Nothing but motion.

Lemme tell you a story about us old folk.

There is a movement afoot in the Millennial world to attack us old folk. They have a new hashtag and general comment. If they don’t like what you say, they say, “OK Boomer.”

Ageist much?

Last night I was scrolling around Twitter when when of the Parkland kids (the survivors of the mass high school shooting in Florida) popped up and said it to a bunch of people. I chimed in and asked about her ageism. This started a spirited discussion between me and about 9 others. Not fair odds… for them.

One of them is forty years old. A quick Google review showed me that she is a freelance writer who has been published in some impressive editorial places. You’d think she wouldn’t want offend anybody because she wants the work. She attacked me every way that she could. When I tried to explain something to her in a reasonable manner, she said I was crying. Arguing with a stranger on social media will never make me cry. She gave up when I laughed at her last three comments and asked her not to be angry.

Then comes a young photojournalist who found some of the work I show here and attacked that. More Googling. He actually covered some big news stories reasonably well. I said that. He kept attacking my current work. I finally said that when I was young I did what he did, but as I got older I actually want to earn a living with the ability to support my family. He didn’t get that. He also didn’t like that I started my own hashtag. OK Kid. I said, alright I won’t use that for you… son.

Old folks boogie and boogie we will.

I blocked them all. I removed all of my tweets. And, washed my hands of them.

I tell you this because I fear we have a battle brewing. Millennials are having a hard time making it. Between high college loan debt, the high costs of housing in the cities in which they wish to live, and the cost of transportation, they can’t get enough money to do what we did. And, based on other comments, they really think working isn’t the way to go. They want to experience stuff. So did I. I found a way to make clients pay for it.

So how is this the Boomers fault? I know their thinking. I’m not buying it.

Work together if you want something. Don’t attack me. Respect me. I just might have something to teach you.

Don’t claim that all the disrupters are great. Air BnB destroys local neighborhoods. Uber treats their drivers horribly. Lyft too. Spotify is fine if you pay for it. It’s a good way to test new songs. It’s a horrible way to listen and it takes money out of musicians pocket.

I have friends who have thought about this stuff far more than me. They say it is all here to stay. They are probably right. It’s easy. Easy doesn’t mean better.

That’s my story.

The picture. Yeah, I know. It’s well buried. Returning to Standard Time is good for me. Not so much for the dog who sees stuff. She ate two dinners last night because she was hungry at the wrong time. When we went out for our late afternoon walk she looked around and seemed a little confused by the coming darkness.

But, I had a blast.

I photographed everything and anything in the low autumn light. I made this picture. I was going to hold it for a few days, but after being attacked by a young photojournalist for posting work like this, I thought why the hell not? OK Kid.

Heh.

Oh, about those Parkland kids. I followed a lot of them on Twitter. They were going to change the world. I was rooting for them. It pains me to say that most of them have reverted back to who they were — who they should have been — teenagers.

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Mysterioso.

Into the mystic.

There is one place that the dog and I walk. It is by turns, moody, swampy, and beautiful. It was at sunset, beautiful. For sure, it’s not purely nature. There is a water feature built into it. That just adds to the feel. In high summer when the humidity is at its highest, the area is downright scary.

Not so much now.

Even though it is not so moody right now, you’d better watch where you walk. Along with the usual suspects of frogs and a billion lizards, there is the occasional snake and opossum. No worries though. If you don’t bother them, they’ll ignore you. Besides, the snakes aren’t anything nasty. A rattlesnake was roaming around another walking route. People feared that rattlers were making their way into the city. Turns out that the snake escaped from its owners fish bowl. If I were a snake I’d want to be free too.

That is one of those things that we call “very New Orleans.”

There are all sorts of events that we term that way. A guy had his car broken into. He had his car door open on the street side while he was waiting for the police. Another car came along and took off his door, making his already bad day, worse. The driver of that car got out of it and fell down. Dead drunk. That’s some New Orleans stuff right there.

A few months back, while checking all the water outflow tunnels, the water department found a crippled and battered car. You might remember me telling you that. It turned the car was lodged in the tunnel for fourteen years. It was a Hurricane Katrina car. Fourteen years of no reviews or repairs. Now, THAT’S some New Orleans stuff right there.

Finally, I want to photograph a big second line later today. After a month of no rain, the skies are dark, heavy with rain clouds. My weather apps agree. Rain today. More New Orleans stuff.

That’s the story from the swamp on this fine Sunday.

 

 


As the sun lowers near dusk.

Today.

