December 11, 2008 New Orleans, Louisiana. I woke up around 7am, looked at my phone to see what time it was and noticed I had about 15 messages and even more missed calls. My immediate thought was “oh no, somebody got hurt or something” so when I went to check I was relieved to hear excitement. “Dude! It’s snowing!!!” What? In New Orleans?? I jumped up and looked out the window, SNOW IN NEW ORLEANS! Let me explain why this was a big deal – The only other years it snowed, and actually accumulated on the ground in my lifetime, in NOLA were 1985, 1989 and 2004 and those only lasted a few hours. So first thing I thought was ok, cool, I live in the French Quarter, this does not happen here, big opportunity to photograph my city in a way its never been done before. I Got dressed and grabbed my Canon DSLR, but, as Murphy’s Law would have it the battery was almost dead. No way I could sit around and wait for it to charge up, all this sky magic could come to a halt any minute. iPhones been on the charger all night, whatever it’ll have to work. I walked outside and saw tons of people taking pictures, cars were sliding around, and miniature snowmen were everywhere. It was so crazy seeing the city like this, it was surreal.
My first thought was to head over to Jackson Square and get a shot of St. Louis Cathedral, while snapping a few shots here and there on the way. I get Just inside Jackson Square and grabbed a quick shot of the Decater street entrance. Normally this place would be full of tourists with a lined up row of horses and carriages blocking my view of the other side of the road, where the steps were going up the levee. Really cool break dance show here on the weekends, if you’re ever in the area. But the snow was already melting, I figured I only had about 30 more minutes at the most so I needed to keep moving.
Once I turned around I noticed people were everywhere with expensive cameras, lenses and tripods, here I am with an iPhone, so I knew I’d have to get close and probably in the way of everyone’s shots. But I couldn't leave without getting a few pics of the cathedral that I walked all the way down here for.
I tried to avoid all the herds of photographers and stay out of the “pros” way. I snapped a couple more photos and moved on. Didn’t really know where I was going, I was just excited like a little kid in a toy store, not knowing what isle to hit up next. But with very limited time I had to be selective.
I’m thinking a bar scene from across a street looking into the doorway, people sitting on stools at the bar, snow falling in between me and them might be cool. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem at 8am in New Orleans but it’s freakin’ freezing outside! We’re southern, we’re not used to this so people stay home. So I just start wandering around the quarter looking for old buildings to snap a few shots of, trying not to slip on the icy roads. ( I slipped a few times, haha ). I headed over to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar on the corner of Bourbon street and St. Phillip. This place I knew would look nice considering it was built sometime between 1722 – 1732. Plus knowing its colorful past, I thought it might make a one of a kind photo… If only I had that dSLR, but it’s cool, I got my iPhone right? A brief history about this place – It was once owned by the pirate Jean Lafitte ( hence the name ) and is the oldest bar in the United States. It was used by Lafitte as a kind of headquarters for his smuggling operations in the late 1700′s amongst many other shady things with other privateers. I took about 20 shots of this place, hoping at least one of them would be usable… And one was. The snow started picking back up and once I saw the guy in the black hoody walking up I went into street photographer mode, waited until he passed. Click. Perfect.
Easily my favorite shot from that day. I wandered around a few more places, slipping a few more times, but after about two hours of walking around the snow has almost stopped and it started raining. It was about to get real nasty here, and I had a new puppy at home I knew I was going to have to “clean up” after. So I headed home. But not after catching this one last shot in front of my house on the median on Esplanade ave. The snow was almost all gone, everything was muddy and cold, but this cat was determined to get his snowman on.
Looking back on it now, I’m kinda glad that Canon battery was dead because I got to just enjoy it and take it in instead of worry about setting up and getting that perfect shot. One of the better things about certain kinds of photography I think, just go and do it. Don’t worry about tripods, lights, lenses and all that jazz. Just reach in your pocket, grab your phone and make it happen. Worry about the result later. Like I did here, I took these at the end of 2008 and am just now editing them, within the past year or so.
This to me was more about showing y'all the rare photos and less about the story behind them. I mean, how much can you really talk about that happened within an hour and a half? The rare photos I was able to capture only because of my iPhone, and that to me is what being a photographer is all about.