Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Beats! First edition: Dana Abbott Band

Welcome to my first edition of Thursday Beats! Let me take a poll. When you think of New Orleans, what comes to mind? Yeah, yeah food. Besides that. Okay, and besides having to work off the weight after eating your way through New Orleans. My recent tourist friends know what I'm talking about. We get amnesia or something down here when it comes to eating. You stop at one place and stuff your face. Leave that place, promising to never eat again. But the moment you walk out of the doors, you start looking for somewhere to eat! I know. Sidetracked here with food. Look, I had a Lean Cuisine for dinner, but I was also making 60 plus brownies for my kids' parties at school. My mind can't focus when there are brownies around that I can't eat.

Let me take a moment and refocus.

Another thing associated with New Orleans is the absolutely amazing time people have in the city. That credit should be given to those who are not just talented, but more like gifted with a perfect marriage of vocals, performance and instrumental abilities. And we can go see them any night of the week that we want! They are playing their hearts out, doing what they love. Are you fortunate enough to be able to do what you love?

For my first artist, let me introduce you to the Dana Abbott Band! These photos were taken at her performance at Tipitina's. However, you are more likely to find her at the Balcony Music Club (1331 Decatur Street, 70116) in the Marigny. Catch her Fridays from 9-11:30. She has this amazing soulful voice that makes you want to hear more. And she's backed by a band that makes for a perfect marinade of sounds. You won't be able to sit still when this band takes over (perfect enough to dance off all that eatin'). Click the links below to follow. ReverbNation lets you hear some her tunes (my personal favorite is "What it is", and my husband can't get enough of "Hey Pocky A-way").

Let me break it down for you. You are willing to get dressed and head out to an over-priced movie, paying for over-priced snacks and drinks. You'll even remark at how ridiculous it is. Then, the movie is lackluster, but then the money is already wasted. Instead, why not change your usual of a boring night in or an over-priced night to the movies. Go on and head out to where you can have a night sure to be one of your best ever. Get out and support New Orleans!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For Those Who Serve

What do you get with me, a beautiful day and a camera in my hand? An awesome birthday celebration with a super excited me, that's what! In the morning, I took photos of my beautiful girls (posted at an earlier date). Then, my husband and I spent the afternoon photographing different parts of where his unit is stationed- Jackson Barracks. 

The area to build Jackson Barracks was bought in 1833, where four forts were built in 1815 to protect against seaborne invasions. The site was originally named the New Orleans Barracks, but in 1866 it was renamed Jackson Barracks for Andrew Jackson.

The area is beautiful. Of course, I think any area with deconstructed buildings are beautiful, so am I the best judge? I wanted to capture some of the buildings before they were either torn down or reconstructed. The first three photos are of a few buildings. My favorite set start with number 4, so scroll down! I'm so excited...

This wall (shown in the next two photos) served to protect the old armory building (the plaque in the third photo explains its history). Soldiers had a tradition of etching into this brick gate. Up close photos are shown below with names and dates. My husband and I were astounded to find dates in the early 40s...But check the last two photos with dates even earlier that I found...

 See the 1879 in the middle??
Isn't that awesome?? I tried to find information on this Z.T. Friend from 1867, but my detective skills for people are not sharp.

I hope that you're having a great week! Ready for Thanksgiving? Do not fret! I hope that you look forward to time with family (and off of work/school!).

Check back tomorrow for a new segment I am starting, called Thursday Beats. It'll be a time when I post about an awesome musician/band and link you up to them! You never need to feel stuck or bored on a weekend in this city. Go out and support!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful for...

With so much focus already on Christmas, did you even know that Thanksgiving was happening so soon? I might be one of the few people in the U.S. who truly enjoy and look forward to being with family for Thanksgiving. It's always crazy and exhausting, but I treasure it as well. We goof off a LOT and are VERY competitive, with our games of choice being Phase 10 and that runaway train game (in English, we call it Mexican Train game, but my sweet cousin cannot remember the name). We form most of our catch phrases during this time (wow- I didn't know the iphone was so square), and I end up with some pretty great photobooks to show off our memories.

This year we celebrated a little early for two reason: 1. so that my amazing, smart, wonderful, and beautiful sister could be with all of us;  and 2. to have a major surprise party for my amazing, smart, wonderful, beautiful and wise mom! 

So, on Saturday (I'm so proud of myself for getting the photos together the very next day. unheard of in my life right now!), we journeyed to the French Quarter. Not an easy task for 11 people when the FQ is crowded as much as Disney World is on Christmas. So, here are my favorite moments from a trip to the Quarter. 

 Defeated, but not sad. They wanted to get beignets, but the line was around the building.

