Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

1853 Days Later: New Orleans Now

When we started our classes with students, seven weeks before the trip, we posed that they could pick any story. This program isn't about the rehashing of water-lined houses, or the still-present giant red spray painted X's on their sides. It's about an examination of one of America's great cities, and celebrating the culture, diversity, and daily life within. Katrina, we always tell students, needn't be covered, because she is in everything--eventually. Sometimes she rears her head easily--as in the work of Shelly Benson and her careful and thoughtful examination of Tennessee Street in the Lower 9th Ward, and at other times in more subtle ways, as in Krystal Hoover's work on the kids of Katrina--it turns out, kids will be kids. Fewer are the playgrounds, but joyful are their occupants.

During an interview Devin Meierding conducted on Thursday at Musician's Village, his subject said, "I want this to be a positive thing--no negatives--nothing about why I'm moving." And I thought to myself, as I'd thought many times this past week, "Why?" In her case it was, as I did a little digging on the internet, because non-disclosure agreements are being required in order that remediation of Chinese drywall installed in Musician's Village can take place (I imagine that's why). There are two sides to every story, some of those other sides will emerge as films and photo essays are refined in the coming weeks. But many won't. Pretty pictures are more desirable to paint.

Home is home was the enduring message across all projects this time. The marvelous fishermen of the fishing villages of Yscloskey and Delacroix (introduced in part of Adam Theis' film) teach us that, through their generations-deep traditions of crabbing, fishing, etc.

But I feel compelled to share a little reading material. Because for all the good and wonderful things, there are some that while smiling and sharing the greatest positivity, our subjects choose to omit. It's understandable. They just want us and our folks to know Greater New Orleans is a great place to visit. And it is. So do. But read the following, and know there is still so much to do:

On the musicians' plight -

On the BP educational effort -

Friday, October 1, 2010

In Case You Are Around Today or Tomorrow....

The menu

Day 7: Friday Dinner on Tennessee Street

We had a group last meal on Tennessee Street today courtesy of the Dupars. Most had catfish, some had chicken, and one had a stuffed pepper...all provided with copious sides of green peas, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad. Yum!

Nobody wants to go home....

One will be in trouble when she gets there...

A View From Days Six and Seven

Dinner at Franky & Johnny's after the sunset shoot at The Chalmette Battleground (Day 5)

2010 New Orleans Nine list occupant, the home of Professor Longhair (Day 6)

Peach awaiting fried chicken at Willie Mae's (Day 6)

(Above) The Departed; St Bartholomew's Cemetery; Algier's Point. (Below) House of Mirrors; KK Projects; St. Roch (Day 7)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too busy!

As you might expect, things have been pretty hectic here in the New Orleans Travel and Study class. Today is our last full day of shooting so the soccer-moming is at its peak today. Please be sure to check the students blogs for individual updates on their projects.

In the meantime -- we need to send a very special thank you to Doug Parker and the photographers over at the Times Picayune newspaper for hosting us yesterday. It's always a special experience for us to hear about their work. Colleen, Adam and I rode along with Ted Jackson to Delacroix to continue to research the seafood industry. We met with Thomas Gonzales and his wife Joan.

Tommy is 72, going on 73 and has been crabbing since "he could walk."

A Few Photographs From Monday....

Miss Whitley and her first-ever po-boy.

Miss Peach photographing in St. Roch.

Miss Shelly with Miss Ashley on the mic, finish up an interview with Robert Green.

(Above) The cast-off steps from Robert Green's now removed FEMA trailer; (Below) St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery No. 1.

Day 4: Morning Trip to Yscloskey

Tuesday morning we travelled to the fishing village Yscloskey on the recommendation of Jennifer Zdon. It was so much more than this little video clip. But I'm starting here today...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 3: Settling Into Projects and Finding Our Pace

Monday night when we had the big pow-wow about the coming days and scheduling rides to locations and appointments, nobody raised their hands for the sunrise shoot, and everyone looked completely exhausted, so we decided to bag it and have a morning off. The pressure can build quite a bit for students on this trip. This has been a pretty high performing group, in terms of both advance research and making appointments in advance of this trip, for the most part. The first student's shoot was fifteen minutes after we arrived Friday night. By Sunday, between all-day shooting schedules, tagging along and assisting on each other's shoots, everyone was pooped.

Our first trip out today was to The Ark in Uptown, a day facility for challenged adults, where one of Devin's subjects was performing. After we dropped him (and his able assistant, Whitley), we headed for the LaFayette Cemetery No. 1, where both Peach and Ashley needed to shoot.

I picked up Devin and Whitley and we stopped for a poboy and a praline before catching up with the cemetery women, who'd now migrated down Prytania to find more of Peach's structures.

