New Orleans

social clubs, deacon john and tennis court parking

Jan 23, 2014 | Leave a comment

toyota.blogThis Nissan SUV is parked next to the side of the former Valencia Social Club in New Orleans, a country club of sorts for rich teenagers from nearby schools to hang out. Last November its well-loved director, Jay Molony died in New Orleans. During his time at Valencia he hired a lot of local acts like Deacon John & The Ivories and Irma Thomas to play the teen dances. The club fell on hard times and eventually shut down in the late 80’s. Now the building is home to the Children’s Clothing Exchange. In the shot below you can see that the clothing racks on the dance floor and the stage curtains visible in the rear.


Looks like the club’s tennis court is now doubling as a parking space for a Camaro and an odd boat or two.valenciaaerial

Check out this mini-doc on Deacon John. Listen in at 2:11 when he rises into “Many Rivers To Cross” by Jimmy Cliff. 

Also here’s a clip of Irma on American Bandstand…




baudles, bangles and beads

Feb 12, 2013 | Leave a comment

Here’s a classic example of the Buick Electra 225 a.k.a. Deuce-and-a-Quarter convertible. Two hundred and twenty five inches from front to back. I shot this one a few weeks ago during my trip to New Orleans after having just inhaled a sloppy roast beef po-boy from Parkway Tavern (see pic below). I needed a nap but I saw this sweet ride and of course had to capture its soul.  When you visit New Orleans you are in a constant state of searching for food and escaping the heat. There are so many great places to dine and so many great dishes that you must have them all. As I type this it is Mardi Gras and everyone in Louisiana is out in the streets going crazy to catch beads and trinkets made in China. Another Tuesday. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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how to hide a double-0 spy boy

Jul 3, 2012 | Leave a comment

There’s no mistaking that this Ford Econoline van parked outside of The Pelican Club in the French Quarter was once part of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company. That bold stripe from head to tail begs for a Starsky and Hutch comparison.

On the topic of New Orleans, last night I watched the James Bond film, Live And Let Die.  There were great scenes filmed in the French Quarter and swampy waterways around New Orleans. I always dug this film as a kid especially the jazz funeral that turns into a second line parade. A British Secret Service agent is killed and his body is surreptitiously placed in a coffin as the funeral procession erupts into celebratory dancing. It’s a fantastic scene that took place on the corner of Dumaine and Chartres Street right in front of the fictitious club Fillet of Soul. Its Harlem counterpart in the film, also called Fillet of Soul, was at the corner of East 92nd Street and 2nd Avenue. See screen grabs below. Oh to have been on that movie set with those fine 70’s rides!



on pickups and occurences

Nov 28, 2011 | Leave a comment

Continuing on the old pickup theme this week with a fine mid-60s Chevrolet C10 Stepside. I shot this photograph a day before the ‘66 Dodge Charger (see earlier post) in the Irish Channel neighborhood in New Orleans. I actually spotted this truck as I was driving in a car. As you may know I usually scout out my locations on foot but this was a rare exception. There aren’t too many anachronistic clues that would be a dead giveaway that this shot wasn’t taken 30 or 40 years ago. I suppose this is one section of this neighborhood that doesn’t seem to change. Check out the herringbone brick sidewalk.
There is a strange phenomenon that I’ve only witnessed in the South and it involves two people in the cab of a truck who are dating or married or just having fun. When one person is driving and the other person gets in the passenger side he or she scoots over to the middle of the seat so that they are in close proximity to the other. Now I guess this little scoot ’em over move only works comfortably with an older style bench seat as opposed to a bucket seat.
In my dad’s hometown there is also another phenomenon called the one-finger wave. As you drive down the winding roads of Pointe Coupee Parish and a car or truck is coming toward you, you keep your hand(s) on the wheel and just raise your index finger to acknowledge your fellow passerby. What usually follows is someone saying, “That’s about the craziest ?#&^@%# I ever laid eyes on.”

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Oct 18, 2011 | 1 Comment

This old proverb from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr came to mind on a recent trip to New Orleans. I wandered around the Garden District absorbing the changes that have taken place where I once lived. Natural and man-made disasters are woven into the fabric of New Orleans and with each crisis the city attempts a rebirth. This stretch of Magazine Street has witnessed many changes with new boutique shops and restaurants but it still has the old holdouts like this pawn shop. I wonder if you still have to be buzzed in the front door?

I came across this 1966(?)Dodge Charger and made a few shots. The light wasn’t quite right at the time (and my vision was a bit nebulous from the previous evening of Irish Channel merriment) so while I was having a nice breakfast at Slim Goodies across the street, I kept my eye on the car hoping the light would change. It never did but I like the shadows now.

Meaning is always imposed on my photographs after the fact. Either by me or by you. When I’m out shooting I don’t think of “old versus new” or “rebirth” or make any attempt at a theme but when you’re in New Orleans these elements surround you like a hot, humid day. There is no escape but why would you want to?