Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Introduction to the book

El Nuevo: A Changing New Orleans, represents a seemingly small population that has been making an immense impact on the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In the aftermath of the storm, the entire ethnic and racial composition of New Orleans changed drastically due to the mass displacement of individuals from the city. Today, New Orleans continues to change as individuals make their way back to their homes, while new residents arrive to take advantage of the opportunities that the area can provide. The Hispanic population increased greatly as new individuals arrived to rebuild businesses and homes destroyed by Katrina. It is estimated that the Hispanic population in New Orleans has reached 150,000, which is double the amount of Hispanics in the city before the storm. According to information provided by the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, even when construction work becomes more difficult to find for the migrant workers in the New Orleans area, it is likely that they will remain in the city.1

Hispanics became an integral part of the reconstruction in New Orleans. They represented nearly half of the reconstruction workers in the city, helping to make 86.9 percent of households functional by early 2008.1 Yet almost four years later recovery is still slow, and resources are still very limited for many areas of New Orleans, posing challenges for all residents. Hispanics must overcome even more unique obstacles, including limited English proficiency and a lack of cultural familiarity, making survival even more difficult in the vulnerable city1.

Organizations as well as private businesses throughout the city have stepped up to try and provide the resources necessary for the Hispanic population to assimilate into the New Orleans community. I set out to photograph these types of businesses that cater to the Hispanic population, such as taquerias, restaurants, barbershops, music stores, and grocery stores, as well as other elements of the Hispanic culture that were evident in the city. In doing so, I have never before come into contact with so many individuals that were willing to assist me in my ventures. I recognize that this work is just a glimpse into this culture; there is much more to be said about them and their impact on the city.

It is through the efforts of its natives working hand in hand with its new residents that New Orleans continues to evolve, making the complicated city even more diverse.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 9

This was the final day in New Orleans. I am not quite sure where we went for the morning shoot but I believe it was Algiers. Later that morning, Amanda and I went to get a couple of souvenirs. I was then able to go to Kenner, which was the location of the oldest Hispanic grocery store in the area. The director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Darlene Kattan, was so wonderful in giving me information as to which areas would be good to photograph. After I photographed the grocery store, we went back to the hotel to finish getting packed. Amanda and I went out again to get a couple of more souvenirs and to get a bite to eat. The remaining hour was spent in the hotel lobby as a group talking and relaxing. We were off to the airport for a short flight back to Minneapolis. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 8

We went back to Mid City Monday morning and I followed Amanda around once again with the G9. I spent most of the rest of the day revisiting as many places that I could to fill in any gaps from my other shoots. I got some portraits and an amazing quesadilla! I almost forgot that I saw my first real alligator earlier that day thanks to Nick's lookout. It kept its head above the water just long enough for me to get a video and a couple pictures of it. I cannot quite remember why, but we ventured out to Versailles that night and I was able to photograph the "Latinos American Barber Shop"--I could not believe that I had been in that area so many times and never saw the barber shop there. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 7

I am pretty sure Sunday morning was spent in Lower Mid City following Amanda with the G9, and photographing businesses in Mid City. I didn't get that many usable pictures because it was so early and the businesses were not open. Later that night, I went into Musica Latina (a music store) and photographed the interior of the store. We also drove by a soccer game and decided to stop to photograph it. I was extremely nervous to go up to people and photograph them but I am so glad that I was pushed to approach them anyway. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 6

I have waited way too long to post about the remaining days of the trip because I have forgotten almost everything that I did. I will do my best to recall as many things about the last couple of days as I can. I went along with Peter and Colleen to Versailles where Peter photographed the outdoor market. I hung around there for a little bit and then ventured over to a taqueria that I had visited previously. We then went to another taqueria that I hadn't been to before. I was able to photograph for a while but we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for the Gulf of Mexico. I was so excited for the Gulf because I had never experienced salt water before. I enjoyed it a little bit too much because I left with the most painful burn I have ever experienced. Later that night, a couple of us went on a shoot where I was able to photograph a Hispanic grocery store. I did not go in, but I photographed an adorable girl with her bicycle outside of the store. It was a long, but fulfilling day!

Day 5

I have not blogged in a couple of days so I will do my best to remember all of the activities. Friday morning, we went on a sunrise shoot at Lake Ponchartrain where I encountered a chronic case of lens fogging that did not subside until several minutes after we got there. I did continue to take photographs through the fogged lens and actually found that they look pretty interesting; they are posted below.

After lunch, we went to Algiers in search of a Vietnamese garden that we never found BUT we spotted a taqueria that I was able to photograph. Thank you Peter and Amanda for being patient while I photographed! Here are a couple of photographs of that taqueria.

After dinner, Colleen, Amanda, and I took some sunset shots. You cannot call the sky by the way, in case anyone attempts to try. We picked up Peter, then Micah and Nick (I was the camera woman and got tons of footage of picking them all up). That is all for now--I will continue catching up later but my bed is calling for me. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just For Fun

Here are some pictures that I have taken in my spare time when I am not working on my essay. I have enjoyed any chance I can get to photograph and I really wanted to make sure that I took "tourist" photographs of New Orleans and my experiences not related to my project.

Here is the giant pile of red ants we encountered during our morning shoot.

I fell in love with this poster and took tons of photographs of it!