before the storm, it became very successful after the storm. It grew so big that the owners found a much bigger building and moved. It is still located in The Bywater, which is also experiencing huge changes and growth. It’s those hipsters again.

Anyway. The bright yellow wall was painted bright blue. The funky, painted garden chairs became red and black kitchen chairs.

Everything changes. Even the little things. Even in New Orleans.

 


Elizabeth's 2
Great Breakfasts at Elizabeth’s Restaurant.

Yesterday, I showed you Vaughn’s. You go there to listen to music, usually at night. Or, to watch Saints games on Sunday afternoons. But where do you eat breakfast in The Bywater? Today, there are all sorts of small restaurants and cafes in the area. A bunch of hipsters saw to that. But, in the not so distant past there really was only one place to go. Elizabeth’s. It was legendary. People from all over the city journeyed to the area just for brunch or breakfast. Unfortunately, all things pass. Elizabeth sold her labor of love. The new owners food is not quite up to past standards. However, it is still very good. Elizabeth had a secret ingredient. Her.

Elizabeth’s is nestled right up against the levee, train tracks and the river. The big river. The Mississippi River. The building is another one of those old New Orleans buildings that is rich, warm and little funky. The signs that cover the outer walls were painted by Dr. Bob, a well know local folk artist. His compound and massive studio is a block or so away. Bob fits into the neighborhood. He’s one of those characters. We’ve been trying to find a way to work together for years. We just can’t seem to get it together.

The picture. More luck. It was actually a dreary all day long. Then the lower clouds parted a bit and the sun emerged slightly. From underneath the clouds. That’s why you see the building illuminated in the way that it is. I saw the light start to emerge and started searching for something — anything — to use as a subject. Fortunately, I was right across the street from the restaurant. Light like that can last only a matter of minutes. Or seconds. You can’t waste time thinking that you’ll  come back to it later. There is no later. You have to move. Fast.


MGC&B011
After The Dance

MGC&B050
All Beaded Up.

MGC&B053
Toss Me Sumptin’ Mister.

MGC&B047
Pull Me Sumptin’ Mister.

MGC&B037
Petit Float.

MGC&B014
Hi. Hello. Happy Mardi Gras.

MGC&B016
Toot. Toot. Toot.

So. I know what you are wondering. “What’s the deal with Sweet Caroline?” Well. I never saw or heard or anything like it. But first, a little back story. This is the ‘titRex Parade. No. It doesn’t mean what you think it does. The name is short for Petit Rex. No. I didn’t misspell it. It’s French. It’s a DIY Mardi Gras parade, which was started in response to the big huge super krewes that take over major streets for hours on end. They say that it was inspired by Bacchus. That’s a huge parade. Many of the Bacchus floats have trouble making turns on New Orleans’ narrow streets. By comparison, this parade is tiny. And, so are the floats. Check them out. They are about 12 inches long. They are pulled like a child pulls a pull toy. The really cool thing is that if one break downs, it can be picked up and fixed by one person. Break downs are a major factor in parade delays. This parade is really nothing more than another kind of second line parade. Those, for me, are the best. There are maybe two marching bands. Maybe a dozen floats. The parade rolls through St. Roch, which is now called The New Bywater, and eventually finishes in The Marigny where it sort of blends into the Krewe of Chewbacchus. That’s another DIY parade, albeit a little bigger. But not too much bigger.

So. Back to Sweet Caroline. You know it. It’s an old Neil Diamond song. Let me further set the stage. The people who live in these neighborhoods and attend the parade are either hipsters, old hippies or folks who look like they got trapped in 1967. Nice people, but they like hipper kinds of music. Normally. Maybe. Here’s what happened. The first marching band stops. They start playing Sweet Caroline. When they get to the break and the chorus the entire parade starts singing at the top of our lungs. Not only do we sing Sweet Caroline, but if you remember there’s a three beat count using horns and bass that sort of goes like, “boom, boom, boom.” It’s instrumental. But, we sang that too. What a glorious and joyful noise. Everybody was smiling and laughing. As a wise song writer once wrote, ” Live Music Is Better. Bumper Stickers Should Be Issued.”

The pictures. Come on. 🙂 By now, you know me. F something and be there. Just find the picture and take the picture. The best way to work in the street. I do have to tell you one thing. I really like parades like this. I can just join the parade and walk with them.