New Orleans has an outsized space in my world. In my entire life I've spent just about seventy hours there, between Friday night and Monday evening over Easter in 2015. We left straight from work at the end of the week, and reported back at Open-Of-Business on Tuesday, joined by Julee's sister and brother-in-law, who had similar work restraints. We stayed in Marigny, close on to, but very much not, the French Quarter, and walked, ate, dined, drank, and celebrated our secular lives over that weekend redolent of both Pagan and Christian traditions. It felt wonderfully right, and New Orleans, familiar through American history, music, and art, felt wonderfully right to us too.
Marigny is a neighborhood of old shotguns, or shotgun houses, a style of homebuilding unique to the South and Mississippi River valley of the U.S. I first heard about them in the Talking Heads' concert movie performance of Once in a Lifetime, but before my trip to New Orleans I'd never actually seen one. We stayed in a fancier AirBnB shotgun house with a side hallway, surrounded by others in all configurations, styles, ages, and condition.
Marigny Corner, New Orleans The incongruity of these 19th and early 20th Century houses and the modern cars and overhead utilities meant that I got very few pictures that I felt captured the feel of the neighborhood, the marvelously unique architecture, and worked as good photographs.
Double Shotgun, New Orleans
Easter Eggs, New Orleans This house really is a Residence, an Official Residence. In this case the home of the French Consul General to Louisiana. It was Easter Sunday and he and his family were in the garden hunting easter eggs. I didn't notice until they walked around to the front of the house to go indoors and he waved at me. Consul General Gregor Trumel was very gracious in giving his permission to use this picture. This is the Garden District, a rather fancier neighborhood than Marigny.
House and Tree, New Orleans Also in the Garden District.
Garden District Street, New Orleans One of the things I loved about New Orleans was how lush it is. Plants just grow, in happy profusion. Here they're kept in check. In other areas they break out and take over, though they don't seem to push physical civilization out, exactly.
Garden Furniture, New Orleans These plants, for example, might be moving in the direction of taking over... It's ironic that over the course of seventy intense, hugely enjoyable, and thickly photographic (I carried three cameras with me everywhere!) hours, my favorite pictures are the ones I captured in the backyard of the Air BnB shotgun where we were staying. This picture, and the two following, were made in the course of fifteen afternoon minutes.
Backyard, Marigny, New Orleans This picture is a six frame horizontal panorama.
Inside the Block, Marigny, New Orleans This photo is a three frame vertical panorama.
Lafayette Cemetery #1, New Orleans Fitting to end here. I'd first read of the tomb cemeteries of New Orleans when I was a teenager. People didn't want to put their dead in the ground because the water table is only a bit below the surface and digging a grave is an exercise in watery frustration. This cemetery is a tourist destination, and a backdrop to many scenes in literature and film. It is incredibly photogenic, even for a cemetery! It's reminiscent of the Grand Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, no surprise, given the historical links between the cities. But, unlike Haiti, here the reign of Baron Saturday seems relatively quiet.
Tombs, Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans I like the backlit ferns. This is a six frame horizontal stiched panorama.
These are all infrared images, shot with my infrared camera. I took these pictures almost four years ago (I'm writing in January 2019) but at the time I didn't have the intellectual tools to work with infrared if the images weren't close to perfect out of the camera. The pictures I was happy with tended to be starkly backlit because that lighting gave them the dynamic range to make them look good. I've since learned to extend a photo's dynamic range in Photoshop to give it the snap and clarity it needs. I ran across these photos in my files a couple of weeks ago and can now make them good enough to show.