Spring Sale at the Schoolhouse Antiques Mall

I am SO BEHIND on posting photos. I started a new job last month; my commute is twice as long as I’m used to (although largely on rural highways very light of traffic) AND I’ve been working a lot of overtime—I even came in for about 3 ½ hours on Sunday! I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, and I’m certainly not complaining about the money, but lately it feels like I barely have time for anything else.

Anyway, on Saturday I made time for the spring sale at the Old Schoolhouse Antiques Mall in the town of Washington, thus continuing my unbroken streak—I haven’t missed one of the biannual sales (there’s another one in October) since I moved to south Louisiana. For a couple of years there in the middle they were kind of crappy, but they seem to have bounced back. I’ve gotten some of my best vintage cameras there, including my Land Cameras, and this year did not disappoint:

Polaroid SX-70

The SX-70 was the only Land Camera I didn’t have at least one type of*, and one of just three cameras still on my must-own list. (The others are a Rollei 35 and a Fuji Natura Classica. I don’t count the Arguses or Kodak Brownies I buy when I come across them, because I collect those brands specifically.) I only paid $20 for it because it has the plastic rather than metal exterior, and because it hadn’t been cleaned and restored. But the seller—who was selling refurbished ones for $100, so he clearly knows Polaroids—assured me it worked, and I figured I could afford to trust him for $20. Those old leatherette patches just have to be scraped off, and the old adhesive soaked off with denatured alcohol, then I can either buy a die-cut skin or make my own. I’ve seen tutorials where people used materials like old wallpaper swatches, or leather patches cut out of vintage purses.

Hoodoo Oils

And this is the other thing I bought there, a Japanese lacquered corner shelf. Some of the lacquer has rubbed off on the edges, but it was only $12 and I’ve always had a fondness for all the kitschy stuff the GIs brought home after WWII. Cheap as it was, most of it is still better-made and more charming than the crap Ikea sells. I think it’s meant to hang in a wall corner, it’s got a metal hook, but standing it on the dresser creates 3 shelves instead of 2. Which makes it the perfect size to hold all of my condition oils, which previously had been scattered about—some of them were actually being kept in my underwear drawer!

*I also own a 95A, the 2nd model ever made and one that covers the earliest roll-film era; a 150, which covers the classic ‘50s-‘60s era (mine is a 1963); and several late-model hardshells.

Ocean Goddess Altar

ocean goddess altar

I went back up to the Worthmore 5 & 10 in Rayne last weekend, which I like to think of as “the store that time forgot”. I saw rolls of heavy duty elastic in the sewing section labeled CORSET REPAIR. And I picked up a pack of onion skin typewriter paper. When’s the last time you saw something labeled as being specifically for typewriters for sale?

They have a cool religious section with some unusual items, including some very nice resin statues. Usually resin statues have awful paint jobs that look like they were slapped on by blind children in the midst of an epileptic seizure, but they had some small ones for just $5 that were perfect. I bought this one of Our Lady of Regla, to go on my altar along with Yemaya, La Sirene, and Stella Maris. I consider all of these matron saints who are associated with the ocean to be different aspects of the same spirit.

My Neighbor Totoro cross stitch #1

Totoro in hydrangeas cross stitch (with flash)

This is the first cross stitch I’ve completed in a while. I got bogged down with those Celtic crosses; I wanted to do the entire book of designs (I think there were 8 in all), but as I was about to finish the 2nd to last one I got a serious case of the eff thises and didn’t want to pick up any needlecrafts for the next several months. Which is my normal routine, I go in spurts where I’m obsessed with it and do it every waking minute, then I can’t stand the sight of an embroidery hoop for the rest of the year.

This is a small design, actually one of 2 My Neighbor Totoro designs that I bought as a digital file from an Etsy seller for a few dollars, back when I was still working on the crosses. I usually like to ease back into things with a small project. I was just going to hoop it, but it’s small enough that maybe I can use it for a clothing or a tote bag patch or something.

Who went to Krewe of Muses last night and got herself a shoe?

muses shoeMeeeee!

2013 was a pretty lean year for me so I didn’t have the funds for a hotel room–especially not during the last week of Carnival, when they all jack up their rates–so I wasn’t sure until the last minute if I would go. I decided to compromise by parking on a residential street near Jefferson and Magazine (you should have seen the amazing parallel park I pulled off on Camp, there was like a single inch between bumpers) and catching them at the start of the parade, before they join up with Babylon and Chaos. They were past by 9:30 and I got home shortly after midnight.

