Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Water Line

Your eyes ever get caught by those long lines of electric towers that seem to go for ever?

This disappearing line was probably a little out of my camera's range, but I was having fun with it. Entergy (the electric company) built this line along the shore line of Lake Pontchartrain, presumably because that was easier than an onshore route through neighorhoods.

-- steve buser

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fleur de light

The Fleur de Lis appears almost everywhere in New Orleans. I was just walking by this window of a church on Prytania Street when I noticed it in the stained glass on the bottom

The architects this weekend rolled out the Rebuilding the Crescent plan -- a plan to open access to the river in 19 places in New Orleans. It will introduce new parks and plaza, exciting new architectural tokens and "statement" hotels and condos overlooking the river. (the Crescent is, off course, the Mississippi River which makes a wide bend around New Orleans, giving it the moniker, the Crescent City.

But at the plaza at the foot of Canal Street, they talked about observing the various heritages with the Spanish medallion, the French medallion and others laid in the brick pavers. Included among these was the "New Orleans medallion" -- a circle with the Fleur de lis.

Guess I need to get a Fleur De Lis on my masthead.

Oh, thank everyone for the kind words and encouragements yesterday on my 100th post. It re-energized me.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Orleans Daily Photo is 100!

This is the 100th daily photo post on New Orleans Daily Photo!

When I started this back in April, 100 seemed like an unachievable goal. But the effort has been fun. It has forced me to look at my city in new and different ways. It has made me keep my eyes open and be observant about what is around me. It has made me, many times, do research on a particular subject of my lens.

I thank all the people who have visited and left words of encouragement. I am sure I would have abandoned this long ago with out your spurring me on.

I was looking for the perfect photo to mark the occasion. I thought it ought to have a lot of excitement and frivolity to it. Finally, I keyed in on putting up a Mardi Gras picture. I looked through them all and I came up with these two. The top is my wife, Linda, from a Mardi Gras a couple years ago. Below is my sister, Sue, from a St. Patrick's Day parade -- she beams with excitement from her "catch."

That's the true spirit of this blog. Every photo, every day is a "catch." For the Mardi Gras bead or trinket, it's not the monetary value that earns it the moniker "treasure." It's that fact that it represents the feeling of being involved, surrounded by familiar excitements, full of the shared traditions.

I'm enjoying sharing this parade of photos with you of my beloved New Orleans. I'm enjoying sharing these "catches," egged on by your "throw me something mister's."

--steve buser

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The glow lives...

Carnival Cruise Lines announced this week that they had extended their contract for cruise ships to call at the Port of New Orleans. So I decided to pull out this photo that seems to show how the cruise ships fit into the New Orleans culture. There is no doubt that sailing from a port such as New Orleans can extend the fun a day or two before you embark or after you disembark. (or both) ... Keep the glow alive.

We did a cruise from here in November down to the Yucatan Peninsula. It was a week of pure pleasure. I know they have a chair down there sitting in the shallow beach water with my name on it.

The photo below is just to remind myself of how beautiful it all was.
--steve buser

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pumped up

I was up by the lakefront yesterday (at the University of New Orleans) and passed this project -- they are building a new pumping system for the London Avenue Canal -- the Corp is also building a gate structure for the canal -- a temporary one until the new one is completed in 2010. It will provide vastly more more hurricane protection that before. The canal also get new designed levee walls.

What struck me was all the heavy lifting power. There were a couple more cranes just outside this picture. When you have that much heavy muscle around, you know somebody wants to get something done, fast.
This picture is one the Corps of Engineers put out back in November, giving an aerial view of the work.
--steve buser

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shooting the breeze

Passing the time, the ferry's motion providing the breeze.

This group of bikers returns to Algiers Point after a day in the city. The Algiers ferry is a real treat connecting the central business district of New Orleans with the time-preserved Algiers Point which seems a century away. St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Brewery and other landmarks slide away quickly across the river.

