photo of the week

Time Heals All

Just by looking at this couple enjoying the outdoor merriment of the 26th New Orleans French Quarter Fest in April, 2006, you would not guess that nine months earlier this same real estate was being hammered by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans

Sunday, November 15, 2015
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author's Note:

Nine months after the ill-tempered, calamitous Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans, my friends Dick Warriner, the late Dick DeWoody, and yours truly attended and volunteered as ‘booth-boys’ in the Annual French Quarter fest in a repeat performance of a long-standing annual road trip.  Though not quite as big as it was before, the festival went-off just fine.

At the time, there were still a few shuttered businesses in the French Quarter.  Most notable of those to me was the bistro at the corner of St. Anne’s and Chartres, where one could grab quick cappuccino without having to go inside.  But the venerable Café Du Monde at Decatur and St. Annes was up and running without a hitch, so all was not lost.

One our way out of town, we took a swing through the lower Ninth Ward, where evidence of Katrina’s carnage was still very much evident.  Lest we forget, I am taking us back to that weekend in 2006.  The pictures we shot in the area were not posted anywhere else.

Joe Dempsey

let's make some music

Making Good Music

While the bulk of activities in the French Quarter fest are organized and orchestrated, the typical New Orleans tradition also allows that street vendors and performers are welcome participants.  These performers were making good music.  After I salted their bucket and engaged them in a bit of conversation, I discovered that like me, they hailed from Arkansas.  I failed to take note of their hometown, but I do remember that it was far north of my Delta home stomping grounds.

Alive and Well at Decatur and St. Annes

First Published on Sunday, December 1, 2013
Pine Buff, Arkansas

My good friends Dick Warriner and the late Dick DeWoody, along with yours truly, used to be regular attendees and volunteers at the French Quarter Fest in New Orleans.  In the aftermath of Katrina’s disastrous visit to New Orleans, we engaged in lively discussions regarding the future of the event and what our road trip alternatives might be if the event was disbanded.

Turns out, any calamitous fears we nurtured we not to be.  The city, and the event organizers rebounded nicely.  The event was on for 2006 and well attended.  Not all French Quarter attractions and businesses had reopened by then, but the majority were in business at the same old stand including, thank goodness, the Café Du Monde at Decatur and St. Annes.  New Orleans is now, alive, well, and accepting visits thank you very much.

Lower Ninth Ward

The lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans suffered flooding in the 10-feet-deep range, well over ceiling high for most residences, after the infamous levee break initiated by Katrina’s storm surge.  As we departed New Orleans after our French Quarter Fest attendance, we drove through the Ninth Ward.  News accounts of the devastation were not exaggerations.  Katrina struck New Orleans on August 29, 2005.  I shot these pictures on April 21, 2006. The pictures speak for themselves.

destruction and blue sky yellow house raised up with overturned car close up destruction torn up
River Traffic

There was active Mississippi River traffic in April 2006.  It was not nearly as robust as we remembered from earlier visits.  By 2007 traffic had rebounded.  By 2008, from our observations, traffic was as if Katrina never happened.


Business as Usual

The towboat Captain Hagen is pursuing business as usual on the Mississippi River off Woldenburg Park in New Orleans during the April 2008 French Quarter Fest.

The ninth ward pictures displayed here have never been seen publicly before.  They are not pretty, but they are real.

Photo Notes

Nikon D200, ISO 200, hand-held, all; Couple, Nikkor 70-300 f4.0-5.6, 1/320 @ f4.8; Musicians, same lens, 1/400 @ f5.0; Same lens for Ninth Ward pictures. Number 1, 1/320 @ f9; Number 2, ditto; Number 3, ditto; Number 4, 1/250 @ f8


see more
See mo’ N.O. at
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,
including a camel at Audubon Park Zoo,
a woman and dog at a concert
and three more never-published-before
Ninth Ward pictures.  Click and go, and enjoy this low-cal, cholesterol free, no sugar added, non-threatening treatise.

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