Friday, July 17, 2009

Time Machine: Tuesday, June 30th....The Last Sunrise

I was out with Lisa and Amanda bright and early to finish up Amanda's block by block documentation of the Mid City neighborhood that is in a tug-o-war between two competing medical interests that wish to level the area to build a new hospital.

After that, I brought them to one of the gems of the St. Roch neighborhood, a strange "venue" --a row of houses actually--called CC Projects. The houses have disintegrated more and more over the last year plus I've been going there. The students know I feel very strongly about not trespassing in people's houses, and don't think that was okay in the photographic wake of Katrina. CC Projects is this eerie constantly changing performative installation, speaking to the flood in different ways by different artists. Having been there three or four times since Winter of 2008, I see the remnants of earlier artists under the newer coats of paint, frenetic drawings, and deteriorating mud covered floors.

The white house piece was so moving to me--so pristine and bold in its commentary on the impossibility of returning home for so many. Perhaps is is more profound as these imploding installations to its left, live in equally stunning skeletons of the same shape--same era--same architecture. All uninviting and funerary to me. I feel bad for my trespasses, even here. I want to get into the white house, but even as our light leaves us on this last sunrise shoot, it's far to early to knock on the door across the street where the owner who holds the key resides.

The last two images are from around St. Roch. Another Banksy found on an out building that leads me to new questions about architecture--the neighborhood is loaded with these ornate Spanish influenced structures, behind main houses. I'm very curious--and surprised that the students continually lead me on paths where I find new faces of a city I feel I know so well.

I can't wait until next Wednesday night--I ran into a couple of our students from the trip this week--between new classes. They all looked clean and well rested--luxuries none of us enjoyed much of in the dripping weather a southern June can deliver--two days the hottest on record in New Orleans. But next Wednesday, we get to remember again, and see wider edits of everyone's work. My favorite time, when we start talking about making books, my old stomping ground.

Time Machine: Monday, June 29

Here are a few more images of students on the road to Delacroix. Lisa, I believe, may have quite the documentary film on the whole trip:

Here's Lisa documenting Nick....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Time Machine: Saturday, June 27

Amanda trying to inflate a dolphin by the time we return to the beach with food, in order to gain permanent shotgun status.

Bay St. Louis
On Saturday, after a sunrise shoot in Versailles with Lisa and Peter, we all piled into the cars for a much needed outing to the beach. Stephanie's uncle's family lives in Bay St. Louis, and it seemed like a good idea to see how Katrina affected this Mississippi community. What we saw was a main drag that had very few businesses recovered completely. The stopped in time quality of a sea shell shop, dark, and protected by 6' chain link fencing, was the most overt. It would have been easy, for anyone who did not know what had happened there four years ago, to think it was the economic downturn. The town, where we went, has cleared the rubble of Katrina, where New Orleans is a sad cemetery for thousands of homes. I found myself wondering about the state's efforts--what the heck is happening in Mississippi, that isn't in Louisiana? But then again, Haley Barbour, Governor of the State of Mississippi, managed to get a disproportionate amount of recovery funds for the state. Minus the rubble, this town's business district reminded me of Lakeview and Gentilly only one year after Katrina. Under the leadership of Nick, several of the students prepared a leftover fireman's boiled shrimp scramble.
Everyone was exausted and sunburned by the end of the day but wouldn't give back the experience...maybe the sunburns, but not the experience.

Time Machine

Finally a breather to post--so these will be chronologically challenged as a I process files...

Monday, June 29th:

After a wonderful morning going way out on the bayou to Delacroix (the so called "end of the road") with Kristyna, we made one last trip to Algier's Point for Nick to photograph a couple last firehouses, and for Lisa to finish up with a taquerilla--capped of course by the consumption of a final quesadilla on the ferry--which I found.

Minnesota college photography students all making pictures of the exact same thing (gator). Good spotting Nick!

I mean "the end of the road". Delacroix is small --there were some houses on very high stilts, the site of a new firehouse, and fishing boats. It's beautiful in its serenity though.

Somebody in Delacroix really likes oysters!

I'm hoping Nick got this guy's name. He and a couple of other men work shrimping and crabbing in Delacroix.