This marks post #97 for New Orleans Daily Photo. I guess we're officially on the count down toward 100.

--steve buser

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

French Quarter Green

A late summer afternoon shot of a French Quarter street with the shadows starting to fill the street. In the distance, you can see the tall buildings of the CBD. Despite the small streets of the Vieux Carre', there is a sense of greenery everywhere.

--steve buser

Monday, July 23, 2007

Scenic landing

As you approach the New Orleans airport ( Louis Armstrong International Airport) from the west, you descend over a beautiful cypress marsh, then suddenly you are touching down. My angle on this shot makes it look like the plane is dropping into the swamp.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Light a candle

It does look like a big birthday cake with a candle on top doesn't it? That's the New Orleans World Trade Center -- dating back to its origins more than 60 years ago, WTC New Orleans was the first of what are today 289 World Trade Center organizations in 85 countries which are members of the World Trade Centers Association.

The statute, on the walk along the River in the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) in the front is dedicated to the immigrant. I don't want to tell you how stupid I looked getting down on the ground to get the perfect angle to bring these two together like this. Oh well, as the French say "Il n'y a pas de sot métier" -- there's no inane profession.

--steve buser

Friday, July 20, 2007


The Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church had one thing in common with a lot of churches around the New Orleans area a couple years ago. It had a spire that stuck up in the wind.

This renovation work on the St. Charles Avenue church has been proceeding on the church for the last couple months. She's getting a new spire and general fix up work.

--steve buser

Folk Laureate

Telling the tales of the city, a Vieux Carre' (French Quarter) guide leads a group tourists through the fascinating history of river bank settlement wrought with irony and intrique. Pirates, crevasses, hurricanes, malaria, deadly duels -- the affairs of God and men come together in this 78-square block center of New Orleans, born in 1718 as a French territory.

Probably no group was hit harder by Hurricane Katrina that these troubadors, who, because of a lack of tourists, had no one to tell their tales to. But during a short walk through quarter the other day, I ran into a couple handfuls of these travelling theatres. Their business seems flourishing. If you really want to understand New Orleans, this is an indispensible buggy ride.

--steve buser

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cloud candy


We were walking out to the pool and noticed the eerie light. Looking up, there was a large cloud forming overhead at it was catching the last rays of the sunset and redirecting them down in rosy beams.


It just took over the sky with it's color. Then, we heard the sound of thunder snapping in the cloud. So much for the swimming. But, I was going to miss this shot. So I ran in to get my camera.


Unforturnately, a sunset like this moves very quickly. By the time I got back outsider ready to shoot. The whole scene had gotten a lot more sutble. I shot a few shots -- the one above turned out best.


Then the lightning display started. I was shooting handheld with nothing to steady myself, so the odds of getting a lighting bolt were very slim. Except that these playful bolts were engaged in bumper pool up there -- bouncing around the sky. They would go on for three or four seconds. By picking an area of the sky that was really active and waiting for the zinging to start, I managed to catch the one below.


Didn't get my physical excercise, but it was a fun close to the evening.

--steve buser

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sails sliding by the city

The sight of a sailboat on the horizon just does something for me... gives me a sense of freedom from cares.

This shot is from the lakefront in Mandeville looking toward New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain. The buildings you see are the the downtown buildings. At this point it is about 20 miles across the lake and about 5 more miles to downtown. So they are about 25 miles away. You also get a good feel for the curvature of the earth in this shot.

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feathery fisticuffs

Apparently there is such a thing as bird manners, because these flighty fighters took great exception to the fact that the feathery fellow on the left didn't share his food. They were squawking and swirling a good ways away from me. It was pretty apparent that a real fracas was going on, so I started to wander over toward there. Suddenly they swooped up, buzzing each other in flight and landed their 100-decibel free-for-all near me.

It wasn't just the two birds in this aerial feud, either. There were about 25 of them in this feather-filled fray.

