It’s a place that I’ve always heard people talk about visiting, but I’ve never made it a priority to do so. Partially because of the stifling heat and partially because of other people’s accounts of seeing “someone not able to handle their liquor on Bourbon Street.” Added to that were the terrible images that saturated the newscast after the disaster that was Katrina. I never gave the state a fair chance, and I’m here to make things right. Not because I’m sorry; I’m entitled to my own opinions afterall. Instead, it’s because Louisiana is truly a special place. It’s not often that you find a place that has such an incredibly rich culture and such beautiful spaces.
“Sportsmans paradise”, the state motto emblazoned on license plates, is absolutely the truth. The wealth of wildlife in this state is incredible. I can’t recall seeing a place so rich in so many different species of birds (of all sizes colors and varieties!). The state even has it’s own subspecies of black bear, which I didn’t happen to see. Additionally, the wetlands in this state are a true national treasure. Spanish moss draped oaks, cypresses, and tupelos line the waterways creating a natural “cathedral”. What the area may lack in hills/mountains, it more than makes up for in beautiful trees and plants. The area has it’s own iris that adorns the banks of many bayous. -If you have a camera, find someone with a boat – you will be impressed!
Louisianans are proud people in part due to their incredibly rich culture. Many people came from incredibly difficult situations with very few materials possessions and made a living for themselves. The state is incredibly prosperous due to its vast energy resources, productive agriculture, and strategic trading location at the mouth of the Mississippi. The state’s vast pride and wealth shines through in it’s numerous structures.
Speaking of structures, it’s impossible to ignore the area’s numerous churches and cemeteries. Some of the prettiest churches that I’ve seen anywhere are housed here, having been built years ago. The strong faith of the locals is visible to this day…we arrived in Lafayette the day before their new bishop was to be installed. There were local TV news crews and enough flowers to fill a small floral distribution center.
In addition to having a strong culture, the people are truly a kind and sociable people. One of the best experiences that I enjoyed while here was shooting alongside a very talented local photographer, Andy Crawford. Two months before visiting Louisiana, I contracted Andy to ask him where I could find some places to shoot some local wetlands. To my surprise, Andy was so happy to help that he volunteered to take a day off of work and take me in his truck/boat all over Southern LA. I was able to experience several areas through the eyes of a local, who shared the same passion for creating great images as me. In addition to picking up new photography skills, I picked up a new friend…That’s something that doesn’t happen everyday and a better takeaway than the great images that I created.