Then we were off to The Ogden Museum of Southern Art to meet Richard McCabe, Preparator, who toured us through the Katrina Anniversary Exhibition put on by the National Press Photographers Association, "Telling Their Stories," Dave Anderson's, "One Block," and shared a group of Walker Evans pictures from the collection of Jessica Lange. He even read Fromm the Evans biography. It was pretty cool. We also got to see a terrific collection of country music memorabilia and photographs from the collection and camera of Marty Stuart. The ephemera included hand written lyrics from some of the greats, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Emmy Lou name it. There were lots of suit, boots, and terrific folk art paintings. We finished our visit with a group picture on the rooftop patio.

After, Becky took some students to their shoots (more to come from Becky on the edible schoolyard later), and I took Shelly, Peach, and Ashley off to the Lower 9th. Ashley made a great sound assistant for Shelly as she toured the neighborhood with Robert Green, while Peach and I toddled off for a church she wanted to rephotograph at sunset. After, we all made for the St. Roch Cemetery for Ashley and met three delightful kids who entertained us while Ashley worked away...

Day Four (morning): This is Where We Want to Be

This morning's sunrise shoot was a road trip to Yscloskey, LA. Primarily this was for Adam to get some footage of fishermen to close the loop on the affect of the BP crisis on his restaurant. We met too many extraordinary people to list. Everyone was so friendly and kind, even the BP "hospitality team" that first greeted Becky and I beyond their checkpoint (that was blocking the way to Shell Beach, the Katrina Memorial, and a clear view of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet), and the second "hospitality team" that included a fellow who graciously shared BP's side of the story.

We met many fishermen who are now contracting to BP since the oil spill. They go out on boats to help BP find oil that comes to the surface.

When I speak with people who do not know New Orleans, they often make comments about how people shouldn't live somewhere where they'll be flooded out, or blown down. And usually, I say, "home is home." You can't leave it. And this beautiful place 45 minutes from the City of New Orleans, is just such a home to these people. Their enduring insistence on returning and rebuilding and doing what their families have done for as many as four generations (in the group I spoke with yesterday), make me understand even more what a magical place the Gulf Coast is.

This is Frank Campo. He owns Campo's Marine Fuel, and he'll never leave:

Thank you Frank, thank you everyone who opened up to us today, and once again showed our students that just saying hello can open doors one would never imagine. Best day ever.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 2 - Second Line

These are some pictures from the largest second line parade of the season. It made the paper today! Six brass bands and six divisions participated. It was an amazing experience, and I was so glad I wasn't a fimmaker at that moment when the first gentleman emerged from the door, because you cannot help but dance. I'm using Becky's laptop now, so my pictures are embedded with her watermark.

Before the second line we hit the Lafayette #2 Cemetery....

Sunday: Tennessee Street

While Shelly was filming a church service for her documentary on Robert Green and Tennessee Street, Krystal spent the morning at a nearby park for her project on the children of Katrina (with a little help from Niki).

Then, of course, as Colleen mentioned -- there was this:

Posted by Becky

Day Two: Or is it Twelve

Sunday was amazing. First I was up at 5:50am to pick up a group and hit Holy Cross. We climbed the earthen levee there and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the morning, awaiting the sun--which did not disappoint. When the morning broke, it broke in a burst of orange on all of the objects along the Mississippi. We walked down the levee to the Global Green Initiative homes, and I talked a bit about what they are about. Then we walked up past the two pilot houses, and headed to the van for our first official project stop of the day, and church on St. Maurice Street, for Peach's project on the most endangered structures in New Orleans. It turns out it's a sunset shot, so we'll pick it up this afternoon.

We then headed off to Treme and visited St. Vincent De Paul Cemetery. A bit peckish, we then headed back to the hotel. Becky was off to Tennessee Street well before we returned with another group of students. I apologize for the delay, but we re finding ourselves so busy gathering experiences, we're having trouble staying current here. By the end of yesterday, in addition to those in this post, activities had included, another cemetery, a search for (and find of) a second line parade, Popeye's, running in the rain, and a lesson in Cajun Contradance by a fellow in a white wicker hat with green accents. Many more good pictures were made.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Visiting Robert

After a quick minute at the hotel yesterday afternoon, we were off to Tennessee St. for Shelly's project. It was great. We were early, so we set Shelly up in the minivan with the door open...I drove very slowly and she captured footage from the length of Tennessee St. Then with the 7d 10-22mm lens. I think that worked better, having now reviewed footage. We still had a little time, so I drove them to shoot a Banksy piece a few blocks away (a shout out to our missing compadre; Katie), and Whitley was able to pick up lunch at a taco truck nearby (a shout out to Lisa Hylle--she's still there!).