Actually, it wasn’t that much of a compromise, because I don’t really care for the other 2 krewes. Babylon at least has some interesting floats, but Chaos’ are usually lame (and occasionally they’re grotesquely sexist), and the krewe members are assholes–I’ve seen them  like, shrug at people asking for throws. What the hell?

I thought it would be nicer watching from a more residential area too, but actually I missed my usual spot, on Gravier a few blocks down from St. Charles. There were people on porches, in yards, on the sidewalks, on ladders, on the grass between the gutter and the sidewalk, and in the streets, so the throws were more spread out and they literally threw a lot of them. On Gravier, they just drop them over the sides of the floats and into your hands. (Also, residential area = lots of children, or, as I refer to them, “throw hogs”.)

So I didn’t get as much swag as I usually do, but I can’t complain because I GOT A SHOE! A lot of the large krewes have a rare signature throw (Zulu’s painted coconuts are the most famous) that is the most coveted, and for the Muses it’s women’s shoes that have been decorated with glitter, feathers, and beads. This was my 3rd parade and I’d never gotten one; they mostly give them to little girls, people they know, or people who’ve made some kind of effort like holding a sign or wearing a costume. I wasn’t trying to get one–I didn’t even notice that one was being held out–but it dropped right into my hands!

I didn’t take too many photos this year, partly because I didn’t want to spend the money on high-speed film, but mostly because I thought I’d just enjoy the parade for once. I took more at Krewe du Vieux, which I went to for the first time on February 15th, so many that I haven’t gotten them all edited yet.

True Detective

Anyone else watching this new HBO show? It takes place in my corner of Louisiana, Cajun country/Louisiana prairie. (Yes, south Louisiana has prairie. It’s not all gator-infested bayou.) It’s always nice when Hollywood remembers that the state isn’t entirely made up of just New Orleans, much as I love the city. In fact, the murder victim in the pilot is found in Erath, which is literally down the road from me: if you go to the end of my street and cross LA-14 (which is a rural highway, so probably not what most of you think of when you think of a highway), you’d be in Erath.

true detective

Visually, I’d say it’s entirely an accurate representation of south Louisiana, which makes sense because they filmed it here. The rustling cane fields, the sugar and natural gas refineries spewing white smoke, the murmuration (seriously, that’s what it’s called) of starlings swirling through the air, the single huge oak standing out in a flat field. And of course, the abandoned church. I’m sure it was a set built for the show, but things like that exist here; I’ve photographed a bunch of them. When something in Louisiana burns down or gets wrecked in a hurricane or just abandoned, it doesn’t always get torn down and tidied up.

And the writing and acting is good, too. The storyline is more of a slow burn, but I prefer that to car chases and explosions every 30 seconds. Admittedly, the popular notion of Louisiana as (to use the A.V. Club’s words) “a lawless, hothouse trouble spot populated by weirdoes, freaks, perverts, vampires, hoodoo wimmen, and gangsters plotting to assassinate the president” sometimes gets old to those of us that live here. The only show to ever realistically portray Louisiana as a place where (mostly) normal people live (mostly) normal lives remains Tremé; perhaps not coincidentally, that show had dismal ratings. (Also–sort of–the ’80s sitcom Frank’s Place. Which lasted a single season. And also the premise was that Frank had to run the family business and stay in NOLA rather than sell it and move back to New England because of a Voodoo curse. So that’s really kind of a wash.)

But you know, I’ll take weird religious serial killers and creepy abandoned churches and matriarchal brothels out in the wilderness over the current “reality” TV portrayal of Louisianans as a bunch of mouth-breathing, gator-wrasslin’, drunken hillbillies.

Oh, and if you saw the photo of Dora Lange as a child surrounded by men on horseback wearing pointed hoods and thought OMG KKK, no. Those were Courir de Mardi Gras:

Courir de Mardi Gras_Dejouant ses bourreaux_HRoe_2012

The pointed hat is a traditional part of the local Mardi Gras costume and has been around much longer than the Klan. Wearing cheap plastic beads and flashing your boobs and/or dressing like a demented streetwalker is a New Orleans thing.

Diana F+: Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island, Alabama

I was there about a week before Hope and I went to Fort Pike, so I couldn’t help but compare them. Gaines is in much better condition than Pike, which is not surprising, because Louisiana really doesn’t have their shit together when it comes to parks and historic sites.

