January 15, 2006

A visual tour of my trip through New Orleans, pre-Katrina

I was fortunate to see this incredible city before its most recent disaster. New Orleans is no stranger to forces of nature larger than, but parallel in passion to itself. It has survived fire and flood consistently over the years, one after the other.

You can click on each of my photos for a larger version, if you like. They're nothing special, but at least you get more detail when they're bigger.

I was most struck by the above-ground cemetaries in New Orleans. They are referred to as "cities of the dead" and are built this way because the water table is so hight that it makes traditional burial impossible - caskets would float to the surface of the earth, if buried.

Some tombs were better kept than others. This one held an old voodo witch - the city and the practice of voodo have long, intertwined histories. Tombs known to hold famous leaders in the practice were often covered by symbols in sets of three. "XXX", or three hatch marks, for example.

The tomb of multiple generations of an Italian family based in Louisianna.

According to the nuns, this convent survived the New Orleans fire because the nuns prayed that if God were to save it, they would celebrate Him and the miracle on the same day each year after. He did, and they do.

Everything at the convent was beautiful but I remember being struck by the impression it was all also trapped, locked or restrained somehow.

A breakdancer on a main thoroughfare. A sharp contrast to the careful restraint of the convent.

Before the hurricane, as after, New Orleans had a dark side and clearly struggled with her own demons. This is an apartment complex along the edge of the French Quarter. It was being lived in... I just missed capturing a woman and a child leaving the building.

A beignet (donuts without holes) maker at Cafe DuMond. He is inside, I am out. (notice the trees in the reflection.) Breakfast every morning was these, generously covered in powdered sugar, and Cafe au Lait.

The doors in New Orleans fascinated me - with the French, Spanish and Creole influence among others, the city's architecture, food, art and music had an eclectic feel.

Buildings along a street in the French Quarter. The street is Iberville, obviously. The color of the buildings is standard - N.O. is a colorful place...

...And full of artists. I caught this painter on her balcony. Wish I would have seen the finished product.

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