St. Martin Parish

The fleeting period of pleasant, early spring weather (warm but not hot, breezy, sunny and not humid) has given way to late spring’s humidity and daily thunderstorms. Yesterday was intermittently cloudy but there wasn’t any rain forecast, and after several weekends of not shooting I was chomping at the bit. I wanted to stay close to home, in case the weather got cute and decided to rain after all. I decided to explore some of St. Martin Parish, which is only a little more than half an hour’s drive. I’ve never really seen much of the parish outside of St. Martinville, the parish seat; and Breaux Bridge, which has several antiques stores that I like.

Fournet Cemetery

Fournet Cemetery in St. Martinville. I was driving past it when I realized I’d never been inside, the only cemetery in the town I’ve been to is the one behind St. Martin of Tours.

Durand Oak Alley

This is an oak alley that I was surprised to come across, I’d read about it but for some reason I thought it was on the River Road. It used to lead to a plantation house owned by a wealthy planter named Durand, but the house is long gone and now it’s just an exceptionally well-shaded rural road. The legend is that Durand imported a bunch of large spiders and set them loose in the trees to spin giant webs, and on the day of his daughter’s wedding he made his slaves climb the trees and blow gold dust into the webs. I guess I associate that kind of decadence with River Road planters more than Acadiana planters.

Station of the Cross, Catahoula Highway

This was the main thing I set out to photograph, I read about these stations of the cross in Acadiana: Louisiana’s Historic Cajun Country, which I got for Christmas. (Or rather, I bought it for myself with a gift card.) They’re nailed to oak trees along the Catahoula Highway, about a mile apart. I think the original ones were put up in the 1920s, but these don’t look that old so they must make new ones every decade or so.

Skoolie shack

This was in Parks, a little town between St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge, and I had to put my usual shyness about photographing private property on hold, because what the hell? I’ve heard of converted school buses, but this is like someone duct-taped one to a shack and made them into a single structure.

I couldn’t resist poking my head into my favorite antiques store in Breaux Bridge, Lagniappe on Bridge Street, before I went home. I found a cute Instamatic, but it was a model that shoots 126, Kodak’s proprietary cartridge film, which of course they haven’t made in decades. There were some models that shot 110, one day I’ll find one.

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branching out in my love of old stuff

It’s no secret that I go antiquing a LOT. I always loved antique stores, but they weren’t as plentiful in California as they are in the south. There are entire small towns here whose entire downtowns are made up of antique stores, and they all have “antique festivals” in the spring and fall–essentially just the same festival crap you see anywhere, but the stores themselves will usually have sales to go along with it.

Mostly I’m looking for vintage cameras of course, but occasionally I will come across something interesting that I just can’t say no to: opera glasses or absinthe spoons or brooches. (Actually I have quite a decent collection of those last.) In the past couple of years, I’m seeing more and more typewriters. I guess as the kids who never used them become old enough to start buying antiques, they’re starting to be seen as “exotic”. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while that it would be fun to have one for writing letters, but I just hadn’t found one that I had to have. Either they were too busted, or too big, or too expensive, or not old enough.

Well, I’m sure you can imagine where all this is heading:

underwood champion, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I went antiquing in Breaux Bridge (Crawfish Capitol of the World!) on Saturday, and found one that hit all the required marks:

Under $100 ($43)
Over 50 years old (1948 model)
Not too big (portable model)
More or less working condition (the 2 key sometimes sticks, but how often do you use it)

I’ve written a few letters on it since Saturday night, and it’s so much fun! There’s something satisfying about keys you really have to pound on, and the noise they make, and how you have to slow down or all the keys get tangled up.

The case is scuffed, but it latches and the handle is intact. I want to get some compressed air and blow out some of the dust, and maybe scrub the keys with an old dry toothbrush. And I’m waiting for a “new” ribbon from an eBay seller, although the one in there still has some life in it.

typewriter close up, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Something about keys that stick up, instead of being flush with the keyboard, tickles my fancy.

I just really like giving old things another chance to do what they were meant to do.

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photo walk: breaux bridge

Hope and Amy (2 girls I know from my Lomography meetup group) and I did the Photo Walk in Breaux Bridge the first Sunday in October. On one hand, it was full of patronizing dickbags who sneered at me for shooting film instead of digital. This one asshole went around demanding to see everyone’s photos, and when he got to me I was like “I can’t show them to you. I shoot real film, remember?” He asked Amy why she shot a photo in B&W, and before she even finished answering he was like “No, that’s wrong”.

Okay, first of all, art is subjective and there is no single “correct” way of doing it. Second of all, her reason was that it was a photo of a tombstone, which has very little color to begin with and is more about texture and shape, and removing all color from the composition emphasizes those things. Which is a logical statement that I totally 100% agree with.

Amy’s reaction to this criticism was less nuanced but equally as valid: she flipped a bird with one hand and grabbed her crotch with the other and said “Take a photo of THAT in color!” Just like Ansel Adams used to.

On the other hand, Breaux Bridge is a cute town and the weather was nice and Hope and Amy and I went out for margaritas afterwards, so fuck those guys.

670415-R1-24-0A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-12-12A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-09-15A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-07-17A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-04-20A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-25-0, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-02-22A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-15-10, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-16-9, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-10-15, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.