Today is a sacred day. On a bright fall morning in 2001 our world changed. Terrorists crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers in the city of my birth, New York. They crashed a third plane into the Pentagon, the hub of our military in Washington D.C. They tried to steer a fourth plane back to the district, when very brave passengers, knowing they would lose their lives, forced that plane to crash into a field in Pennsylvania.

If you ask me about my personal opinion, I’ll say this. Of course, I’m sad. I was even scared at the time. But, I believe the bad guys achieved their purpose. They changed the world. As one false step lead to another, we ended up — for now — in hateful place.  A polarized place where seemingly everybody is against somebody who is even remotely different from them.

I’m happy to report that I’m not that way. I guess, for the most part, I’ve seen enough in my life to not really be afraid of much. Even death. I don’t want to die, but I’m not afraid of it. I don’t know when these changes came to me. They sort of just slid in there. In a way that also explains this picture.

For sure, we should stop, think and reflect on this day. We should make an extra effort to be kinder than we were yesterday. But, we also have to move on in our own ways. For me, that’s making pictures. It’s the only way that I can defeat the bad guys. A friend of mine who lives in Memphis say that as artists we need to “art harder.” I agree.

For those of you who do something different, keep doing it. Do more of it.

That’s how we win.

So.

This picture hasn’t got anything to do with my thoughts for today. Sometimes that happens. I’m just chasing the wonderful autumn light these days. Someday, the weather will actually change and the temperatures will match the light. #nolaheat is relentless.

Peace, prayers and love.


Potter’s field in New Orleans.

I’m going back.

Carole King wrote it. Just about everybody recorded it. “Going Back.” A song for the ages. A song for me.

I was alright. I’d gotten over the shock. Of the feeling of loss. I knew it wouldn’t last. I didn’t expect it to arrive yesterday.

Here’s what happened.

My old friend and I have mutual friends. One of them was a good friend to me. We haven’t seen each other since the storm. Hurricane Katrina. She moved to North Carolina after the storm and a failed marriage. We do keep in touch. It’s hard not to in these days of every kind of messaging available to us. She texted me. Was I going to the memorial? Yes. Could I pick her up at the airport? Yes. Could she stay with us if have we the room? Oh, we got room.

On August 29th, we observe the 14th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

It’s been fourteen years. Since we were driven from out home. Fourteen years since I saw my friend. Other friends. How did that happen? Where did the time go? Did I waste it? Did I just pass it?

Or, did I fill it with work? With fun? With light and love? God, I hope so.

All I know right this minute is something Neil Young wrote.

It’s better to burn out than it is to rust.


Dusk comes to what is now called The Shrine on Airline.

Ah, dusk.

The picture almost looks like it could have been made in France. It wasn’t. It was made at a park and baseball stadium now called, The Shrine on Airline.

To me and many others, we think that’s a stupid name. It is home for the next two weeks to a AAA baseball team, called The Baby Cakes. That has to be the stupidest name ever for a sports team. The name and the team branding was created by two 22 year old designers from San Diego. They spent a whole three days in New Orleans. They thought they knew us. Anywhere is more complex than that.

The name is sort of a shortened version of the baby that comes in a king cake. It doesn’t make sense in the way that they used it. There was a big commotion about it, but team management kept the name. The sold a lot of merchandise, which is what mattered to them. After all, who doesn’t love an evil little baby holding a baseball bat in traditional Mardi Gras colors?

In two weeks, the Baby Cakes last ever game will be played in Greater New Orleans. They are moving to Wichita, Kansas, where a $90 million dollar stadium is being built for them. The team owns the name so that may travel with them. Thankfully.

At this point there is no replacement for them. There are a lot of AA teams located in the Gulf Coast. Hopefully, one will come here. I hope so. The baseball quality will be better since that’s where the stars of tomorrow play, as opposed to AAA where the stars of yesterday are rehabbing or hoping to catch another shot at the “big show.”

See what comes out of a simple little picture. Hopefully, you just learned something. Or, not.

One more thing.

I’m a New York Yankee fan. I was born to be one. Their AA team is based in New Jersey. Maybe the parish can lure them down here,

They are called The Pork Rolls.


Little or nothing.

“Baby, baby, take the long way home.”

Written about someone who wants to stay on the road and not go home. That’s us right about now.

The situation.

First, the good news.  It is very likely that the levees will not overtop. We are expecting 10 to 15 inches of rain in the next two days. If it’s steady it won’t overwhelm the pumps. It will add more water to the already high Mississippi River.

There is even better news. The Rolling Stones will not be denied. They are already in town. And, their stage crew is building their stage, lighting and video screens as we speak. They are playing on Sunday. Come hell (not likely) or high water (likely).

The predictable news. The storm’s outer bands are reaching us. There are winds of about 20 mph with light rainfall. It is not steady, it is more like spitting. It’s on and off as the cyclone spins.

