Christmas balls reflecting in the low dusk light.

W

e’ve been very busy. So, I keep forgetting. With two days, there is no more forgetting. There is only Christmas. So, I’ll start with an elderly picture that I made on the avenue. I’ll build from there.

There is good news.

Music is magic. The short people are here on their way to Disney Park with everyone else. We work. Sorta. On Christmas day and then we play. Mostly.

How magical is music? We subscribed to the Disney Channel via Hulu mostly to see The Beatles “Get Back.” The short ones are excited because they can see all sorts of stuff.

But.

They are watching The Beatles with mama and papa. They are singing note for note with The Beatles to songs that they’ve never heard.

Magic.


Moody, mysterious and modern.

S

leep. The missing link. I tell you. I’m on a rock ‘n roll schedule. Go to bed too late. Get up too late. Making up for it by taking a nap after breakfast. Then, I’m late to Storyteller.

This has gotta stop.

Don’t tell me to go to bed earlier. I just toss and turn. I don’t want to wake up the house. So, I work or do something less productive. I read. I watch a movie with headphones. Reading is tough. As night turns into dawn the words make little sense. Or, they don’t stick at all.

On the other hand, so many of these pictures get made in the night. Maybe not the original click of the button, but the experiments and post production work occurs then. In the almost dark.

So, that may be a fair trade. Sleep for art.

I dunno know. What do y’all think?

Oh. One more thing. You’ve seen a version of this picture. I was just playing when I made a version that I like better than the original.


Once again.

A

nother day. Another block. Another time. Another house.

This is a place that I know for certain was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. I’ve watched it over the years. It follows the laws of nature with the overgrowth. In the winter, such as it is in the Gulf Coast, you can see more of the house as the vines and plants die and turn into branches.

In mid-to-late summer the house looks as you see it. Overgrown and almost beautiful in its ruined state.

Even though I’ve photographed and watched this house over the years, I have no idea what happened to the residents. If a house is still standing over the years, it usually means that the person who lived there moved on, either in this world or in the next.

If the move was made in this world, it means the owner doesn’t have the money to restore it.

The owner’s family usually comes into play if the owner passed on. If that’s the case a potential buyer has to jump through the usual New Orleans hoops in order to find the past owner and line of succession. Even then, the past owner might not really be the owner, but the child of the past resident who may be the child of an even older relative. And, so on.

This house was probably built in the late 1800s to the very early 1900s. If the house was passed on without a deed transfer buying this house could prove to be lost impossible.

That’s why there are so many derelict houses in New Orleans.


With his friend, a jealous monk.

T

here’s a story behind every door, but I don’t know what they are. A good guess is that this place received some of Hurricane Katrina’s flood waters, but not that much because a lot of Central City is above sea level which makes it that last great ungentrified piece of land in the city.

There was talk a few years ago of Central City being developed fairly quickly because parts of it are near to the train station and The Super Dome. Prime land you know. Unless you count a couple of restaurants and a failed grocery story-cafe complex not much has happened.

That’s how it should be.

Between storms and gentrification in every other neighborhood of the city this is the only place where original dwellers can continue to live. In a time when social aid & pleasure clubs have to drive from places way upriver in order to participate in their former neighborhood’s second lines that’s saying something.

How long this will last is anybody’s guess.

If I had any brains at all, I’d buy this house, restore it and lease back to someone who lives in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, tracking down the owner, or owner’s survivors or worse — looking through tax rolls, or deeds — is a big undertaking. I did that once. Of course, in that neighborhood the original deeds were written in French. I don’t think Central City, let alone this building, is that old.

Of course, I think of all this just as we are getting ready to pull out and leave the city. Unlike the post-Katrina years, we aren’t thinking of coming back. Hurricanes, potholes, shooting and car hijackings be damned. It’s time.


What was left.

T

his was once good business. Along came Hurricane Katrina who changed everything with her floodwaters the poured through broken federal levees. A lot of businesses were destroyed or closed.

Smith Tire seemed to linger. Whenever I passed by, it seemed to be closed. Or, was it ever open? I have no idea. I’ve heard, but I haven’t seen it with my own two eyes, that it’s gone.

That’s too bad.

No. This little building wasn’t a landmark. But, it helped to make up the fabric of the community, at least in its neighborhood. If it’s gone, I know that it will likely just be a barren, empty space. In neighborhoods like this one, nobody demolishes a building to build something new and better. They just leave a gap, like the missing teeth of a jack ‘o lantern.

Sometimes that’s necessary especially if you have a building that is a drug den, or if too many people are sheltering in it because they might cause a fire and burn down half of a street’s worth for buildings. But, this building was on a main street. It was locked up tight. There was no sneaking in or out of it.

I have nothing to draw from this. I’m not making a statement about the society or the world in general. I just like old things.


What once was.

A

s you know by now I change my mind a lot. Whaddya want from me? Heh. I’m an artist. Or, so I think.

I will still do my experimental layering, but those images come together when they are ready. I tried to do a couple yesterday. They were forced and it showed.

I also want to do the black and white thing. But, that’s a lot of research and a very long term project. I just hope I complete it before I’m completed. Yes. It’s that long.

There’s another project that’s been rattling around in my brain. I’m sort of publishing bits and pieces of it on Instagram. I think that I’ll start publishing some of them here.

You deserve to see them if you aren’t following me on Instagram. Or, maybe it won’t be Instagram since Facebook is changing their name, maybe IG will too.

Anyway.

This should be a lot of fun. I don’t have to force myself to make pictures of the same scene repeatedly. That’s never any fun.

But.

Doing that did teach me a lot about discipline and photographing what you see in different ways in order to make the pictures interesting.

So, limiting myself wasn’t all bad.

T

here is a lot of little technical trickery involved in making this image.

