Nine Years Since… (Reblog on the 12th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina)

On this date that marks the twelfth year since Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of New Orleans (NOLA), it’s difficult to look at images of Texas under water without thinking about NOLA. My knowing that people are displaced (again) and have lost homes (again) and that their lives will be changed (again) does more than pull at my heart strings. This knowledge conjures all the feelings of Post-Katrina New Orleans that I want to avoid. I keep turning away, forcing my gaze away from the images and the stories. But. It’s important that we look. It’s necessary that we feel. It’s imperative that we do something to help.

Lives are affected in more ways than many can imagine and will be for some time. If those of us who were living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina still feel its effects 12 years later, it’s not hard to comprehend the shock and trauma of those who are going through the ordeal at this moment.

Pics and Posts

I’ve been slightly agitated all week long, with “something” gnawing just beneath the surface.  I couldn’t figure the cause of my mental discomfort till late last night when the date “August 29th” hit  me.  August 29th.  August 29th.  Nine years ago, I woke up in my sister’s home in Lithonia, Georgia to discover that just as we all breathed a sigh of relief thinking NOLA had been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina, the flood protection walls breached.  With that break, so many things in my life changed all at once, and I found myself vacillating between moments of hopefulness and moments of helplessness.  My husband and I did not lose our home, but we lost so much more than that, and in some ways, I am still dealing with those losses today.

I realized recently that I’m a slow griever.  Grief ekes out slowly, laboriously, as I feel I have time to “handle” unpleasant and difficult…

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Soaring Like a Mountain Eagle

Eagle’s Wings: Photo captured at Brechtel Park in Algiers (Westbank New Orleans, Louisiana), 2011

…and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar. –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Photo Magic: Exploiting the Possibilities

I’ve been playing around with photos more than usual lately, altering them in PhotoShop and iPhone apps.  I love putting them through multiple processes just to see what evolves.  My selections for Liberate Your Art 2017 came out of such photo-play.

The postcards I sent began as a purple orchid and a pink coneflower.  Both were captured at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in late January–a blog post for another time.

Here’s the orchid–original and altered.

Purple Orchid, Original New Orleans Botanical Gardens, 2017

Magical Orchid, 2017

The orchids were protected in an enclosed, temperature-controlled space. However, the coneflower survived outdoors despite the winter weather.  It offered one of the few glimpses of color in the Garden that cold January afternoon.

“Coneflower,” Original, New Orleans Botanical Gardens, January 2017

I “transformed” the coneflower in many ways and couldn’t decide which to choose for LYA, so I decided to have all of them printed as postcards.  I selected randomly for the swap.  Here’s a peek at 10 of the 15 edits.

“Coneflower Magic,” 2017, Collage Made with PicsArt

Even though I struggled (as usual) with selecting photos for LYA, I chose these not because they represent my best work but because I had so much fun with them.  Since so many things have been so serious and heavy this year, I wanted to share lighthearted images.

A photograph can be naturally beautiful, flawless even, but there’s still something liberating about exploiting the possibilities of it.

(Monochrome) Photo Play: Water, Light, and Fairies

I’m baaaaack with another monochrome photos post.  I can hardly believe the last monochrome post, “Animals in Monochrome,” was in January. I didn’t realize how much time had gone by.

I attempted a “Water in Monochrome” swap earlier in the year, but there were no takers, so I was pleased as punch when my penfriend Beckra joined the “A Thousand Words” group on swap-bot and joined the swap when I “re-created” it in September.  She had been experimenting with shooting water in black and white, so the swap was perfect for her.

Beckra shared two photos which exhibit her photographic interactions with water and light. Both photos were shot at her happy place, the creek at Woolly Hollow State Park.

“Writing on the Water,” Creek at Woolly Hollow State Park, by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

This first photo was captured “close, close, close-up” while wading and crouching in the creek. Beckra writes that it “seems like the light is writing on the water in a kind of cursive.”  Interestingly, it also looks like a fire dance.

