The first stop was Alvagraphics. The work on the south wall is still in progress. I generally try to find shots within the work but decided today to step back and document a couple.
Then we drove over to Washington Avenue. Four years ago my first portfolio at NWHPC, Walls and Walks, was shot in this area during the three weeks we were without electricity after Hurricane Ike. Unfortunately townhouses are being thrown up filling the vacant lots which brings in the obligatory bars and coffee houses. All the near downtown areas that used to serve as homes for the lower income folks that needed to be close in are being taken over by the Yuppies. The area is losing its character so there are only one or two blocks that are still interesting. If I live another thirty years I will be able to photograph in the slums being built today.
Alcy wanted to drive a few blocks over to Olivewood Cemetery, another place that was to be cleaned up. Olivewood is a very old and obviously affluent black cemetery. I photographed one stone today that the lady died in 1897 and I do not doubt that there are much older stones. There are two angels but both are on high pedestals. Although I tried using flash both faces were too shadowed to make good photographs. Olivewood has long been ignored and badly vandalized. About two or three years ago a group was organized to restore the cemetery. They did put a nice fence around part of it along with no trespassing signs but it appears that they have lost much of their incentive. What had been large flowering crape myrtles and scores of what I call cemetery lilies (Alcy says they are Crinium Lilies) has been replaced by weeds, knee high grass and invasive vines. The crape myrtles were torn out by the roots leaving gaping holes. It was a much more interesting place before their misguided efforts. The stones have not seen any repair. The sunk graves are still sunk--only what was beautiful about the cemetery has been destroyed. At least one of the sculptured pieces that I remember photographing there is gone so I don't see that they have accomplished a lot. This is a historic cemetery and deserves to be restored or at least cleaned up better than it has been. Unfortunately yuppies don't have much staying power when they find out that projects like this actually require more than rally meetings and collecting other peoples money--things like physical labor which they are not good at doing. It seems either the money to hire laborers has run out or their 'feel good' is past and now they prefer to get their exercise riding their bikes down the middle of the street to irritate everyone. So today in Olivewood, instead of finding poignancy and how lives affect those left behind, we mostly found the sad results of a feel good society without much substance.
We ended up at one of the coffee houses. First time I ever went anywhere that the help drew pictures in my coffee. Had to take a photograph.