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April 24, 2006

Travel Photography - Revisiting and Reflecting Upon a Time before Katrina

'Old Bicycle in Old New Orleans' © 2006 Lee Hobbs
Photograph: 'Old Bicycle in Old New Orleans' © 2006 Lee Hobbs

"It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he as seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans." - Mark Twain

Caption: Two years before the catastrophic floods of Hurricane Katrina brought the "Big Easy" to its knees, this antique bicycle stands testimony to the thriving business of the Old French Quarter (2003) . . .

Please peruse my other entries on the subject of Hurricane Katrina HERE and HERE (and one on Hurricane Ivan HERE).

Feel free to leave any thoughts, remarks or comments about either the photograph or the quotation below.

Best,

Lee

*To see other entries with samples of Lee Hobbs's travel photography, please visit the compilation available HERE.

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NOTE: In my photography projects, I presently use the following combinations of digital cameras: the FujiFilm FinePix S5000 3.1MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom, the LG VX9800 EV-DO Camera-Phone from Verizon Wireless, the Motorola Razr V3c from Verizon Wireless and - finally - the Intel Pocket PC Camera.

I also use Paint Shop Pro 8 from Jasc, Inc. on a Windows XP based-PC for digital re-touching and special effects.

Posted by lhobbs at April 24, 2006 09:11 PM

Readers' Comments:

Professor Hobbs,

Looking at this photo the first thing that comes to my mind is happiness. When I see one of these antique bicycles, I began to think of how people looked when they rode them. It seemed to me that they were always happy, and were never upset about anything. I would like to ride one of those bicycles one day, and if I like it enough, I would probably purchase it too. Looking at this photo I feel a sense of comfort and joy. The old photo of New Orleans is a classic, and reminds me of fun every time I see it.

I chose to reflect on this photo, because I always found these bicycles to be interesting. It was always unclear to me how they got on them though; but when they were on the bicycles it was as though they were at the top of the world. Being above everyone was not only physical, but it was also a mind state. Being high up, everything is visible, whereas being down low, vision is limited. No one wants to be on the bottom, because this is where it is most difficult. It is hard to live in times of shamble and destruction. The people of New Orleans are still coping with the destruction, and are being very strong in times where it is easy to break down. I remember being in New Orleans three years ago. Although it wasn’t Mardi Gras, the atmosphere was unique. I had never been in a place populated with so many people, and so much culture. I felt like I was in a new world, with new people. I loved it, and I wished I never had to leave. Looking at the photos after the hurricane was difficult. I could not picture a place that was so beautiful looking so ugly. New Orleans was so beautiful at one point in time, now it looks like a deserted ghost town. The bicycle takes me back to the times when New Orleans was beautiful again.

This bicycle has a lot of meaning along with it. When I look at it, I just remember how great New Orleans once was. It was terrible that the hurricane had to rip through the city so quickly and take everything. The bicycle symbolizes good and happiness, and should remind us to be grateful for what we have, because it can be taken at any moment.

Kashiff M.

Posted by: Kashiff M. at April 26, 2006 12:36 AM

When I look at the photograph I feel a sense of sadness. Especially with the quote from Mark Twian above the picture. Ever since Hurricane Katrina New Orleans had not been the same. Many people who are natives from the area have had to deal with painful deaths and emotional ups and downs with losing their personal belongings that showed memories. The photograph shows the old side to New Orleans on how it used to be before Mardi Gras and before the damaging Hurricane Katrina. The photograph gives a feeling of no worries and no tragedy. But reading and analyzing mark Twian’s quote of how an American has not experienced being a true American until they have experienced Mardi Gras is very true. Even though I have not been to Mardi Gras yet that had always been on of my life plans. I also think that every American should experience and celebrate Mardi Gras. Its been a tradition for quite a long time now and one of the biggest parties of the year. But since the hurricane, it has left some damage to the area causing their to be a damper on the celebration. But, it is to be expected after such a horrible natural disaster. The photograph also gives off the feeling of how things used to be and how the area was a happy environment fill with every emotion but sadness and heartbreak.

Posted by: Liz L. at April 26, 2006 02:59 AM

Professor Hobbs,

The photograph “Old Bicycle in Old New Orleans” shows a sense of nostalgia. Although the bike is placed in Old New Orleans, the area has changed with the times and has adapted to 21st century life. Unlike the city, the bike has not changed and upgraded as time has passed. It represents times of old and will remain that way as long as the bike exists. Nearly everyone that passes the bike will notice it since it is so out of place among the cars that have lined up across the street. It could cause people to think about the past and what existed before all of the modern technology came into play.

Ali L.

Posted by: Ali L. at April 27, 2006 11:39 AM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and Burbon Street were one of the hit places to be. Every year for Mardis Gras the streets would be so packed with partiers just enjoying the atmosphere of the festival. For that one night it seemed that nothing mattered and everyone just let it all go and had a good time. I know I couldn't wait till I was old enough to participate, so hopefully when the city heals, they will go back to the crazy, friendly, and all around fun place we all know and love.

Brendan

Posted by: Brendan at April 27, 2006 03:18 PM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

This picture is what I like to call a classic. The look the object in the picture and relevant to the quote of New Orleans being a classic. When Mark Twain was talking about seeing Mardi Gras in New Orleans he was talking about the classic fun that Americans can have in a place, since the states became one.

The new New Orleans and a new bike would bring abrout about a different feeling and have a different affect than the old. Today in the 21st century we have been taken away from thigns such as this in the picture and maybe because most are yet to see New Orleans and Mardi Gras, arent't truly Americans
I can imagine the people who rode on those bikes back in the day and the fun they doing it. as well as the people that enjoyed to watch them ride when they fell. Either way the common theme in the picture is fun. I think the people of New Orleans were some of the few that could have genuine fun with their peoeple and invite others to that and it festivous in a sense that you would never forget.

Posted by: P.Beckles at April 28, 2006 12:34 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Looking at Mark Twain’s quote the first thing that comes to mind is why he wrote this quote. Every time I see quotes or photos, I question myself. Why did the person say what he or she did? What was his he or she trying to persuade the audience to think? Did the events going on then have any relevance to the quote? As all of these things cross my mind, I then begin to reflect on it.

When I read Mark Twain’s quote the first thing that came to my mind was my experience in New Orleans. I was too young to do any of the adult things like drink and go to bars, but it was an experience like no other. I never saw so many people in one place. I have been to many places over the country and none of them compared to New Orleans. That is probably the main reason Twain said, “…an American has not seen the United States until he as seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.” New Orleans was and still is a special place in America. Every person should have had the opportunity to see New Orleans and Mardi-Gras before the hurricane hit. I also believe that it should still be visited even after the catastrophe. We need to acknowledge the devastation and appreciate the landmark.

Posted by: Kashiff M. at May 1, 2006 12:40 AM

Dear Prof. Hobbs,

The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this picture is "reflection" or "nostalgia". I feel transported into something that is bigger than me. I feel thrusted into a time period and reality that I have never even seen. I don't do anything there but observe as so not to disturb the natural order of things. I just watch as people carry out their daily functions. Some driving in their fancy Model-T's, some walking, others riding this fancy (not to sturdy looking) bicylcle. It brings a sort of mature, rich, wealthy essence to mind. A higher life so to speak. Where conversation was more than just about the daily happenings at the local grocery mart, but about industrialism. That's what I think of when I see this picture.

Posted by: Holden B. Jones at May 7, 2006 04:02 AM

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