another weekend, another trip to New Orleans

It’s been noted that I’m in New Orleans so much that I might as well live there, but I like the country, too. I love visiting cities, I don’t necessarily want to be in them 24-7.

Anyway. Saturday was the Piety Street Holiday Market, and a friend of mine in the New Orleans Photo Alliance had a booth, so I decided to go. They have the market every 3rd weekend in the Old Ironworks in Bywater; there are 2 in December and I think they have extra vendors as well. It’s a combination craft fair/flea market, and I think there’s sometimes live music. And of course food, because this is New Orleans we’re talking about.


christmas cactus, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I love Bywater. It’s the Berkeley (or Red Hook) of New Orleans. If I WAS going to live in the city, I’d want to live either there or in Marigny.

I just went for something to do–I’m done with my shopping anyway–but actually I was really surprised with the quality of the stuff being sold.


old checks, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

My friend was selling, among other things, “paper ephemera”: old checks and bills. These are from 1895, 1899, and 1907. People had such cool handwriting back then, all spidery and curlicued.

I also bought a mixed-paper journal made from an old French-language children’s book (I’m always meaning to do something like that myself, I have enough paper craft supplies), and a couple of 4×6 matted prints from a local artist. (One for me, one for a friend.)


nola doorway (filter), originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The one I’m keeping is a photo of a doorway on Rue Dauphine. Clearly, I like photos of doorways in New Orleans. I take dozens of them.


snowballs, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I also had a key lime snowball. Snowballs are a southern Louisiana thing, and they are miles better than a grainy, gritty snowcone. They’re more like Hawaiian shaved ice, with a very fine, snow-like texture. Lots of places are seasonal, opening around either Mardi Gras or Easter and closing around the time the clocks are set back. But some places are open year-round.


rooster graffiti, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

There was a really cool mural on the outside of the Old Ironworks.


saint lucy, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Afterward, since I was in the neighborhood already, I drove to St. Roch to take some photos of that delightfully morbid body part chapel with my Z2300. I also realized that last time I neglected to take any photos of the statue of St. Lucy. Yes, those are eyeballs on a tray.

Then I drove over to Magazine Street. There’s a stationery store called Scriptura that a friend told me about, I bought some stationery and a pocket notebook and replenished my NOLA postcard stash for Postcrossing.com. Afterwards I went to 2 galleries on the same street to see a couple of different photo exhibits that opened as part of PhotoNOLA.

I really enjoyed the Contemporary Antiques exhibit at the Octavia Art Gallery. It was curated by Frank Relle, but a lot of the photographers are amateurs, and most of their photos were taken with cell phones. It’s fun to see the kinds of things that catches other people’s eyes, and the sheer amount of photos–blown up to 6×6 (I think, I didn’t measure them), with identical white mattes and mounted floor-to-ceiling–was dizzying. I’m an old school film photographer, but I like that literally everyone carries around a camera with them on their phone now. I think it encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings, to look for beauty and fascination in the mundane, and I think it probably teaches them things like composition and framing without their even knowing.

I also went to the Leslie Addison and George Yerger exhibit at the Cole Pratt Gallery. I’ve been interested in these artists since shortly after I moved to Louisiana and they were featured in an issue of Louisiana Life. They use plastic cameras (Holgas, mostly) like myself. In a way they encouraged me to start taking my own work more seriously, because I looked at their photos and thought “Hell, I could do that. I DO do that.”

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Brownie Hawkeye w/ flipped lens: St. Roch Cemetery in the Bywater

 


7564NEG0007, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

 


7564NEG0004, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

 


7564NEG0011, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

 


7564NEG0008, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

 


7564NEG0012, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

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another show, another trip to NOLA

I decided to go to the Push Pin Show, basically because I will use any excuse to spend time in New Orleans. There are things I love about the country, but it’s also nice to recharge my batteries in a more liberal environment. Saturday evening was hot and humid, but a cold front moved in that night, making Sunday quite pleasant: temps in the low 80s, a slight breeze, and LOW HUMIDITY.