There is no bad news. We are as prepared as I’ve ever seen. That’s the city. The parishes. And, us. The only possible bad news are power failures, which are unpredictable. Yesterday, I saw Entergy crews checking the likely weak links. But, storms are storms and you can’t know what will fail.

Have a good thought for us.

The picture. Red skies at morning, sailors take warning. Red skies at night, sailors delight. We’ll see about that. It looks like I’m a million miles away. Nah, Earhart Expressway. The back way to the airport.

Just remember, you thought you knew what the Tibetan word Nameste means. Around here, that’s Cajun for the answer to this question.

“Are you evacuating?”

“Nameste.” (Nah Imma Stay)


So close, yet far away.

It’s a funny thing.

We all think of New Orleans as being a giant city. It’s not. It’s a city of about 375,000 people. We are losing about 1,000 people a year due to all sorts of reasons. Broken infrastructure. Institutional racism. Crime. Horrible schools. High Taxes. Very high rental prices. The list goes on.

That’s not what this post is about.

Instead, it’s about the region in which we live. Fifteen minutes outside of the city lies Southeast Louisiana. If it matters, leaving the city means traveling from a blue city to a red state. It doesn’t matter to me. Even though we might not agree politically, I find the people to be sweet, kind and caring.

So, we don’t talk politics. Or, religion.

Aren’t those topics what you are supposed to avoid during holiday dinners? With people who really look like you because they are you. Sort of.

I like crossing the big muddy and tooling along the roads on the Westbank. You never know what you’ll find. I find pictures like this one. I find good almost home cooked meals in gas stations. I find people who ask why you are taking a picture. When you tell them, they ask to be in a couple frames. They either tell, or guide you, towards locations that they think might make a good picture.

They are country folk.

To them, New Orleans is the “big city.” A place in which they aren’t comfortable and don’t feel safe. And, yet, the are only 10 or 15 miles away.

The picture. Wandering along River Road around sunset. I’m pretty sure that you can figure out the rest.

 


Everything in one picture.

Hong Kong.

Not this picture. This is near home in New Orleans.

I was watching the last season of Anthony Bourdain. The show made me nostalgic. It made me a little sad. Not for Tony. We know his end.

It made me miss some of the things that I had. That I did. I thought about living there. I liked it. A lot. Maybe more than I like living in New Orleans.

I think, even after my paid expat time was up, I should have stayed. Yes. It’s expensive. Yes. It’s crowded. For certain I was in the minority. But, there’s a lot to be said for that. It changes your thinking. Your viewpoint changes. You learn a lot. About people who are different from you. About yourself.

If my word for the year is learning, the Lunar New Year brings us to the Year of the Pig. I’m not exactly sure who those two intersect, but it’s worth a thought. Or, two.

Bourdain met up with a cinematographer who worked a lot with Wong Kar-wei. He made those dreamy introspective scenes. He led Bourdain on a merry chase throughout the city. To places I loved and frequented. Some of it changed. Hong Kong never stands still. Others have not. They didn’t hit all of my spots. But, they hit enough.

I haven’t been to Hong Kong in 11 years. I’ve grown older. Slower. A little broken. I’m not even sure if I could walk many of the city’s streets. I could try. I could take breaks. I would probably see more.  You know. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

I should go. This year. Before it slips my mind.

When is a very obvious question. Between my two lives, I’m booked until at least September. That could work. The weather there is about like it is here. The temperatures would start dropping. It would be cool, but not cold. We’ll see.

See what’s happening here? It’s like a journey through the past. Only it’s headed toward the future. There are a lot of places I’d like to visit. Before I can’t.

Oh yeah. The picture. The dog who sees stuff was groomed. She got a haircut. The groomer shaved her down to her body. She needed it. Between rain, and falling leaves and the wetness on the ground, she was matted. Sure, I brushed her. I combed her. But, when her fur is long, she picks up everything. Funny thing about her fur is that it weighs a lot. She started out her day weighing 24.5 pounds. Just under the maximum cocker weight of 25 pounds. Off came her fur. We weighed her again. Twenty three pounds. That’s a helluva diet. She lost 1.5 pounds in three hours.

This is the long way of saying that she was in a great mood. She was ripping around on our walk until she lead me to this. She stopped. I photographed. I made two good pictures. Off we went. There’s really not much to this picture. Winter silhouetted trees and a sunset. What could be easier?

They say that anything worth doing is worth working hard to achieve. Sometimes. Other times, the best thing is the easiest thing. It just sort of flows. As I wrote yesterday, I am just the conduit.

Be the conduit.