You know that they make me smile. After all, a pack of them allow us to live with them. They aren’t Beagles, but still.
After this miserable week, which isn’t over, I needed something to make me smile. So, I dipped into those lost archives and found something that would do the trick. The funny thing about this Krewe of Barkus was I don’t remember photographing it that year. Obviously, I did. And, I worked from an odd place for me, which makes me think that during Mardi Gras 2020, I should work from here again. Or, near this location.
That’s the thing about photographing something until you are bored with it. Review your archives. Find something you’ve done in the past, but have forgotten about, and think about doing something similar. But, better. Or, a little different.
More dogs. I bet you thought that I ran out. Nooooooo….
I photographed lotsa dogs. Dogs doing all sorts of things. But, given the circumstances, the thing they did best was be patient. It amazes me, sometimes, when dogs just completely roll with everything and turn very Zen. The humans among us could learn some lessons from this. Bigly lessons.
The krewes of Druid and Nyx roll at about 6pm in Uptown. According to Alexa, there is a 62% chance of rain at parade time. We can expect about 0.25 inches of rain. That isn’t terrible. That won’t cause flooding.
But, we will get wet.
The weather will get worse as we get closer to the weekend and Mardi Gras. The city has already said that all parades will roll on their day as scheduled. They have no choice. Aside from creating chaos within the krewes themselves, the NOPD is so short-staffed that they might not be able to keep us safe if parades were moved around by more than a couple of hours.
For those of us who have been around for a while, this is no big deal. We live in Southeastern Louisiana. We are approaching spring. The weather changes from hour to hour and we get a lot of rain.
But, now we live in the age of social media. Rumours and truth spread like wildfire. Well, mostly rumours and unsubstantiated news. Finding the truth is rare.
Here’s my suggestion for the rest of Mardi Gras parade season.
Decide if catching beads and trinkets is worth standing in the rain. If not, stay home or go to your favorite bar. Do whatever you normally do there. If you have come from far away to see our legendary Mardi Gras, by all means hit the streets. Locals too. Wear some kind of rain covering. Nothing heavy. The temperatures are starting to warm up. Even then, know you are going to get wet. Embrace it. That’s part of the fun.
You know. We do it for the stories we can tell. At least that’s what Jimmy Buffett says.
The pictures. You know. F8 and be there. Some small adjustments in post production. In terms of tactics for tonight. One camera. One lens. Not changing lenses protects the inside from rain. It protects me if a camera gets waterlogged. I have a couple of backups that don’t need to be on the street until they do.
One more thing. Spellcheck hates “Bigly.” But, but, but… Tweasel said.
Oh yeah, Tweasel is code for treasonous weasel. That is code for the orange man in The White House.
Krewe of Barkus. The dogs. The people. The pictures. And, a few stories.
I had it all planned out. In my head. I even tried to photograph what I was thinking about. My lead picture was going to be the dog sniffing into the lens. Then, this picture. Then that picture. But, you know what happens with plans. Life gets in the way. Or, God laughs. Something like that.
I didn’t really see this moment when I pushed the button. But, oh man. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was culling and editing it.
The top image. It’s an Honest-To-God picture. Not, a fun little picture that I took at a parade. It’s a strong, powerful portrait of a woman and her dog. I’m truly amazed that I took it. I haven’t made a real picture like that in a long time. True. I make pictures that I like. You like them too. I just haven’t made a picture that matters.
But, this one…
Nothing like a doggie kiss.
And, the dog said…
These three. Nice moments. You know me. That actual event is not the thing. I used to photograph that way. I had to tell a publishable story. I can still do that. I’d rather look for little moments that may just hang together because I made them at a recognizable event.
And, this one. I saw her walking through the shadows. I asked if I could take her picture. She said yes and proceeded to tell me her story. She’s dressed in white because she and her husband are out of mourning. Their dog passed two years ago. The didn’t even come to last year’s Krewe of Barkus. It was just too hard for them. But, this year they started feeling better. They decided it was time to celebrate their dog’s life and the time that they had with him.
There you have it. Dogs and their people.
The pictures. Oh, you know. F8 and be there. I didn’t mess with them in post production except to clean them up because this is as close to photojournalism as I’ve come in a long time. Sorry about that. I’ll do better.
This post wrote itself. Woof, woof, woof, bark, bark, bark, growl, growl, growl, grrr, grrr, grr.
See what I mean?