 Where else can you walk around the streets and get to have amazing live performances like in New Orleans? This city moves to the rhythm of its musicians.

 Lunch was at one of my favorite places in the Quarter- Oceana's. Everything has so much rich flavor with the perfect amount of spices. We sat in the courtyard, which was perfect so that we could be loud. Also, so that the kids could run off a little energy. Everything I've tried at this restaurant has been perfect- from the crawfish pies to st. james crepe to shrimp po-boys to salads.

 Me and some crazy guy. I don't know how he keeps showing up in my photos. LOL

 My sweet Iz! I want chairs like these so badly. I had a blast using them as a photo prop (see below)!
 Iz and MB (pronounced: MmmmBah)
 I cannot wait for these to cuties to be grown up and talking about these special memories!
I hope y'all are thankful for family this year!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

She's a Brick..House....I promise I'll stop singing

Before now, I didn't think I would ever include this photo. Or if I did, I'd hide it in the series (wait til you see what's coming! I'm sitting on pins and needles.) of my next abandoned place. However, I changed my mind. I'm a woman. I'm prone to do that.

So, here's a tip for my budding and experienced photographers. When you're hunting out a place, check for anything that has names (in this case, a brick that doesn't match its surroundings) or dates. If you record street names, Google maps can even be a powerful source for naming old landmarks. I love uncovering a good mystery, especially since it has paid off well in my adventures.

So, I looked up Acme Standard, which is a brick company founded in 1852. The name Perla confused me, but thankfully their website gave a great line of the company's history. In 1943, an Acme plant was in a town called Perla. The plant in Perla was one of few that employed German POWs (oh my word, what people would say about that these days...).
Acme Standard has experienced great success, except for two periods of its existence: the Great Depression and the current economy (I'd insert my point of view here, but you can make the connection for yourself). Found:
Have a great week! And have a better weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take a Long Look

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.
Arnold Newman

Meet my Jumanji house (seriously, doesn’t it remind you of that Robin Williams movie?). It’s taken over by vines as thick as my arms. At first glance, you might wonder why it’s my favorite (I know, because I’ve been asked many times why I love decayed buildings.). But take a second, longer look. It’s not your typical beauty. It stays hidden. Its potential is amazing. It sits in wait for the day it will be restored and loved.
I love finding the diamonds in the rough. It’s an exciting challenge for me. And when I create something like this that I am so excited about, I’m sharing a piece of myself. And I’m grateful for those who have seen that I have potential and have encouraged me, even in my weirdness. You mean the world to me.

And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.
Richard Avedon

City Park, pre-makeover

A special get away from the city is tucked away into City Park. It is home to the amazing New Orleans Museum of Art, Storyland, Celebration in the Oaks (formerly known as Christmas in the Oaks), stables, and much much more. City Park is an invaluable part of us. Hurricane Katrina raked so much damage all throughout, but volunteers worked hard to piece this place back to being better than it was before. Now, I get to take my children there to generate beautiful family moments. One day, I hope to enjoy it with my grandchildren, and I can show them where their parents use to play.

These photos were taken at the old community center, which is (well, obviously) destroyed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Journey

I was going to start this post by saying how October is almost coming to a close. That would've been embarrassing. Ever been so sure of yourself to find out you are so wrong? I'm a frequent visitor in that arena. Instead I will begin...November has started and is moving quickly! 

I am so thankful this year is coming to a close. But, it leaves me to wonder the changes that will take place next year. Will it be worse than this year?
My husband came home from his second tour to Iraq last Christmas. We had so many hopes for this year. We had so many plans. We were excited to be together as a family again. But we were not prepared for how much pain and exhaustion would come as we rang in the new year with beautiful fireworks. And we kept telling ourself that if we just waited a little longer, then we'll be okay. Unfortunately, it still hasn't happened by the 11th month. Maybe just another month. But as much as we have wanted to give up at times, we keep pushing harder and giving more. And it's hard for me to be open enough to share that we've struggled. I thought we left our struggles last year in Iraq. I'm trying a new thing about being a little less guarded and a little more open (my heart beats like crazy just sharing this much with anyone). But rejection has taken on many forms and has pushed me down a lot. I'm learning not to be a quitter but a fighter. I'm learning how God is way bigger than our circumstances. I'm learning that there is hope in abundance with Him when there is nothing in this world.

And that brings me to this piece. I've worked and reworked it for months, but this is the final product. This is my journey. It's about pulling the beauty from the dirt and the grit. It's about how this journey has dark and stormy days, but there is also Light in the path. 

I hope that this wasn't too heavy. I promise to add some lighter stuff soon!
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