Fuji Neopan (expired) in Wide & Slim

This has been one of my favorite film/camera combos for a while now. I only have a few rolls of Neopan left, but I feel like I’ve progressed through all the stages of grief and I’m ready to start trying other options. (Don’t talk to me about pack film yet, though. Too soon.)

Dugas Cemetery

Abandoned house

Talbert-Pierson Cemetery

Fort Macomb

Luling Mansion

In other news, I’ve gone back to my old idea of trying to find a ghost town in southern Louisiana. I did dome research on it about 4 years ago but gave up because websites were always mentioning “ghost towns” that no longer existed. They would turn out to have been washed away by the river when it changed course, or totally demolished to build a section of highway, or wiped off the earth by hurricanes. One website claims Bayou Goula is a ghost town, to which all I can say is that those are some pretty lively ghosts.

Morrisonville in Iberville Parish seemed like a good bet, it was small community on the River Road that had to be abandoned in the mid-90s when Dow Chemical spilled vinyl chloride. There’s nothing left but the cemetery but I thought it might make some interesting photos anyway, with all the pipes and industrial crap in the background. However, the Dow facility has grown around the site of the town in the intervening years, and the cemetery is now on private property. It’s theoretically accessible by the public, and a security guard gave me a phone number to call, but no one ever answered. So that was a big, fat goose egg.

Back to the drawing board. If you know of anything, please leave a comment.

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Nottoway Plantation (grounds), White Castle, Louisiana

view from 2nd story balcony

View from the 2nd story balcony. The road is LA-405, part of the River Road that parallels the Mississippi River and runs from New Orleans to Baton Rouge—we refer to it as one road, but it really changes depending on what parish you’re in. I love this particular stretch of it and have taken many photos along it. Beyond that of course is the levee and the river itself; the trees you can see are actually an island and not the far bank. The Mississippi is much wider than that.

plantation grounds

The old slave cabins in the background are now hotel rooms, which umm I find rather tacky but whatever. Anyway I’m pretty sure they’re reproductions; a lot of these old plantations let the slave quarters fall apart after the Civil War even if they kept up the main house, for obvious reasons.

Randolph family cemetery

In the background you can make out the Randolph family cemetery, the last burial there was in 1944. It would be kind of weird to buy a house and be responsible for tending another family’s graves.

Nottoway Plantation

The hill on the other side of the gate is the levee.

Nottoway Plantation

This would have been considered the front of the house, the side that faced the river, when it was built.

Nottoway Plantation

The curved part is where the ballroom is, and the ground floor of that section is now a restaurant. It was unusual for a rich planter to have an asymmetrical house in those days, when architects were churning out one Greek Revival after another throughout the deep south, but apparently Randolph wanted his house to stand out. When people passed it on the river, he wanted everyone to know who it belonged to.

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Nottoway Plantation (interiors), White Castle, Louisiana

So as already stated, I had last Saturday’s meetup at Nottoway Plantation. As everything from the postcards to the tour guides hasten to inform you, it’s the largest surviving antebellum house in the state. There used to be an even larger one in the same town, called Belle Grove, which Clarence John Laughlin made famous by photographing for Ghosts Along the Mississippi, after it had already been abandoned for years. It burned down in the 1950s, though.

I only took digital photos inside, since we weren’t allowed to use a flash. 400 speed film is not fast enough for indoors.

2nd story balcony

These openings are called “windoors”. Property taxes were sometimes calculated by how many windows a house had, and sometimes by how many doors. On years where it was the former, the owners could claim these were doors, and vice versa. (Sometimes it was by how many closets a house had, thus the popularity of free-standing armoires in the 19th century.) I’ve been to a lot of plantations, but I’ve never seen this particular tax dodge before.

chaperone mirror

This was a chaperone mirror, so you could make sure no one’s ankles were showing or whatever.

White Ballroom

This is the most famous room in the house, the White Ballroom, which I think is SUPER TACKY, but everyone else seemed impressed by it so what do I know.

White Ballroom

entry hall

Uhhh what the hell.

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LC-A+, Fuji Superia: Plaquemine, St. Raphael Cemetery, and Madonna Chapel

690418-R1-04-21, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690417-R1-11-14, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690417-R1-07-18, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690417-R1-04-21, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690418-R1-22-3, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690418-R1-16-9, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690418-R1-13-12, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

690418-R1-11-14, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

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Plaquemine & Iberville Parish

These are just some digital shots, I also shot 2 rolls of 35mm in my LC-A+ and some instants with my Land camera–chocolate and B&W, the film was expiring so I wanted to use it–that came out BEAUTIFUL. One day I’ll get a scanner.

The weather has been GORGEOUS for the past couple of weeks, cold and mostly sunny. I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys cold weather–I find it exhilarating–and since I moved to south Louisiana I treasure cold days like rare jewels. It’s unusual to get such a long stretch so late in the winter, when we do get actual cold weather it’s usually in January. Tomorrow it’s going to be warmer and may rain; Wednesday it will be nice (to me) again; then it looks like a steady warming. So this week is probably the end of it, and before you know it, those ghastly stinging caterpillars will be swarming all over everything. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS until I moved here. It seems like the farther south you go, the more poisonous and aggressive everything becomes. Maybe the late cold weather will have thinned the herd? Fingers crossed.

Saturday I spent the day in Plaquemine and the surrounding countryside. Plaquemine is the seat of Iberville Parish, but it’s only about half the population of Abbeville, Iberville is an even more rural parish than Vermilion. However, their downtown looks like it belongs to a bigger town; the Plaquemine Lock was in operation until 1961 and I assume that brought a lot of money into the town. It’s a historic site now, with a park and a museum. Anyway, I had driven through the town a couple of years ago on my way to White Castle and thought it was pretty, I’ve been meaning to get back.

I also spent some time driving along LA-405, which runs alongside the Mississippi. I love the River Road highways between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, you never know what you can find.

PICT0595, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I re-visited the “smallest church in the world”, the Madonna Chapel in Bayou Goula. I saw it a couple years ago. They leave the key in the mailbox for visitors, you can just let yourself in.

PICT0602, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I came across this cemetery in (I think) Point Pleasant. The oldest graves date to the 18th century.

PICT0611, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This was on a mausoleum. I’ve always thought cherubs were creepy, especially when they’re eyeless and crusted with dead bugs.

PICT0603, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

It had some interesting monuments that were a little worse for wear.

PICT0615, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This obviously used to be a trailer park, you can see the old foundations and the bank of mailboxes was never removed, but someone’s using the land to graze horses now.

PICT0621, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This is the lock, the building is the old lockhouse and is now a museum. The Plaquemine Lock was designed by the same engineer who later designed the lock on the Panama Canal and was the first governor of the Canal Zone.

PICT0649, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Plaquemine for the most part still looks fairly prosperous–the town didn’t dry up and blow away when the lock shut down or anything. But there were a few creepy old buildings on some of the main streets, and this was the creepiest. How terrified do you think the neighborhood kids are of this place?

This Wednesday Trish and I are going to Mississippi and I’m so excited! Weather for the Natchez area is a high of 59 and 0% chance of rain, so it looks like a perfect day to shoot.

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holga 135BC: pilgrim cemetery, bayou goula, louisiana

This is the other place we went to at my last meetup, an old cemetery in Bayou Goula.

This was the last exposure and it got partially double-exposed somehow. I like it, though.