A push pin show is just what it sounds like. I didn’t want to be greedy, so I only brought 2 photos along. I had bought some pre-cut mats at Michael’s, but the sizes were wonky and I didn’t like the way they looked, so I opted to just tack ’em to the wall (which is what most other people were doing, anyway). The pins aren’t going through the actual image, since I have a white border, so if/when they’re matted it won’t show anyway. I also added one of my business cards, which has the address of my Etsy shop and my Facebook page, among other info. I have a couple of new “likes”, so clearly that was a good idea.

This dog was just cold chillin’ at the gallery.

This trip I decided I wanted to explore a little bit of the Bywater neighborhood, which is where the HomeSpace Gallery is located. I saw a bit of it last year, when we had a photo meetup in the Marigny–the 2 neighborhoods sort of bleed together–and went to a tintyping demo at the gallery. It’s a sort of working class/boho artistic neighborhood–I read an article in a NYC publication that compared it to Red Hook, which I found fitting. It reminded me of Lincoln Heights, the Los Angeles neighborhood where my sister and brother-in-law live: you get a sense that this a real place where real people actually live, and not some tourist playground.

I decided to pass up the free hotel breakfast on Sunday morning in favor of something actually worth paying for. Elizabeth’s is at the end of Gallier Street, a residential street, and it’s in a converted, 100-year-old house. I had the duck waffle: duck and sweet potato hash with a well of pepper jelly, served on a cornbread waffle. And I couldn’t resist a side of praline bacon, their specialty. (You could tell who was from Louisiana and who was there from somewhere else for the Saints season opener by listening to them order it: in Louisiana you pronounce it “prah-leen”, but everyone else says “pray-leen”.) It was all ridiculously delicious of course, in addition to being enough food for two people, and the service was fast and friendly. The ‘rents are going to NOLA this weekend for a medical convention, and I told Mom they HAVE to eat here while they’re in the city.

In my ongoing quest to photograph every cemetery in the city (I could live to be 100 and still fail at that goal), I went to St. Roch. There’s a chapel dedicated to the titular saint, who Catholic residents prayed to during the cholera and yellow fever epidemics of the 18th and 19th centuries, right in the middle of it. And I’d read there’s a strange little grotto tacked onto the side, filled with medical braces, cast-off prostheses, and even body part casts. They’ve been left by people who believe they were cured by intercession of the saint. It was (Firefly nerd alert!) morbid and creepifying, but really interesting (and photogenic!). And I literally stumbled over another photographer as I was leaving the chapel (he was lying on the ground), so clearly a popular spot.

(I’ve been thinking NOLA cemeteries or Louisiana cemeteries or maybe just rural cemeteries would be a good photobook idea, but I also feel like it’s been done. Opinions?)

A note: St. Roch is supposedly a bad neighborhood, but it seemed quiet and peaceful while I was there. It was a Sunday morning, I imagine not much crime goes down on Sunday mornings. As in any allegedly “bad” neighborhood, use basic common sense (be aware of your surroundings, don’t flash your equipment or carry lots of cash or wear loud clothing) and you’ll be fine.

I had wanted to go to Conrad’s Store, a funky thrift store on St. Claude’s (down the street from Island of Salvation Botanica, where I’ve been a couple of times), but they never opened. I suspect Conrad preferred to stay home and watch the Saints game. Maybe I’ll try again next month when I pick up the photos.

So instead I went to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (which is on Camp Street downtown and not in the Bywater). I had an ulterior motive: the next NOPA show will be displayed there during PhotoNOLA, and I’m probably going to make a submission. They have a couple of great photo exhibits right now, and I recognized the names (and work) of some of my fellow NOPA members: Sesthasak Boonchai’s Broken Flowers and a Heidi Kirkpatrick piece that was donated by Peter Buck.

I came across this painting on the 5th floor, and it was a deeply surreal moment because I know exactly where that is: it’s the corner of St. Mary and Sophie Wright, and it’s a few doors down from the NOPA gallery. I went into that bar the night the member’s exhibit opened–the first time I ever had a photo in an exhibit, unless you count school exhibits (and I don’t)–and ordered a whiskey sour. Is there a word for the feeling of unreality you get when you see a location that you know first-hand portrayed in art? The Germans probably have some 7-syllable word for it.

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