Apparently this is where Admiral David Farragut said the famous line “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”, during the Battle of Mobile Bay, in the Civil War. I thought it was odd that they would put it on all their signage and pamphlets, since Farragut was a Union admiral. But you know, we’re all the same country now, so kudos to Alabama for refusing to give in to that stupid us vs. them grudge-holding mentality that is one of my least favorite things about the south.

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Like me on Facebook!

Fuji Neopan in the Yashica MG-1: Marksville, LA

Apparently that’s where I shot that mystery roll of black & white.

028

018

017

Fort de Russy Cemetery

003

Fort de Russy Cemetery

Like me on Facebook!

Rayne, LA: the Frog Capital of the World

Don’t get sentimental about it, they’re for eating. I feel vaguely bad about eating frog legs, I always picture little disabled frogs rolling around the bayou in tiny wheelchairs. I mean, I know they kill them when they cut the legs off, and it’s not like I think being dead is preferable to being legless. It’s just that my brain is a bizarre place. But they are tasty–like a chicken and a fish had a baby. It’s about 35 minutes’ drive from Abbeville, north in Acadia Parish.

Saint Joseph's "wrong way" cemetery

St. Joseph’s Cemetery is “backwards”: they dug the graves north-to-south, and burials in every other Catholic cemetery in the world (as far as is known) are done east-to-west. They’re supposed to face the rising sun, symbol of Christ’s resurrection. No one knows why they did it; probably it was just an accident and by the time they realized they’d fucked up it was too late to do anything about it.

Saint Joseph's "wrong way" cemetery

Open mausoleums always disturb me. Either they’re vampires that never came back (or zombies?), or they got yanked out and thrown on the trash heap because their descendants stopped making payments. This is one of the reasons I want to be cremated.

Saint Joseph's Catholic Church stained glass

Stained glass in the church. The pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, but it’s also a heraldic device that conveys self-sacrifice for the greater good: in medieval times, pelicans were thought to feed their young with their own blood.

Hoyt's German Cologne mural on the 5 & 10 Worthmore building

There are a lot of murals in the town, most of them frog-related. This one looks old, it was on the Five & Ten Worthmore Building, which has been in business since 1936. That’s right, Rayne has an actual Five & Ten store. (Also, the ice cream store sells bubblegum cigarettes. It’s like the Town That Time Forgot.) I’m halfway convinced that the store is some kind of museum underwritten by the town, because most of the merchandise looks like it’s been sitting on the shelves since Nixon was in the White House. All the plastic wrap had gone yellow and brittle.

Hoyt’s Cologne is often used in Hoodoo, mostly in things to do with gambling. (It does sometimes occur to me that Hoodoo practitioners might not need works to attract money quite so often if they gambled a little less.) There was no Hoyt’s Cologne inside, but they had a pretty cool little religious section. Other than a few frog tchotchkes that they probably sell during the Frog Festival, it looked like the only merchandise that people actually buy. They had some items that I’ve never seen at the Catholic bookstores, like a Seven African Powers medal–that’s more of a Santeria thing–and a Saint Expedite holy card. He’s an official Roman Catholic saint, but Catholic bookstores never seem to carry his stuff. Probably because he’s such a favorite of spirit workers.

Like me on Facebook!

Lomo LC-A+: Fort Pike & Fort Macomb

500700-R1-18-7

500700-R1-11-14

500700-R1-12-13

500700-R1-06-19

500700-R1-05-20

Supposed to be nice weather on Saturday, about 70 (I guess that polar vortex thing has stopped pumping out its freezing deathrays… for now) and no rain. I might drive up to Rayne, which is only about a half hour from Abbeville. They have a Catholic cemetery where the burials go in the wrong direction (north-south instead of east-west) and a couple other sites of interest.

I’m also working on an idea inspired by reading Judika Illes’ Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages–I’m currently on the Rs. Most of the listings mention major places of veneration, and when there’s one in Louisiana I make a note. I thought it would be cool to photograph them as a series. A couple of them I have already, like the Saint Roch shrine in New Orleans. Apparently there’s a shrine for Santisima Muerte in New Orleans! But first I have to finish the book.

Like me on Facebook!

Lomo LC-A+: Dauphin Island, Alabama

I also shot a roll of 120 in the Diana, I sent that to Dwayne’s Photo earlier this week (along with a roll of 35mm B&W that I have no idea what’s on it).

500701-R1-18-7

500701-R1-20-5

500701-R1-11-14

Catholic Cemetery

Catholic Cemetery

Like me on Facebook!

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 228 other followers