The Krewe of Barkus. It’s about dogs. It’s their parade. But, it’s also about their humans. It’s also our parade too. It’s hard to know who is masked better. The dogs? Or, the humans? Like everything in New Orleans, this parade has grown. I remember when it was a small walk, sparsely attended and you could pretty much walk with the parade. Now? Huge crowds everywhere. Pick a spot and you are pretty much stuck. It’s all in good fun. No. Strike that. All in great fun. Best of all. Nobody got shot. Which is something I’ll get to in a minute. After I talk about the pictures.
The pictures. This is about me as much as anything. Dogs are hard to photograph. The dogs around this place move when they know that the shutter button is being pressed. But, despite my rapidly advancing age, I still have pretty good hand — eye coordination. And, my instincts are still pretty good. So, that’s what these picture are about. Wait a minute. I have to be careful here. The pictures are about the dogs, their humans and… me. Especially the top one.
My favorite? It’s a bit of a sleeper. The bottom picture. Pretty in Pink. I did my best Elliot Erwitt. Heh!
About that nobody got shot thing.
When you open the morning paper or morning website and the headline says, “Nobody Shot On Bourbon Street Saturday Night,” you have to wonder if it is such big news that nobody got shot? A look that story reveals that part of the crowd on Bourbon Street stampeded because they *thought* they heard shots fired. Their descriptions are vivid. The NOPD couldn’t find any data to support that. I don’t know if I believe them or city hall. They’ve made a big deal out of increasing all sorts of protections and adding officers from various state agencies to patrol the crowd. What if shots were fired? Hmmmm…
After all, on this first Mardi Gras weekend, which was combined with the NBA All Star weekend, there were five shooting and one stabbing, resulting in two deaths. Two of the shootings were along the parade route.
That said, for anyone visiting don’t be denied. Be aware.
The downside is that once upon a time the violent areas were predictable by time and location. Now, it seems, violent crime is everywhere at any time of day. If you read Storyteller and plan on coming to NOLA, don’t just read the local websites or the tourist sites. Reach out. To me. I work on the streets more than most those sources do. Sometimes, it’s matter of a block or so in the wrong direction…
I don’t know what happened to the original post. Once again, WordPress and its quirks got me. I’ve about had enough with this crappy software and its needed work arounds. I won’t let me see to edit if I need to replace even a single word. So, if you see any of this it’s just dumb luck.
I do not remember what I wrote. It was something about the Krewe of Barkus and the dogs on parade. So, I cannot duplicate it. As far as I’m concerned, the theme of this parade “From the Dog House to The White House,” was not smart. Even though the parade poster did not use red, white and blue, just about everybody who dressed their dogs in that theme did. It says a lot about the creativity, or lack of, in Southeast Louisiana. There. I said it. Our dogs were dressed in either multi-colors or green, purple and gold. Mardi Gras colors. Actually, they weren’t dressed. They were spray painted with stage makeup that is suitable for their skin. Application is much easier than trying to dress them. And, it washes off with normal doggie shampoo.
And, that’s the story.
I’m going to start shopping for another way to host Storyteller. Hopefully, once I find it I can take you with me.
Here’s the backstory. As I wrote, we at the Krewe of Barkus were forced to deal with some pretty rainy weather. Early on we were able to duck under some overhangs in Armstrong Park. Yes. That’s Louis Armstrong. Satchmo. New Orleans’ own. “What a Wonderful World.” That guy. We were jammed in all over the place. Wet dogs. Wet people. Wet Mardi Gras stuff. As I walked around looking for pictures, I ran into my buddy. Well, that’s a stretch. We know each other to say hello to. We see each other at a lot of second line parades. He’s working. I’m working. So, I asked if I could photograph him. He was happy to do it. When I showed him the pictures on the camera’s LCD, he loved them. He asked if could I make him few prints. I’m happy to do it.
He liked the vertical. At least, as he saw it on my little bitty LCD. It’s kind of formal even though it looks like we are in a jail or something. I like the top picture, the horizontal one. It shows him as I know him. When he’s walking in a second line and playing his tuba, he’s always smiling. He always looks happy. He likes his work.
What do you think?
Likely, I’ll give him both, but I’d love to hear what you like.
It rained. A lot. Over three inches. That doesn’t stop us in New Orleans. If it’s parade time, we walk. So do our dogs. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more. The people. Or, the dogs. Yeah. Sure. We all got wet. But, what’s a little water among friends? Besides, as National Geographic’s Sam Abell says, “When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.” He is right. At least he was today. I’d like to think that I have some talent. Some days I wonder. On some days I know that I’m just lucky. But, the pictures where everywhere today. Talent or not. Lucky or not. The pictures found me.
