Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Orleans

By all measures, New Orleans should be a sad city. It has suffered hurricanes, floods, high unemployment, racial strife and several visits from Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers. Yet, it remains New Orleans, donning her best Sunday dress of joy, happiness and just plain fun. From the Balls and parades of Mardi Gras, and the clubs along Bourbon Street to the hole in the wall family restaurants in the neighborhoods, I have witnessed the joys of living triumph over the pains of life.

New Orleans is both one of America’s poorest cities and one of our wealthiest. It overflows with good food, great music and spirited people. Yet three plus years after Katrina material damage is still to be found.

During this trip, my assignment was to photograph the Creole to Soul Tour and The Essence Music Festival. In addition I was fortunate to spend a few hours in the Brad Pitt Green Home development too. In this Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood one home is finished, two more are almost completed. These homes are amazing. They are beautiful, comfortable, and have achieved the highest rating for being Green. Yet I walked away wondering why only three? Why are there not three hundred or three thousand of these low cost, totally cool new homes? They should be sprouting up like mushrooms in the humid climate of the Lower Ninth Ward.

I love New Orleans. Between the street cars, drunk tourists, amazing musicians, chefs who know how to turn an egg into a taste of heaven, and 300 year old French Quarter homes, lives a collection of ghosts and stories. For the price of a cheap beer and a sincere ear you can hear the most amazing tales. New Orleans, is an old oak, with deep roots and fresh new leaves every year.

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