Krewe of Barkus in the Quarter.

Dogs.

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.

That’s my thought for today.

 

 


Rain, rain, rain.

Rain.

We, in New Orleans, get a lot of it.

It doesn’t stop us. Usually.

It certainly didn’t stop these two women. They were soaked through and through. What did it matter if they got even wetter? Besides, when was the last time that anybody saw Bourbon Street without crowds at night?

And, she’s wearing flip flops. Normally, that’s just an act of craziness. If twenty people don’t step on your toes, consider yourself very lucky. Besides, you don’t want to know what covers that street on a normal night. By the end of the night, Bourbon Street truly stinks. I’ll leave it at that. Y’all have good imaginations.

The picture. It’s one in a series of “lost” pictures. That rainy night in the French Quarter sure added a lot of magical qualities to the image. Water. Reflections. Wet people. All I had to do was be willing to get wet. And photograph what I saw.

Simple.

 


Alvin Coco agin… at the second line for Leah Chase in Treme, in New Orleans.

A little clean up time.

Sometimes pictures don’t make the final cut. They are close enough. I thought I’d show you a few from two second lines that missed the first cut… a little bit. Single Ladies. And the jazz funeral for Chef Leah Chase. I thought I’d stack them up all in one big pile. Didn’t Doctor John say something like, in New Orleans nothin’ is separate from nothin’?

He’s pretty much right.

Next?

Maybe a Sunday second line. The Perfect Gentleman roll for Fathers Day. At 3pm. The very hottest part of the day. This was the parade that just about killed me a couple of years ago. The temperature was 114 degrees on the street. The parade was supposed to roll at 1pm. It was postponed for some reason. First, to 2pm. Then, 3pm.

I took refuge on a very deep stoop, with about a dozen other people. I tried to stay hydrated. When the parade was organizing itself, I was standing on that very hot street. I realized that my vision was getting blurry. I felt like things were moving around in waves.

Some kind of heat thing.

I bought more water, sat down in a little bit of shade. I rested for a while and gave up. I walked back to my car, turned the air conditioning on and drank more water. I went home.

That closed my second line season.

That won’t happen this year. It’s nowhere near as hot. In fact, for us, it’s downright pleasant. It’ll get a little hotter by Sunday. I won’t be bad. I, like all, the rest of us, know what to do.

Housekeeping.

I really do like this new format. Funny thing about it. I was struggling to add the details. Like buttons. Social media buttons. Translator. And, like that. I found out why I was having a hard time. It was already done. Apparently, the minute that I activated this template, everything started to migrate. It just took a little time.

If there is something that bothers you. Something that I could do better. Let me know. This is still a work in progress.

Oh. The title?

Something Bob Dylan said about his infamous “Rolling Thunder” tour. He said there weren’t enough masks. That caught my attention since New Orleans is all about masking. He added, that when a man wears a mask, he’ll tell truth. Without a mask, he likely won’t.

Now, that’s something.

 

Leah Chase was Catholic. That didn’t stop representatives of almost every religion coming out.

 

 

 


The quiet side.

The quiet side.

Most people think of the French Quarter as being loud. They think of people always partying. They think of the typical New Orleans craziness.

Let me tell you, we ain’t all that crazy.

We don’t spend much time in the Quarter. When we do, we rarely walk around on Bourbon Street. It’s usually too crowded. With partiers. And, bad guys. And, it stinks. Literally.

We do like walking in other parts of the Quarter. Like this place that I photographed. It’s way down river on Royal Street. People actually live here. People make their homes here. There are no bars. No clubs. Tourists rarely come down the street this far. It may actually be safer than the more heavily populated areas of the Quarter. There’s nobody to mug. Nobody to rob. Well, there are. But, they are very street smart.

If I ever lived in the Quarter, this is about where I’d do it. But, that’s not going to happen. But, it sure is nice to walk around this part of the Quarter. It’s also much harder to photograph. No matter. Making a successful picture when there isn’t a lot of action going on defines a “street” photographer. Or, it should.

One more thing.

I made this picture without a tripod. I rarely carry one when I work on the street. It’s too cumbersome. It takes too much time to set up. It attracts too much attention. That’s the last thing I want. You just have to learn your craft. The trick is to expose for some mid-tone. I used the street signs. It gave me enough detail in both the highlights and the shadows. I also knew that I was going to correct the exposure issues in post production. They say GIGO. But, not if you plan for it. I thought about what I was doing before I did it.

Housekeeping. I’m going to refocus Storyteller back to where it sort of began. About the photographs. A little bit about New Orleans stories.

Because.

I think some of the NOLA stories I tell you are confusing, especially to people who come here as tourists and mostly stay in The French Quarter. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, they usually stay in hotels and eat in restaurants. The chores of daily living are done for them. For the most part, they are protected from our random and violent crime. When it rains, they don’t have to deal with flooded streets.

They don’t know what it is to live in a city that is very hard on the people who live here. I suppose that can be true of any place. But, most places aren’t described in the loving terms that people use to describe New Orleans. Or, really the Quarter.

Anyway. Back to the basics.


On the way.

Yes. A New Orleans thing.

Where else do you see a musician walking on city streets carrying his instrument? A drum and a cymbal. This is about as New Orleans as it comes. It happens all over the city. This picture could only get better if he was carrying a horn. A trumpet or a trombone.

This picture was made on both of our ways to someplace else during the Super Sunday events.