For the second photo, she had been trying to capture the “starlike glints” on the water and was pleased to find this photo did not disappoint.

“Starry Creek,” Creek at Woolly Hollow State Park, by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

Although the next photo was not part of the swap, it is a “water in black and white” photo and it completes a perfect trilogy of abstract water photos.

“May Moontrail” by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

Beckra sent this one at the beginning of summer break, a moon trail on the lake. She followed the bright moon to the water and was able to capture this reflection, a beautiful “luxury of the summer.”

The guys and I found different places to experience nature and we were overjoyed to find some hangouts near or on water.  Being a Westbank NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) girl, I feel a little lost sometimes not having the Mississippi River down the street from me.

I sent four photos, two from summer and two older photos because I am sort of proud of the monochrome renderings.

Wheeler Lake in Black and White

Wheeler Lake in Black and White, iPhone Photo, 2016

This photo is from Wheeler Lake, which is located between Rogersville and Huntsville in Northern Alabama. The lake was formed by a dam along the Tennessee River. Although part of a popular tourist spot, we were among very, very few people in the area we explored.

Here’s another favorite shot from Wheeler Lake park:

Wheeler Lake Park, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

“Where Fairies Play,” Wheeler Lake Park, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

Although flawed, this one was fun to work with because I had to remove a HUGE orange garbage can from the shot.  For some reason, it reminds me of a place where fairies play.  I think I read one too many medieval romances last month.

Ditto Landing marina, described as “Huntsville, Alabama’s gateway to the Tennessee River,” is my new favorite spot.  We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area and are looking forward to returning soon. You can learn the history of Ditto Landing and see gorgeous pics on the website.

The “Closed Bridge” photo featured in Friday’s post was from Ditto Landing. Here’s the original photo.

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Original

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Original

And a favorite edit:

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, edited in Snapseed

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, edited in Snapseed

Here’s another one of my favorite photos from Ditto Landing–a nice balance between air, trees, water, and land.  There’s so much more to explore I can’t wait to go back.

“Balance and Order,” Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

As mentioned, I also sent two older photos: a sepia photo of from “The Fly” at Audubon Park, featured earlier this year in one of the nature photo challenge blog posts, and a photo of waves crashing against the rocks (was it mountains?) in Maui.  Although I “heart” the original photo, I couldn’t resist the purple.

The Purple Wave, Maui

That’s it for now.  Until next time…I’ll be riding the purple wave…

Postcards for Me and One for You Too!

I have postcards everywhere. On my desk. In my notebooks. On my walls. In my crafting spaces. On my bookshelves. In albums. Even on my nightstand. We won’t talk about the very large box and shelves filled with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of blank postcards waiting to be sent.  I’m presently looking at the mini stack of postcards I received in March, particularly the selected-based-on-my-interests postcards I found in my mailbox last week.

In honor of my love for history…

Scituate Light (Cedar Point), Scituate, MA. A historic light of the War of 1812. The lighthouse is located at the entrance to the harbor and offers a beautiful view of the coast and harbor. From Marissa477 on swap-bot.

And my love for books…

“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” –Carl Sagan. From ShyAnn64 on swap-bot.

And bookish art…

“The Reader,” by W.L. Ramsey from developpeople on swap-bot.

And photography…

George Eastman House, Rochester, New York

And literature…

William Butler Yeats from MJBCoffee on swap-bot

And my favorite place in the world, home…

New Orleans!

New Orleans! from Lazycrochet, who just moved to New Iberia, Louisiana 7 months ago.

And random, “just because” postcards…

Pretty Thank You Note (c) ME, Teachers Pay Teachers. This is the front of the postcard sent by developpeople.

And while I try to figure out what to do with my ever-growing postcard collection, it’s time I send a certain set of postcards out in the mail.

Way back in October 2015, I won a swap-bot giveaway.  Here’s the generous collection of swag put together by one of swap-bot’s founders, Rachel Johnson.

Swap-bot 10th Anniverary Giveaway.