Robert called and we went to his house where Shelly deftly interviewed him. He was going to the same music show Devin was later that night and called a friend for Devin to meet over a few streets: see Becky's notation on this. Said friend was able to tell us where to be today....dramatic pause....for the second line parade today.....

*I'm still experiencing technical issues, so pictures will populate these pages very soon!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sunrise to Sunset

As Becky already shared, we were up early with most of the students. This was the first time we've done an official sunrise trip on foot through the quarter. It was actually inspired by an unplanned journey Becky took on her own last year when somebody didn't show for his ride. She was already up, and found purchase in a Quarter somewhat vacant, but magical in it's quiet (distracted only occasionally by odd fellow who'd not quite found his sobriety or hotel from the night before). Well it didn't disappoint. We started at the foot of Iberville or by the river, then or to a jammy orange light on St. Louis Cathedral, a half-sleeping, kind of huggy brawl between drunks, smells I refuse to relive long enough to describe, Bourbon Street, and some good coffee and bignets. Good pictures were made.

Sunrise in the French Quarter

(Above: Sunrise on the Mississippi)

The sunrise shoot this morning was in the French Quarter -- once again, the students learned learned lessons in humidity and spent time waiting for lenses to defog. It was an early morning for the students considering that many of them were working late last night in the French Quarter. (No, really -- shoots included the House of Blues and a burlesque show.) After that, it was a busy, productive day. We took the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina Tour again. This time with bus driver Dian Silva who volunteered after the storm to stay and transport evacuees and brought an interesting perspective to the 3.5 hour tour.

After the tour some of the students headed to the Lower 9th Ward while I took Adam over to Frankie and Johnny's where he is working on documenting their family restaurant. (The food, by the way, was excellent. However -- no oysters! Frankie and Johnny's always buys local seafood and the market has been tumultuous since the oil spill.)

More shooting happening tonight and potentially a second line tomorrow! Can't wait!
Be sure to check out the students' blogs for updates and samples of their work.

(The view from the Claiborne bridge looking back at the Lower 9th Ward and the Industrial Canal from our Katrina Tour. The Make It Right Foundation has rebuilt many of the homes in this portion of the neighborhood.)

We're Here

My laptop died. So until over an iPad sometime today, I'm doing this from the iPhone ....

Location:St Peter St,New Orleans,United States

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are Your Bags Packed??!

Mine are not. After three semi-successful loads of my little backpack, I'm breaking out the big guns. Do you remember that movie with Gina Davis and William Hurt? The Accidental Tourist? Well I remember there being something in that movie about never bringing more than one book, because nobody ever has time to finish even one on any given trip. I wonder if the same holds true for cameras. I have the one that makes square pictures, the one that makes rectangular pictures (thanks Chris), and the one that makes pixels. Oh, and I have the little one that makes pixels! I don't remember if the film had anything in it about packing.

The students are getting very excited. People are very well prepared, having made/found contacts for their projects, and many already have firm appointments. The diversity of projects is terrific, and with the addition of the film students, I'm very excited to see what will turn up this trip! Some of the highlights of my day today were hearing from Whitley that she's made contact with Meena Magazine, and with professors at both Tulane and Loyola for her documentary film project on Muslim culture in Greater New Orleans; Krystal was in a while ago and let me know that not only had she finally heard from people she had been trying to reach for her project on the children of Katrina (I envision a great typographic book cover that looks something like KIDS + KATRINA +5), but she even made a conneciton for Devin, who has also been a busy bee making contacts and plans!

I want to give a shout-out to two wonderful women who have been helping all of our students with amazing contacts and helpful introductions, Jennifer Shaw and Jennifer Zdon. The Jennifers rock! Well, I have laundry to do; and just in case there's a hard freeze while I'm away...some pickling to do as well!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Speaker: Aaron Richey

Special thanks goes out today to director and producer Aaron Richey, who stopped by to share his expertise on documentary film making and photojournalism with the students.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

AiM New Orleans Partner makes New York Times Front Page!

Jennifer Zdon, a New Orleans photographer and friend, had a photograph on the front page of The New York Times yesterday! Way to go Jennifer! And thanks for all of the story leads you've been giving our students. You rock!

Tonight on 'Frontline' on PBS

Global Green NOLA

This is a great non-profit that has helped a number of students document rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. Check them out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

National Geographic "Witness: Katrina"

This is from class participant Krystal Hoover. Great find to be aired on Monday, August 30 at 4pm. National Geographic's "Witness: Katrina."

Anderson Cooper 360: Live in NOLA All Week

Anderson Cooper has been very dedicated to ensuring that NOLA stays in people's minds these five years. Here's a post from one of the team members down there for the 5-year anniversary of Katrina.

The Big Uneasy: A New Film By NOLA Resident Harry Shearer--One Night Only!!!