I smell a good business opportunity, though -- a class on basic manners for birds. Maybe we could call it "Share to Soar."

-- steve buser

Monday, July 16, 2007


I have always been amazed at the places that life will sprout out. This little plant is clinging to the side of a building in the French Quarter in New Orleans, a couple stories off the ground.

--steve buser

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Steamy music

This one is for Tara with Baton Rouge Daily Photo. She asked back in June if the Steamboat Natchez still has its calliope. I hear it nearly every day from our parking garage, even though I am up 8 floors and the boat is about a half mile away. I thought that in this day of automation, it was computer controlled. I was walking by the boat recently and some whisps of steam caught my eye. Much to my surprise, there was someone playing the it. It's steam powered! And notice to the right (below), the lights in the bulbs. A different light glows for each note.

Check out this old brochure on the boat -- page 5 has a drawing of the calliope. It's great marketing for the exciting cruise they give down the Mississippi River. Make sure it's on you itinerary for your next trip to the Big Easy.

--steve buser

Friday, July 13, 2007

Any sail in a breeze

While the sailors at the top of this photo set their sails into the wind to get away from it all, a dockside ersatz sailor faces the breeze on her "sail phone" -- as far out on the breakwater as she can get.

--steve buser

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Guardian gargoyle

This little fellow guards the upper reaches of St. Stephen Church (follow this link for more incredible photos) in New Orleans. Seems to be pretty happy about it. I love this church because of all this ornamentation -- the corner stone for this spacious old church was laid in 1871. Maybe I need a guard gargoyle.

--steve buser

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Backstage along the river

This is just a little ways down the river from the shot yesterday. This river walk area is between the Mississippi River and the French Quarter. A lot of infraststructure in this area, yet they managed to keep it very scenic. Notice the three railroad tracks by the street car. In addition to the street cars, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad runs along here.

Notice the wall behind the street car? That's the flood protection wall. "How can you protect from a flood with a big hole in the wall?" you ask. Look on the left side of the opening where the yellow signs are. If you look carefully, you will notice the wall is a little wider there. That's a flood gate that rolls across the opening on tracks. Fortunately it doesn't get used very often.

Next comes the parking area for the river walk, the Shops at Jax Brewery and the whole French Quarter thing. Your only a block or so from Cafe du Monde -- a required visit when you come to New Orleans -- for beignets and coffee.

Then you climb the steps up to the river walkway. (Feel free to step on the grass -- its a favorite spot for lounge for events like the French Quarter Festival.)

The tug boat is almost always anchored there -- I guess so it can be close at hand when it is needed.

Below, I just wanted to revisit yesterday's post. How do you get from where we were yesterday to where we are today? -- Through this passageway. Notice all the electrical apparatus? If you were walking through this passage, you wouldn't. You'd be oblivious to it all. Strange that we see only what we want to see.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pay no attention

We often go about hopping on the street car of life with no attention to what goes on around us. I love this spot of New Orleans -- it is down in the real scenic part of town at the foot of Canal Street. A lot of "stuff" comes together here that keeps it all going. Everyday, people pass up and down here and hop on street cars with no attention to that "stuff."

The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad has a line that passes just behind this street car -- it brings trains from one side of town to the other -- serving the port and industry along the river. Entergy has a major power line that passes over head just above here. Immediately to the left of this picture is major substation that feeds electricity to much of downtown. To the right of this picture is the dock for the Algiers ferry and the New Orleans Aquarium. There is a walkway just to the left of this picture that takes you to the Riverwalk.

But to most folks, all these wires and tracks are pretty much invisible. We see what we want to see and disregard the rest.
--steve buser

Monday, July 9, 2007

Crossing the Crescent City Connection.

It's Monday morning and time for the commute to work. This is the Crescent City Connection Bridge that connects the East Bank (where downtown is located) with the West Bank -- a more suburban location. While I live on the East Bank, my travels take me to the other side a lot.