I’ll tell you the steps of converting this picture to whatever it is now.

This is really a horizontal picture. I cropped it early in the process. It’s a radical crop.

The picture had already been processed and edited, so I had to push the image further.

I stripped a lot of mid-tones out of it. I stripped a lot for color out of it. I added a lot of contrast.

Then, I finally manipulated what little color was left.

If anything, there is almost nothing left of the original picture. It’s all been replaced.

That’s all there was to it.

Heh.


Lots of tubas.

It started during the pandemic and was enhanced by Delta-x and Hurricane Ida.

Memories. They’ve been floating around for days. It was bad enough when time was flexible. Now? Whew.

And. Then.

The anniversary of Warren Zevon’s passing arrived. You know. The guy who sang “Werewolves of London.”

He was so much more than that.

But, for me, his very last song is THE song. It’s called, “Think of me for a little while.”

The song without the video is hard enough to listen to without balling. With the video? There wasn’t a dry eye in this broken down house.

And, speaking of broken down, I am grateful for what little damage this house had. When I think of the upriver communities of Houma and Laplace who were destroyed beyond recognition, I am humbled by our luck.

We are on our way out of here, either for a few months or forever. I’ve been though two 100 storms in 16 years. That’s enough.

Where? A couple of places. I’ll let you know. Until then, enjoy every sandwich.

I thought that as I moved on that I would show you some of the images that approximate my memories.

Unfortunately, pictures can’t come close to what’s in my head. I think that’s the way it alway is. That’s as it should be.

In case you are wondering, I made these pictures all over the place. It’s all part of my life.

I have no idea what’s next and that feels freeing.


The dark end of the street.

T

he age of experimentation continues. I found out yesterday that I had no idea how to change the color of the tag cloud or the calendar. I’m sure instructions are buried deep in the 900 pages of “how to” notes. Until I find it, you won’t be seeing those blocks again.

Today, I’m experimenting with making the blog page look more like a website page. The biggest issue is with the drop caps. If you notice there is a space between the first letter and the rest of the sentence. I don’t believe that I can correct it because that would eliminate the drop cap.

It’s something that I can live with.

The picture. Ah, the picture.

The photograph is of The French Quarter during the blue hour. It’s a residential street, rather than someplace like noisy Bourbon Street.

This angular shaped buildings are called dependencies. They served as a place where the servants lived and worked. I’d add slaves to that, but the Quarter in pure-Civil War days was mostly populated by Free People of Color. And, various other people. Like Italians and other Europeans, the French for example.

L

et’s start with why I am discussing page experiments.

We all complain about the block system. Unless we want to revert to the so-called classic system, which is one of the earliest versions, we have to keep moving to the future.

I reckon that I can be your canary in the coal mine.

One thing to note right off, is not to trust WordPress AI when it comes to spelling. You should see the things it comes up with.

For instance, coal mine is calming according to them.

For a while it fooled me. I’m a notoriously bad typist, but these errors weren’t even near my key stroke pattern.

Now I know and you do too.

Like a Speeding Bullet


O kay. I’m going to get back on posting track. So, this one is for 1pm Central Time. We’ll just see about that. That sounds a lot like the always infamous, “Just wait until your father gets home.” You know how that used to work, right? Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with DSLR […]

Winter Glow


T his isn’t exactly what I meant. I’ve been trying to push back the distribution of Storyteller to about 5pm Central Time. I intended to do it by posting about an hour later every week until I reached 5pm. Oh no. I jumped to 3pm in about two days. Oh Well. A couple of folks […]

Deep and Dark


S ometimes you can’t sleep. But that was okay because I slept too much the night before. While I was laying there my past came into view. Both good and bad memories. I intentionally forced the bad ones away. Who wants to try to fall asleep with bad things in mind? There were a lot of […]


One night, long ago.

M

y thoughts brought me to a couple of places. As events start to close down I’ve been thinking about anniversaries.

This picture of a flambeaux during Mardi Gras is a great example of that.

It’s just a picture, right?

Maybe.

To me it means a lot. I was suffering during Mardi Gras 2020. I was at the peak of my back pain which was transmitting even more pain to my right knee. I walked up Jefferson Street to my usual pre-parade stop, CC’s.

The flambeaux were lining up. I stuck my camera through the line and made this picture.

I gave up. Thee pain was too much. I limped back to my car with a couple of stops along the way.

This picture is important. It was my last serious photograph before the pandemic forced the lockdown.

For sure, I’ve been making little pictures on dog walks and my own walks. But, I haven’t made a serious picture since February, 2020.

My doctor thought I was depressed. Well, gee…

I

have a theory. When something goes south, just about everything else goes to hell.

I knew it a long time ago. I know it now.

This week is four days old.

We lost Jazzfest. We lost the red dress run. We lost Action Jackson. We lost Rosy Guste.

All of that happened during our fourth CoVid-19 surge. The national infections are now just about 130,000 infections a day. Our hospitals are jammed. The two big hospitals in Baton Rouge are filled. They literally cannot take more patients.

Louisiana and the rest of the country are headed south. All manner of smaller bad things are starting to happen. What’s next?

Y

ou just never know. That’s what Action Jackson said to me when we first met.

He was right. Maybe more than he knew.

When you photograph second lines every Sunday to get to know many people.

Photographers cluster together and chat. We get to know each other. We are happy to see each other.

One photographer was Roy Guste. I knew him as a photographer. Once, when his car was broken down I gave him a ride.

There was more to him.

He studied cooking at Cordon Bleu. He was the proprietor of one of our famous old restaurants as his dad was before him. He wrote ten books about our food, traditions and cooking.

He was very well known to the food culture of New Orleans.

I never knew. I wonder how many of the photographers on the line knew.

Roy Guste died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

RIP.