I (Colleen) will be going to this next Monday the 30th at the Apple Valley location--I hope the whole class (if you aren't in class!!!) will be able to go out and see it! Tickets are available online at (there is a web address for more about that at the end of the below clip. It's showing one night only!

PBS News Hour Has Coverage From New Orleans All This Week.

There is something in this piece from last night's News Hour for every single story we heard about in the class last week. Listen for names, neighborhoods. It's all there. They will be running more stories all week on local PBS stations at 6pm.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fresh Air with Terry Gross Examines NOLA Police Post-Katrina

Because the five-year anniversary of Katrina is quickly approaching, New Orleans stories will begin to percolate in the media. You will want to be attentive to National Public Radio, and to CNN's 360 with Anderson Cooper. Cooper has kept a steady eye on New Orleans over the last five year. He has diligently sought to make sure people don't forget about what happened five years ago, and what hasn't happened since.

This piece aired on NPR last night On Fresh Air with Terry Gross. It's unbelievable.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Reads, Listens, and Watches!

Suggested Digestion
You need to be inspired in order to get where you are going here are some great tools:


* Zeitoun – by Dave Eggers (textbook required) – Vintage
Since this is the required text, at the least, you should get on Amazon end order it, but start reading it, and you will be ahead of the game! It is a very fast read. So you are prepared, you will be asked to write a reflective essay on the book, so keep notes for your NOLA blog!

Suggested Reading:

Doing Documentary Work – Robert Coles - Oxford University Press

Witness in our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers – Ken Light – Smithsonian Books

The Journey is the Destination - The Journals of Dan Eldon - Dan Elson – Chronicle Books

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge - Josh Neufeld – Pantheon

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast - Douglas G. Brinkley – Harper Perrennial

Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City – Jed Horne – Random House

Why New Orleans Matters – Tom Piazza – Harper Perennial

The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities– Mike Tidwell – Free Press

A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams (Play, 1947)

*American Experience: New Orleans – PBS

*When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts – Spike Lee

*The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia
These are the required films. You may want to watch them in advance of the rush of the quarter. So you are prepared, you will be asked to write a reflective essay on each, so keep notes for your NOLA blog!

Suggested viewing:

Treme – 2010 – HBO Series

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – 2009

Angel Heart – 1987

All the King’s Men – 2006

The Big Easy – 1987


This American Life - NPR -
#296 "After the Flood"

This American Life - NPR -
#297 "This is no my Beautiful House"

This American Life - NPR -
#372 "The Inauguration Show"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

RESCHEDULED! Spend Fall Break in Beautiful New Orleans!

Registration is now open for the 2010 New Orleans Travel and Study Program at Ai Minnesota.

There are only 12 slots, so register early!** Registration packets with all information are available around the Photography Program rooms, with the AD and Advisor! Plan your Summer schedule around this fun opportunity to help see New Orleans in a new light!

SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE! A $500 scholarship will be awarded to one student. See AD for details!

FINANCIAL AID may be used for this course. See your Financial Aid Officer today!

A Guided tour of New Orleans; directed and independent field work Daily feedback one-on-one and in critiques; free time to visit museums and galleries, and explore the city; a behind the scenes tour of the photography collection at the Ogden Museum; a visit and critique by Curator of The Louisiana State Museum, Tony Lewis; critiques with other special visiting artists from Louisiana; a behind the scenes visit to the New Orleans Times Picayune, and meeting with some of the Pulitzer Prize winning photography staff at the paper.

Airfare, lodging (quads), breakfasts, some tours, and most in-city transit.

**Registration deadline is June 21st. If we do not have 9 registrants by June 21st, the trip will be canceled and all deposits refunded.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Orleans Travel & Study Program - June 21-29, 2010

Photo: ©2009 Micah Kvidt
Registration is now open for the 2010 New Orleans Travel and Study Program at Ai Minnesota.

There are only 12 slots, so register early!** Registration packets with all information are available around the Photography Program rooms, with the AD and Advisor! Plan your Spring schedule around this fun opportunity to help see New Orleans in a new light!


A Guided tour of New Orleans; directed and independent field work Daily feedback one-on-one and in critiques; free time to visit museums and galleries, and explore the city; a behind the scenes tour of the photography collection at the Ogden Museum; a visit and critique by Curator of The Louisiana State Museum, Tony Lewis; critiques with other special visiting artists from Louisiana; a behind the scenes visit to the New Orleans Times Picayune, and meeting with some of the Pulitzer Prize winning photography staff at the paper.

Airfare, lodging (quads), breakfasts, some tours, and most in-city transit.

**Registration deadline is March 12. If we do not have 9 registrants by March 12, the trip will be canceled and all deposits refunded.