The Memory Of Trees


Golden light.

We walk around. We see things. We see transformation. We see change. We saw what nature tells us. That clocks can’t tell us. In the pandemic era time meanders. We act normal. As hard as we try we can’t be normal.

Not no. Maybe not ever. That is a good thing. To be normal in this day and age is truly silly. Some people keep trying. They crowd the streets of The French Quarter. Maybe two percent of them are wearing masks. There certainly is no social distancing.

The virus rages on. We are seeing record infection rates almost everyday. Hospitals are crammed. Some are full. Most medical personnel do have the proper gear. They are using masks meant to be worn once per patient for the whole day. We are dying at the rate of over 1,000 per day. In some places freezer trucks are being used to store the dead.

The dead passed alone. Their families can’t bury them. Before we head directly into the chaos of March and April we need national leadership.

We won’t get it.

The president is sniveling and whining about his electoral loss. He hasn’t done a single thing except Tweet and play golf since he lost. He spent a whole seven minutes laying a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Oh yeah. According to the president, those guys who gave their full measure to our country are losers and fools.

Some Republicans are saying it’s over. Some means a few. The American Stooge trio of McConnell, Graham and Cruz are spouting nonsense. Let’s call them what they are. Traitors. They are duty bound to honor the Constitution. They aren’t.

It’s time to move on.

Trees. And, the picture. I photograph the things that I see and like. I return to the scene of the crime because I know where pictures could be.

That isn’t to say that I am making a lot of pictures. Everything gets in the way. I spent almost an entire day chasing down parts of one single issue. It wasn’t me. I think the people who are actually working have turned Covid stupid.

Normally, good hard working and competent people can’t seem to agree with each other on simple procedure. They are getting too cute in their attempt to solve problems.

That word. Simple. That’s how I try to keep things. That’s I try to photograph. It really is the only way to work. Especially now, when I am sure that I too have a little Covid head.

How about you?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

I’m supposed to attribute some things. So. The title “The Memory of Trees” came from Enya. “American Stooge” and “Stay Mighty” came from Mary Chapin Carpenter.

See? Sometimes — not often — I do what I’m told.

The Parade


I’ve written a lot about second line parades. I’ve shared pictures that were mostly little snatches, snapshots and scenes of Uncle Lionel’s various second line parades. But, what does it look like when you stand back? Well. It looks like this… 

God Bless The Child


So. I was looking for a higher angle to photograph the beginning of Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The best I could do was stand on the stoop — or porch, to some of you — of an old abandoned house. Yes. There are plenty of them in New Orleans. Some 62,000 by last count. While I was there, this young guy asked if he could share. Of course he could. He also agreed to add something special to my crowd picture. Here he is now. 

Down By The Riverside


Finally. The weather was good. The skies were a little cloudy. The sun shone most of the time. It was really hot. The people were ready. It was time for Uncle Lionel to take his final ride. He left the funeral home to a slow jazz dirge of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”  The people walked with him. The bands cut loose and walked with him. It was not sad. It was about celebration. It was about life.

I was ready too. For me, it was about a lot of things. I guess it worked out. I made about 600 frames and kept 73 in my first edit. That’s a lot of selects for me. I haven’t worked the images through my second edit except to pick one picture for this blog. Too many pictures to post at one time and I’d like to think that I’m a little better editor than that. Finally, I found it. The picture that is in front of you. It seemed to sum up the whole day. No sadness. Celebration. Laughter. A huge smile.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll post a few more from this day.

Not As Planned


They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Or, something like that. Between the horror in Colorado earlier today and the weather, I think everybody’s plans changed for Uncle Lionel’s jazz funeral. Sheesh. I’m not even sure what to write because my feelings are so mixed. A jazz funeral is supposed to be a glorious celebration of a person’s life . But, the rains came. And, the streets of  Treme flooded with at least a foot of water. That turned out to be a little thing. We, in New Orleans, are used to stuff like that happening. We deal with it. But, I awoke to the terrible news coming from Aurora, Colorado. That dampened my day before I even got wet in the never-ending rain. I did the only thing that I could do. I made pictures. I did the best I could. Why? Those who know me best, know that I say, “the work is the prayer.” Have a look at the pictures.

And, One More…


This is it for Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The material is getting to be a week old.

Hopefully, I’ll make a few good pictures at his jazz funeral and last parade, tomorrow.  And, if all goes well,  I’ll be efficient in post production. If all that works, I’ll post something on the same day that I actually made the picture. But, it’ll be a long walk and I’m a little bit tired. A lot of little pieces and parts have to come together. We’ll see.

Learning


Here’s a lesson for anyone who wants to make a portrait of somebody whom you don’t know. But, first a little about how I like to work. I don’t hide. I don’t make sneaky photographs. If I can, I ask if I can make a picture rather than just take it. That doesn’t always happen in crowd situations like Mardi Gras, or Jazz Fest or even on a crowded street. But, even in crowds sometimes I get lucky enough to actually engage my subject even if it is just for a few seconds.

This picture is an example of that.

As the second line parade for Uncle Lionel began there was a scrum around his brother, Norman. Photographers were trying to get a clean angle on him. His family was trying to protect him. And, his neighbors and very local parade goers just tried to clear a path. I made a few pictures that were more-or-less scene setters, but I wanted to make a portrait in more of my style with a wide angle lens. So, I just sort of walked along with the parade until Mr. Norman and I were sort of side by side. Then I looked at him and smiled and asked , if I could take the picture. He glanced up and nodded. Asking works. Especially when nobody else did that.

This is the picture.

One More,


And, one more from Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The funeral and jazz funeral is being held on Friday. Yeah. There are a couple of rain drops on the lens.

From A Second Line Parade


There were all sorts of  local semi-famous faces in the second line parade for Uncle Lionel. For those of you who follow New Orleans music and  know the name Neville Brothers, but don’t live in the city, you may be surprised to find out that they have a musical sister. Charmaine. She’s a blues and jazz singer who sings all over the city. Here she is as she walks with the parade. There were lot’s of other “names” that I’, sure that I missed.