Vacation #2: La Toussaint

I am slowly getting film developed and photos uploaded from vacation #2, which was much more photography-intensive than vacation #1.

The main purpose of taking vacation that particular week was to get some photos of La Toussaint, the traditional grave-lighting ceremony that happens on All Saint’s Eve in some communities on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. That did not go as well as hoped for, due to overwhelming suspicion, hostility, and sad to say what sounded like plain old money-grubbing from some of the locals.

I tried to be respectful and discreet, electing to hang back and not take any photos during the blessing and lighting of the graves. And I tried really hard not to get any people in my shots, although it was a small cemetery with a lot of people in it. But every time I raised a camera, someone would be in my face, demanding to know if I was going to sell the photos or enter them in contests, threatening to call the police*, and telling me that if I wanted photos I should buy theirs. You know, if they’re that concerned about money, they should just charge admission or ask for donations. I would have happily paid for the opportunity to take my photos in peace.

Southerners like to pretend they’re more polite than northerners because they call people “sugar” or whatever. But they have a real bug up their ass when it comes to photography and (what they often mistakenly perceive as) private property; combine the two and they’re apt to go full Hulk on you. I spent 35 years in California, a lot of them with a camera, and nobody ever once hassled me about it, particularly not in a freaking cemetery.

*How exactly a fat girl with a camera is a matter for the police was not explained to me.

All Saint's Eve

All Saint's Eve

All Saint's Eve

All Saint's Eve

All Saint's Eve

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Random stuff: Kodak Ektar in the Ultra Wide & Slim

Adam's Fruit Stand

Adam’s Fruit Stand in Matthews

New Canal Lighthouse

New Canal Lighthouse, Lake Pontchartrain, NOLA

Leeville Cemetery

Leeville Cemetery

Moresi Foundry

Moresi Foundry, Jeanerette

St. Roch shrine

St. Roch Shrine, NOLA

Steamboat house

Steamboat House, Holy Cross, NOLA

Association tomb

Association Tomb, Valence Street Cemetery, NOLA

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I’ve been wandering

I had planned another road trip this spring, to the Missouri Ozarks. But then my car up and died—it had over 180,000 miles on it, and the problem was actually fixable but not worth the money it would cost—so I had to go into money-saving mode. I don’t want car payments taking a huge bite out of my paycheck for the next several years, so I want to pay for half of a new car in cash and get a loan from my bank for the rest. Well, “new” in the sense that it’s new to me; the plan is to get a Toyota or similar with about 30,000 miles on it from Enterprise.

So I’ve been scratching my photography itch by going out on day trips any Saturday that isn’t a semi-tropical monsoon. The Ozarks will be just as beautiful—more so, even—in autumn.

These are just cell phone shots, I have film out for development.

Leeville Cemetery

A cemetery in Leeville so close to the water (that’s a shrimp boat in the background) that it had to be cemented over to keep the graves from washing away in a storm surge.

Holy Mary Shrine

A roadside shrine in Golden Meadow that I photographed for my Saints of Louisiana project (which I am starting to fear will never be completed).

Adam's Fruit Stand

Adam’s Fruit Stand in Matthews.

Cemetery in Cade, LA

A cemetery in Cade that I stumbled across while driving from New Iberia to Lafayette.

Sailing

Sailboats on Lake Pontchartrain sailing past the New Canal Lighthouse, the last functioning lighthouse in Louisiana.

Maison de Reprise

The “Maison de Reprise” of Laura Plantation in Vacherie. I just photographed it from the parking lot, but I’m having the next meetup there.

Tomb of Valcour Aime

Upside-down torch detail on the original tomb of Valcour Aime (his remains have since been moved to New Orleans) in St. James. Aime was a sugar planter who was so rich he is sometimes called “The Louis XIV of Louisiana”. Google him, he was a fascinating man.

Sugarcane field

Sugarcane field in Vacherie.

Saint Amico Chapel

The Saint Amico Chapel in Donaldsonville.

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And the latest edition to my collection, purchased last weekend at the semi-annual sale at the Old Schoolhouse Antiques mall in Washington. I have a soft spot for Brownies.

Lomographers of Acadiana meetup: Fort Pike and Fort Macomb

First off, I have to admit that it was dumb of me to schedule the meetup 2 days after I drove back from Alabama. Getting back in the car and driving 3+ hours was the last thing I wanted to do. However, I’ve been trying to shoot Fort Pike since last spring; it was closed for months after Hurricane Isaac, and when it finally re-opened last fall, first weather and then the holidays kept getting in the way.

Technically, the forts are within the city limits of New Orleans, but they are way the hell far away from anything. Macomb is part of the Venetian Isles community, which is outside the levee system, and it’s taken a real pounding in the last few decades. They had made some attempts to clean it up enough so it could be open to the public, but essentially gave up after Katrina. Pike, which is on the Rigolets, the strait which connects Lake Pontchartrain to the Gulf of Mexico, is even further away from the city. It’s fared better though, and has periodically been open to the public.

These are just the digital shots, I shot a roll in the LC-A+ that has to be developed. I also shot my last pack of Impossible Project color film; I bought a 3-pack when they allegedly improved it and was just as disappointed in it as I’d always been. The last pack has been sitting in the fridge for a year and I finally decided to get rid of it; surprisingly, all of the photos are worth keeping. Apparently the trick is to refrigerate it until it’s a year past expiration, and THEN use it.

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It looked like the state made some kind of half-assed effort at restoring this one room, which had new plaster and a few pieces of wooden furniture, then went “fuck it”. The plaster was filthy and coming off in chunks.

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I’m not sure Macomb is accessible by land anymore. It might be around the other side, but it was so beat up looking that I wasn’t even tempted to try and enter it. Hope and I drove past it and went into a bar to ask directions, they were like “It’s basically across the street”. We were looking right at it before we saw it, it’s almost camouflaged.

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