I love driving back across this bridge -- it crosses just a few blocks from downtown and presents a spectacular view of the skyscrapers. The first exit into downtown, literally dropping several hundred feet in a winding ramp at the foot of the bridge.

At night, the bridge has lights along the top -- that makes it one of the most recognizable sites of the city from afar.

Hope your commute today is smooth and scenic.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Savoring the summer simmer

It's summer time and that means barbeque. These skewers of onions, bell peppers and pork medalions get a watchful eye from my brother-in-law, Von (below). In the rear, are corn ears simmering in aluminum foil.

Some of the best eating you can imagine. Of course there was also boiled shrimp, shrimp sausage ( a new one for me, buttery new potatoes and... I better stop here, my doctor may be reading).

Hope your summer includes something savory and time to unwind with the family.

-steve buser

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mid-lake drama

We were about in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain the other day when a nasty thunderstorm started moving across at us. The "middle" is about 12 miles from shore. This shrimper was high tailing it as fast as his boat could move. Not a good place to get caught in a squall.

I'm pretty sure he didn' make it all the way back to the New Orleans side of the lake before the storm overtook him --at the speed he was going it was more than a half hour to shore. Of course we were heading away from New Orleans at 60 mph on the Causeway. So this was just a brief drama for us.

But, since this is 7/7/7 I'm sure he got lucky.

--steve buser

Friday, July 6, 2007

Wandering the waterfront

More from our trip along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the 4th of July.

This board walk, twisted as it was, still held onto the ground below it. The walkway toward where I am shooting the camera and the walkway beyond this section were both gone.

Below, storm clouds gathering as we left New Orleans -- maybe a warning for the day ahead.

We headed off with the top down on my wife's convertible, just sight seeing. We had to put the top up several times because of rain or drizzle. The mostly bare beaches seemed clean and inviting. The water was about as cloudy as the skies. We pulled into the casino in Gulfport for lunch -- a delicious buffet with boiled shrimp and other delights. The casino hall wasn't packed but it was comfortably full.

It was a fun relaxing day.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Coast coasting

Since we didn't have any formal plans for the 4th of July, we decided to go driving along the coast of Mississippi -- about an hour's drive away.

It, too, had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but I was suprised at how little along the beach had come back. We drove from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi -- maybe 40 miles. There were few of the old stately mansions left. And those that did survive seemed the worse for the wear.

It was drizzling most of the day so the beaches were mostly empty.

The picture above is a pier and a threesome of pavilions for fishermen. It wasn't open yet. I presume it is still under construction. Everything seems to take a long time these days to get built.

But the seagulls were having fun.

We took a short walk on the beach and ran into the vendor below keeping his water skis looking good for the occasional customer that wandered by.

-- steve

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Duck back to sleep

It's a holiday here, 4th of July, and I am wondering what I am doing up so early. Reminded me of this fellow, so I thought I would share him.

I wandered up on him and took several shots. Take a close look at his eye. The eyelid is closed. I should say one of his eyelids is closed. Ducks have an eyelid they use under the water, an eyelid for blinking and then a eyelid like you and me.

When I wandered up on him -- he was apparently sleeping. He stayed like that, then opened his eyelid to take note of me. Assured that I was no threat, he closed his eyes and continued to enjoy his nap in the warm sun and cool water.

You should do the same -- go back to bed. Take a nap. Enjoy sleeping in. It's a holiday

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Light strings strung

For those of you who enjoyed the lights of Magazine Street, I bring you another shot.

--steve buser

Monday, July 2, 2007

What could go wrong... a tale of bluebonnets and babies

Sometimes you just have to break the rules.

Okay, I know this is not strictly a New Orleans picture, but sometimes something comes along and you just have to color outside the lines.

Besides, we're going to keep this just between ourselves right? You're not going to tell anyone?

