Oak Alley is down the road from Laura Plantation in Vacherie. The levees are right across from the plantation, right on the Mississippi River. The area is steeped in such amazing history, both good and bad, I love the live oaks in Vacherie, they are romantic in the lazy way they drape and the colors on River Road are so rich,and fertile. I did not know what to expect with all that has gone on there environmentally. The grass and trees are the color of lime sherbet. You may wonder why I photographed Louisiana in black and white or sepia instead of color, I like to see beyond the color so that I could notice the details. I wanted to find a way to show how I first fell in love with this place, from the early photography books in my Father’s library that were in black and white, some from photographer Clarence John Laughlin’s Louisiana, who sought to preserve, in his own way, the architectural history of Louisiana. He has been my major influence and I flet inspired to to go there and record what I could.

I hope this blog has given you a glimpse of how magical and charming Louisiana is. I haven’t even begin to cover all there is to tell you about this place, but I have found my point of view in this discovery, and it is interesting to see how one little thing leads you to completely different direction. I have a crush on Louisiana,; it is a special place and although this blog was a project for a Public History Program, I will be continuing the project, I will be returning there in the near future for more photographs and more conversations with people there.

I actually planned to do the Louisiana photography tour thirty years ago when I got my first 35mm. camera, but life took me elsewhere until last year. Going back down to New Orleans this time took me back full circle, where I started, like a bookmark. I have always had a desire to record Southern Culture,to grab hold of it one more time before it disappears and became like everything else, homogenized. Just looking at what happened when the tornado destroyed Toscaloosa, Alabama, makes me feel the urgency as I did after Hurricane Katrina.

Clarence John Laughlin in the 1940’s would often refer to places that caught on fire or would have some disaster and be lost to us forever, leaving only the ruins to remember it by. My clock is ticking…….

photograph by Susan Grissom

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