Author: John R. Kemp

1891

  New Orleans has known riots over its 303-year history, but none like the one that took place in March 1891 when the brutal mob seen in this photograph rushed the Orleans Parish Prison and lynched almost a dozen Sicilian…

1871

  Few events have equaled the heartbreak created by the great floods that have swept over New Orleans since the 18th century.  Among the greatest of these was the flood of 1871 when the rising river broke through the levees…

1908

  Back in the hay day of train travel, Southern Railroad’s New Orleans Terminal, seen in this circa 1908 photograph, loomed over Canal and Basin streets at the doorway of the city’s infamous red-light district, Storyville. It was designed by…

1890

  Pictured in this circa 1890 photograph is a splendid view of horse-drawn streetcars turning into St. Charles from Canal Street to begin its six-plus-mile journey through the city’s uptown neighborhoods to Carrollton. For almost 200 years, streetcars were the…

1897

Most New Orleanians are familiar with the Old Mint, that hulking Greek Revival building that sits at the foot of Esplanade Avenue at the river, but few know of its long and colorful history. Seen in this 1897 photograph, a…

Art: Tragic Beauty

→ For more information, visit jsdart.com   New Orleans photographer, writer and freelance journalist Julie Dermansky is on a worldwide journey and mission to capture images of social…

1867

Seen here in this 1867 stereopticon slide made by New Orleans photographer Theodore Lilienthal is the luxurious old St. Charles Hotel that once dominated the entire 200 block of St. Charles Street (now Avenue). At the time, it ranked among…

Vulnerable Landscape

  The 18th century German poet Goethe is said to have quipped, “music is liquid architecture” and “architecture is frozen music.” To South Louisiana architect and landscape artist Claude Ellender, painting is music on canvas. Born in New Orleans…

Art: The Big Picture

  Artist Christiane Drieling is on an artistic and life-searching journey that has taken her from the dark childhood fairytales of her native Northwest Germany to North Louisiana and the social and spiritual issues facing Americans and the world…

1905

Photo by John N. Teunisson. Courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum On October 26, 1905, thousands of New Orleanians turned out to cheer President Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to New Orleans in the waning days of the city’s last yellow fever…

Shades of Gray

  Life in Louisiana’s Acadian parishes is colorful, yet, the internationally acclaimed Lafayette photographer Lucius Fontenot is an artist who sees timeless spiritual rhythms and beauty in the gray shadows of Louisiana’s Cajun culture. “I love how unique, beautiful, strange,…

1893

From 1872 to 1900, the Rex organization – as did the Mystic Krewe of Comus for a short time years earlier – carried on the ancient French tradition of featuring a live Boeuf Gras, or fatted ox, in its annual…

Vintage: 1905

Picture postcards of the French Market have been popular with visitors to New Orleans since the 1890s. This image of five young boys in a mule cart was just one of many taken in the French Market by an unnamed…

Beading Rhythms

New Orleans is a gumbo of people of all different nationalities and races and all those people show a lot of love to each other,” says artist and Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Demond Melancon. “I’m part of that gumbo.”…

L'art: Family of Man

Over the last four decades, the acclaimed Lafayette photographer Philip Gould has traveled the cultural and spiritual byways of South Louisiana with his camera and imagination in search for what the Swiss-born American photographer Robert Frank described as “the humanity…

Vintage: 1952

“Jingle, Jangle, Jingle, here comes Mr. Bingle.” Every New Orleanian over 40 knows the little ditty that conjures up glorious childhood memories of Christmas on Canal Street where department stores raised Christmas decorations to an art form. For decades at…

Art Al Fresco

Are you tired of staying home watching the news? Do you need something uplifting? Try art. While COVID-19 has disrupted the schedules of art galleries and museums, Louisiana has…

Vintage: 1913

“Two of the very youngest newsboys I could find in New Orleans. Seven and nine years old. Such little fellows are rare, Nov. 1913. Lewis Hine.” So read the caption that accompanied this image taken by the famed Wisconsin-born photographer…

Prayerful Painting

The Bible tells us the prayer “of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Now witness “soulful impressions” and prayerful paintings by St. Martinville artist Dennis Paul Williams, a righteous man. The Louisiana music world knows Williams as the guitarist…

1918

Singing the popular World War I ballads “Over There” and “Mademoiselle from Armentières,” thousands of American soldiers and sailors passed through New Orleans on their way to Europe to fight in the Great World War to “end all wars.” Here,…

Nature’s Exquisite Song

The celebrated 19th-century American artist James McNeill Whistler once wrote that nature “sings her exquisite song to the artist alone.” Many Louisiana landscape painters believe Whistler’s “exquisite song” is heard best by artists who paint outdoors in the natural landscape.…

Organized Chaos

John Muir, the famed Scottish-American naturalist and “Father of the National Parks,” once wrote that only in the wilderness could he find his soul. Like Muir, artist Bill Iles turns to the swamps and forests of Southwest Louisiana as a…

Art: Chaos and Order

Randell Henry of Baton Rouge is a remarkable artist who creates vibrant and often cryptic paintings and collages that reflect an imagination and intellect drawn to the rhythms and cultures of Africa and the African-American experience. …

Art: Holding On

Louisiana photographer Cate Colvin Sampson, inspired by the writings of Southern novelist Flannery O’Connor, joins a growing chorus of artists and photographers raising warnings about South Louisiana’s endangered wetlands and a way of life for the people who have lived…

Art: Spiritually Connected

Shreveport photographer Ann George is an artist, a storyteller and a playwright — not in the conventional sense of writing narratives and dialogue, but in composing staged photographic images that appear as still but quiet moments in a story or…

Art: Evangeline Revisited

“Lovely the moonlight was as it glanced and gleamed on the water, Gleamed on the columns of cypress and cedar sustaining the arches, Down through whose broken vaults it fell as through chinks in a ruin. Dreamlike, and indistinct, and…

Art: Garden of Memories

On an unlikely spot in an older section of Hammond, Louisiana, sits one man’s tribute to the African-American experience. Dr. Charles Smith’s African-American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive is unlike any other museum. It is a personal and spiritual…

The View from Above

Louisianians have heard the alarming reports. Rising sea-levels, saltwater intrusion, land subsidence, canal dredging, hurricanes, invasive animal species and man-made levees are destroying Louisiana’s coastal wetlands at a rate of up to 35 square miles a year, an average of…

Artist: Louisiana Monsters

The South Louisiana landscape is filled with mythical symbols of the people and cultures that have struggled to survive in an increasingly industrial world that has swept across the state over the last century. Baton Rouge artist Jonathan Mayers, alias…

Louisianians of the Year

Each year, we comb the state in search of Louisianians who are doing great things at home and, potentially, around the country or even the world. We look for individuals who stand out in their professions, give back and represent…