So here's the scene. My daughter lives in College Station, out in the bluebonnet territory. Big stuff, these bluebonnets. You can drive country roads out there and see fields stretching thousands of feet bursting with these beautiful blue flowers. Almost takes your breath away. Happens every spring.
She has a baby and a toddler. What could be a better picture than to dress them up in blue springtime outfits and lay them in the field and get a picture of them 'midst the bluebonnets? What could go wrong? Her picture tells the tale.

Dads, you don't have a clue what was about to happen next. Moms, your alarm sirens are starting to go off.

I guarantee you will smile with a "Yeah I've been there" beam. -- click here.

Her blog is creasyvision.blogspot.com/ -- she has two young'uns that make this grandpa gleam.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hacking the "virtual" porch

As I noted yesterday, we're musing on porches, and you should probably read the last few posts to catch up before reading this one. I want to go get a cup of coffee anyway, so you go read (from the bottom up) and we'll meet back here in say 10 minutes? Good.

Welcome back, let me settle in.

Okay, so above is our former house in Beaumont. Had a lot of good features, very roomy, lots of entertaining space etc. But it was porch-challenged -- more of a covered entry way than a porch.

We lived like that for maybe 10 years, -- but always of fond memories of a house we had in Slidell, LA, where we could sit out on the porch for just a few minutes and a neighbor would come by. And then another and another. Pretty soon, everyone went and got their law chairs and moved the confab to the sidewalk where the kids were all running their bikes and wagons.

But this house had no sidewalk and no porch. The neighbors just didn' congregate outside very much. It was one of those porch-poor suburban subdivisions. Built in the early '80s.

One day we were at Lowes where they had a clearance sale on a bench. I told my wife I was going to buy it.
"Where are you going to put it?" she asked.
"In the front yard," I said.
"Can you even do that?" she wanted to know.
"My house, I can do it."

So, with her thinking I had gone over the edge of a few too many benches, we left with our new treasure.

I found a place just to the side of the front walkway and anchored it there.

Looked strange. But it was a comfortable place to sit under the big oak trees and catch the last rays and breeze of the day. In the mornings we would sit and drink coffee on us.

Wasn't long before neighbors started seeing us on the bench and would come over and sit and visit. It became a real active place since my wife always likes a lot of people to talk to.

Soon, neighbors were bringing beverages over to share and we all would sit there sipping on our milks watching the kids play.

Then we started noticing that when we came back from a weekend out of town, there were beverage containers on the bench -- neighbors had used it in out absence to sit and visit, catch up on things and watch the kids play. We were actually excited to see that.

As you probably have noted, it was a bench, not a porch. Or was it? What are the minimum qualifications for a porch? Wood deck -- I've seen concrete ones. Covered? seen many that weren't. Attached to the house? Who says?

Maybe it didn't meet a lot of the qualifications of what you think a porch is. But, this "virual porch" did have the most important one: It brought people together -- gave them a sharing place, a place of comfort -- not locked in. A place to keep watch over the games and imaginations of their children.

I say it was a porch. It was up close to the house, but it would have been a porch if it was 50 feet away.

The sadness of all this, is that our house designers, our subdivision builders couldn't capture that. Porches are a technology. A technology of a day before video games, internet and cable tv. House designers of the day worked them into the houses they built with great flair -- not just because they were place to draw people together -- which they did. But the greatly designed porches were an advertisement: "We know the importance of getting together casually and sharing with our neighbors." So they put them out front -- to advertise that savoir faire of their owners.

Maybe porches are not the technology of our day. But there is no age that doesn't find great worth in neighbors sitting and going over their sorrows and victories.

And in every age we will find a way to do that. We will build the technology it takes -- my little attempt at that is what the programmers of our day call a hack -- what the jargon file defines as
"2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed."

Below is the bench in use -- my wife, Linda, and son, Shawn, are sitting and Shawn's wife Sarah is standing. Exactly what was needed.