All of that said, the parade route changed a couple of times. I’m not sure why. The guy I was standing next to early on and I speculated that the organizers would probably use a very short route because of the weather. Oh no. They shifted the start, but that was it. That’s good. I walked pretty much the whole route which gave me a little time to work.
The Quarter was packed. Even with the stormy weather I thought everybody had a pretty good time. You could tell the locals from the folks who were in town for Mardi Gras. Locals wear t-shirts or regular shirts. Normal dry weather shoes. Almost no rain gear. We dodge under over hangs. Or, into doorways. At one point as the rain started to pour down, I ducked under an umbrella that wasn’t mine and asked, “How do you feel about having a new friend?” No problem. Just a big welcoming smile.
The pictures. Well, as I wrote, they found me. All I did was point my cameras and push the button. There is one thing that helped me. Most dogs like me. I’m not exactly sure why. Of course, I’m covered with dog scent so I suspect most dogs think I’m cool because I smell like a dog. That sure makes it easy when I want to take a picture of a dog who I don’t know.
Yes. Sunday and Mardi Gras. About dogs. And their people. From my point of view, the main parade yesterday was the Krewe of Barkus. Yes. Barkus. Bark. Bark. Bark. Except these dogs were all pretty good. They visited with each other before showtime. Then they walked throughout The French Quarter. It was their parade. The streets were packed. With humans and visiting dogs. Dogs everywhere. People too. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen The Quarter so packed with people. I suppose, we are starting to get the early spillover from next Sunday’s little football game. They call it the Superbowl. Combine those crowds with the normally heavy Mardi Gras crowds and you get one full French Quarter.
Anyway. Please have a look at the dogs and some of the people who make New Orleans unique.
That’s it for the first week of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We are taking a break. The city. Not just me. The NFL asked us to do that. So we started Mardi Gras a week early, worked in a week-long pause, and will resume again on the Monday after the game. For my part, it’s really messed with my timing and planning. No. I’m not working in the city next week. We are heading to Memphis… for the BBQ at The Rendezvous and a lot of Blues. Musicians are going to play there from all over the world. It’ll be a little crowded there too. But, nothing like New Orleans. And, Memphis is sacred ground to me because of all the great music made there. Once, I walked into Sun Studios and wanted to kiss the floor. Elvis, Dylan and U2 recorded there. Then there were guys like Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and, and, and… I know I’m really lucky. I live in New Orleans. A musical city. I’m traveling to a Memphis. Another musical city. These days so much of my life is about pictures and musical sounds. Thanks.
The pictures. Well. You know what I do. I bet you didn’t think I could do it with dogs. It’s easy. I just talk to them. They have no idea what I’m saying. Or, do they? Do they seem to like the tone of my voice.
This post should take about 100 years to produce. The categories and tags alone will take a long, long time to write.
Anyway. PAD. Picture a Day. A lot of photographers do this. Some don’t make it. It’s a really tough discipline to shoot SOMETHING everyday. Some guys claim that they only shoot when their muse calls to them. That’s easy. That’s fun. But, try shooting when you don’t want to. Try shooting when you almost forgot to do it. Try doing it when you aren’t feeling well, or as I did when I was recovering from surgery. As an aside, the early the images from that period were pretty bleak which as they should have been since they say that all art is autobiographical. At any rate, I’m a little OCD. I’ve been shooting this project for over three years. It seems that every time I reach an endpoint and tell myself that I’m done and not going to resume, I take a break and start again. Sometimes I start on one of my two birthdays. Sometimes I start on a new year… either calendar or lunar. But, I always go back to it.
Aside from the discipline of forcing myself to shoot, there are other benefits. It’s a daily look into my life as I saw it at the time. It gets me out the front door — well mostly; sometimes I see things around the house — and since a big part of making a picture is getting there, every little bit helps. It keeps the motor running — if you’ve ever picked up a camera after a shooting break
, you know that you are fumble fingers for a while and you might forget the mental checklist that you run through before you shoot. Most importantly, it teaches me a lot about myself.
All of that said, there are way too many pictures — 30 (I know, I know.. February only had 29 days, but I believe in lagniappe which is the giving of a little extra like a baker’s dozen) — to tell all of their backstories except to say that since I photographed Mardi Gras for almost three weeks, this month’s PAD is really heavy on carnival images. But, there are other images. There are images that you’ve seen in earlier posts. There are also surprises here and there. I hope that you enjoy them. As usual, I always enjoy making them.