Swap-bot 10th Anniverary Giveaway.

"Swap-bot Swag"

“Swap-bot Swag”

Pencils. Postcards. Stickers. Buttons. Magnets. Enough to make one swoon.

I could share this cute Ernie (the Envie) goodness with other swap-bot members, but I decided to use it to lure…ehem…encourage others, to join the snail mail revolution via swap-bot.

I “discovered” swap-bot almost six years ago when I mistakenly clicked a link that popped up on a website I was visiting.  I hesitated before joining, but I was intrigued by the possibility of regular “real” mail in my mailbox! I clearly remember my first swap–an electronic playlist–and my first Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap.  I signed up when I didn’t even know anything about ATCs.  Pretty soon, I was involved in one creative swap after another, and I was completely hooked and addicted to snail mail.

Maybe, you’ll get hooked on snail mail too. If you comment below with your contact information or email address, I will send you a postcard, written on and stamped. OR–you can contact me at iamnnyla at gmail dot com.  I’ll send postcards until the swap-bot postcards are gone.

Don’t you want a little happy in your mailbox?

Nature Photo Challenge: Fun with “The Fly”

The Mighty Mississippi, March 2012, New Orleans

“The Muddy Mississippi,” March 2012, New Orleans

Did you expect an up close and personal photo of an insect? Sorry to disappoint. 😀

I captured today’s nature photo at “The Fly” on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon just before the “official” beginning of spring–almost four years ago.

“The Fly,” formally known as “The Riverview,” is the waterfront part of Audubon Park in New Orleans, located behind the Audubon Zoo.  It’s a great place for small gatherings, hanging out, and casual walks.

I played with the photo a bit in PhotoShop and in various iPhone apps.

Here are some of my monochrome favorites:

Mississippi River

“The Muddy Mississippi in Black and White,” New Orleans, March 2012

Purple

“The Muddy Mississippi in Purple,” New Orleans, March 2012

The Fly Dark Sepia

“The Muddy Mississippi in Sepia,” New Orleans, March 2012

I love water and trees, so this nature scene was a given.

Interested in other photos I’ve shared for the nature photo challenge?  Click on the links below (or use the previous post button a few times):

Tune in tomorrow for Day 6’s post.

Ciao!

There’s Just Something About New Orleans: Vintage New Orleans Postcards

A few days ago, I received the latest vintage New Orleans postcard to add to my “vintage NOLA” collection.  I’ve received at least a dozen over the last couple of years via swap-bot swappers.

The linen postcards which follow measure approximately 3.5 x 5.5 inches. None of the postcards bear dates, so I can only judge the printing date by the postal instructions: “Place one cent stamp here.”  The cost to mail a postcard was one cent from 1898 to 1917, which means most of the postcards were printed during this period.

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

Like this one, each bears the line, “New Orleans–America’s Most Interesting City” on the back. Forgive my bias, but  I couldn’t agree more.

Courtyard, Little Theatre 616 St. Peter

Courtyard, Little Theatre, 616 St. Peter, New Orleans

From the postcard back: “Le Petit Theatre du Vieux-Carre” is considered one of the leading Little Theatres of the country.  It occupies the former home and courtyard of Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, the last Spanish Governor of Louisiana.  The courtyard is one of the most beautiful in the city.

Here’s another view of the Little Theatre Courtyard:

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans

Here’s one of the iron lacework so popular in the French Quarter:

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

From the postcard back: These delicate lacework patterns in wrong and cast iron, characteristic of the Vieux Carre give the quarter of New Orleans its atmosphere of old France and Old Spain.

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St.Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St. Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  Jackson Square, originally known as Place D’Armes is a monument to Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, whose funds built the St. Louis Cathedral in 1794, and Pontalba Apartments, flanking the Square.  The building to the left of the religious edifice is the Cabildo, best known monument to the age of Spanish domination, and storehouse of historic treasures.  The building on the right of the church is the Presbytere, housing the Natural Science Division of the Louisiana State Museum.  In the center of the square is the Jackson Monument unveiled in 1856. Jackson Square has been well-preserved and is under excellent care.

Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, Louisiana

Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pirate’s Alley extends for one block from Royal Street to Chartres Street. Through this alleyway pirates were taken to the Cabildo Jail.  It is also known as Old Orleans Alley and separates the Cabildo from Old St. Louis Cathedral.

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Old Absinthe House is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans’ internationally famous Vieux Carre and was the headquarters, during the latter part of the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries, of Jean Lafitte, the pirate-patriot of whose prowess and wrath volumes have been written.  Today, after the span of three centuries, it is still catering to connoisseurs and discriminating drinkers from every part of the world.

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Napoleon Bonaparte House, situated in the heart of New Orleans’s famous View Carre or French Quarter, is located at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets.  This building was erected with the idea of providing quarters of refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte after the bold plot in which the story says the noted LaFitte band of pirates was involved to kidnap him from exile in St. Helena and bring him to New Orleans.  The plot failed because Napoleon died before it could be executed.

March 2014 Incoming Mail-1-31

Fan Window in Governor Claiborne’s House, Toulouse Street, New Orleans

From the postcard back: In many of the old homes in the Vieux Carre, huge fan windows like this one, the finest n the city, na still be found.  Claiborne, the first American Governor of the territory of Orleans, was nominated on Friday, October 5, 1804.  In 1812 the territory of Orleans became the present state of Louisiana.

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, La.  Accommodating 1000 Guests.  A Dinkler Hotel. Carling Dinkler, Pres.

This postcard depicts the third St. Charles Hotel, built shortly after fire destroyed the second building in 1894.  The first building was also destroyed by fire–in1851.  See here for more information and images of the first two buildings.

Vintage New Orleans-5

Canal Street

From the postcard back: Canal Street, one of the widest, most beautiful, and best lighted streets in the world, is the center of all activities in New Orleans.

Azaeleas in Bloom.  City Park, New Orleans, La.

Azaeleas in Bloom, City Park of New Orleans

From the postcard back: One of the beautiful plantings of azaleas to be found in New Orleans. The city has recently completed a floral trail of over 25 miles in length, making thus one of the most colorful winter garden spots in the United States.

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Unloading Bananas, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  New Orleans is the world’s greatest banana port.  More than 700 ships arrive each year laded with 25,000 to 50,000 bunches of bananas.  Each individual bunch is carried from the hold of the ship tot he door of the refrigerator on mechanical conveyers.

These last few, though vintage, are a lot more recent than the smaller, brightly colored linen postcards above.

An updated image of Jackson Square:

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

And the Pontalba Apartments:

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pontalba Apartments.  Built in 1850, the two red brick structures on either side of Jackson Square are believed to be the first apartment buildings in the United States.

Vintage New Orleans-4

Bourbon and Bienville, New Orleans

From postcard back: Crossroads of the historic French Quarter.  The corner is also the home of the Absinthe House.  Photo by Don Ceppi.

Vintage New Orleans-3

This postcard features postcard images I remember purchasing many, many moons ago when I was working on a project for my Louisiana History class (in junior high school).  Featured on the postcard are: at The Superdome, Jackson Square, Bourbon and Bienveille, Cafe Du Monde, Bourbon and Bienville signs, The Dickson’s Place, Lace Balconies, Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, St. Charles Street Car, and Aft-Deck Oyster Bar.

Judging by the postcards, the things that made New Orleans dear to the hearts of individuals nearly a century ago are still drawing individuals to the city today.

If these postcards have piqued your interest, take some time to look into the history of these buildings and sites of New Orleans. You will be intrigued.  There’s just something about New Orleans…

I’m not going to lay down in words the lure of this place.  Every great writer in the land, from Faulker to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short.  It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and to try is to roll down a road of cliches, bouncing over beignets and needs and brass bands and it just is what it is–It is home.   –Chris Rose, One Dead in the Attic