There is one more New Orleans thing to this picture. I would never make fun of anybody. But, it speaks to the city as being one of the most unhealthy cities in the country. We drink too much. (I don’t drink.) We eat too much. We eat too much of the wrong things.

For instance, for Catholics, it is the Lenten Season. A lot of fish is eaten everywhere in the city. It’s not broiled, or poached or boiled. (For crawfish.)

Oh no.

It is deep-fried. Along with everything else on the plate. A typical meal might include deep-fried shrimp, deep-fried catfish, french fries and hush puppies. You could eat that every day of Lent. Forty days, forty pounds.

I’m not a deep-fried eater. Nobody in this house is. The most we usually eat is fried chicken. We may eat that every six months or so. Sure it is good, but we’d like to live a little healthier lives.

The picture. When I say on our ways to some place else, I mean on Super Sunday. Often locals take side streets when we can, rather than fight the crowds. I saw him coming. I stopped and started following him with my camera. You can see the progression in my RAW files. As he got closer I smiled and said, “Carrying musical instruments in the street is sort of a New Orleans thing.” He laughed. We talked for a minute and that was that. F 5.6 and be there.


A late dinner.

Dining. In The French Quarter.

We don’t usually eat in the Quarter. Often many of the restaurants are geared to the tourist trade. But, some aren’t.

The cool thing about eating in a touristy place is that often a waiter will engage you. He or she will ask you where you are from. If you answer from here. They’ll ask you a couple of follow-up questions. Like where did you go to high school. Or, they’ll ask other more local flavored questions, just as part of a conversation. You might not know what they are doing. If they are satisfied, you’ll get the locals price. Usually 25% off your bill. You might even have your food cooked with a little more care.

I know, I know.

It doesn’t seem fair.  But, that’s New Orleans. We look after each other. The waiters know the food prices are a little higher in the Quarter, so they take care of folks who live here. In appreciation many locals add a tip that is based on the full price. I do. As I said, we take care of each other.

The picture. It is influenced by “Nighthawks at the Diner.” I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it. As I recall, I might have been looking for something like the picture. I found it. I made the picture quickly because the subjects won’t wait. One of the magical things about digital photography is that the sensor loves darks and shadows. I probably couldn’t have made the picture on film without a lot of work in the field.


And, so it begins.

A new season.

Sometimes it isn’t about the seasons in nature. In New Orleans we have other seasons. Mardi Gras. Festival season. And, of course, second line season.

It starts this Sunday with The Valley of Silent Men. We take a two-week break and then it’s on for 47 weeks. The only breaks come with Christmas, Jazzfest and Mardi Gras. There may be some off weeks because the city has raised the parade permits by almost double. Some social and benevolent societies can’t afford that.

Anyway.

This wasn’t the planned picture for today. The image I had in mind and processed turned out to be too small. That’s right, the image was too small. I could have posted something really new. But, I thought I was getting a little too esoteric and didn’t want to go back to something like yesterday’s post.

So.

I thought about my near and far future. Forty seven Sundays. I intend to photograph them all. That is, if my back and hip will let me. We’ll see.

I went with a picture from last second line season as sort of a walk up to this years season.

Aside from that, today seems to be the rebooting day for a lot of my software. First, Apple rebooted my calendar and image storage. You know, enter a password and go. I only use that for iPhone pictures, so it’s no big deal. I do use their calendar.

Along comes Google. They provide my email, another calendar and storage. I entered the password and they wanted my phone number, which they don’t have. When I entered that, they wanted to send a text with a code that I would have to enter to prove it was me.

Hey Google. I’m working. My life isn’t about programming and knowing everything there is to know about everybody in the world.

I hit the cancel button. I hit the skip button. If they need my telephone number they can search for it. They’re Google.

This happens repeatedly with tech companies. I just hate calling somebody with a question or problem. Whoever I reach thinks that I’m only about technology. If that’s not bad enough, they think I have nothing but time for them to experiment. You would think on 20-year-old software, they’d know the answers. Finally, try talking to two techs at the same company about the same ongoing problem and you’ll never get the same answer.

I think this is intentional. I think all of these companies — Apple especially — want very little to do with their customers. They force you into FAQs, or user forums, or just plain old Googling.

See? I’m back to Google.

And, so it goes.


Summer rain storm.

New Orleans. The rainy season comes in the summer. Sometimes, we get a little rain every day. Rain might not fall for long. But, it will fall. And, usually, it starts out falling pretty hard.

That’s okay.

I think what most people dislike is not the rainfall, but the inevitable soupy humidity that follows. As we know, what falls down must rise back up. As steam.

Of course, this creates a natural greenhouse, or hothouse, effect. Everything grows. I do mean everything.

I made this picture during a rain storm. I’m not exactly sure what the umbrella did for the man crossing the street. The rain was falling sideways. Yes. This is sort of a drive by shooting. With a camera. The street in front of me is Canal Street. I was coming out of the French Quarter. In front of me is the CBD. I’m sorry to say that the picture is three years old.


Down on the corner.

Yesterday was rough.

Today is better. Much better.

I thought that I would post a picture from a couple of Mardi Gras ago when I was walking to photograph Krewe du Vieux from the French Quarter side, rather than down in The Bywater where it begins.

I’m pretty sure that this was the best picture of the night even though it had nothing to do with the actual event.  It’s a very typical French Quarter scene made in front of a food store. I happened to stop on the corner to let a car pass by and saw this. I waited until the guy in the hoodie was in the light and made a picture.

That’s all it was. Luck. Photographer’s luck.