The weather was wonderful. Autumn in New Orleans. No need for either raincoat or sweater.
A perfect soiree of fellowship. A convivial gathering of friends you knew and guests you were eager to get to know.
From the time you entered the iron front gate, checked out the informative exhibition in the front room, walked through the two-story, historic cottage onto the back porch, and then ensconced yourself in the backyard, imbibing a selected array of refreshments, this was a welcomed get together.
The SEEING BLACK Florestine Collins Parlor, replete with historic photos, authentic period furniture, actual early cameras, as well as pictorial placards and educational hand-cards freely available to all visitors, was the expert work of committee member Shana griffin.
The program was officially titled First Frame The Prelude of SEEING BLACK Black Photography in New Orleans 1840 & Beyond. On view 11am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday, until June 4, 2023.
This program was a revelation not only about photography in New Orleans but also a rear view picture of a woman who expertly persevered in a career dominated by men. Florestine Marguerite Perrault Collins (1895 – 1988) early-on set a sterling example for generations to come.
Beyond the photographs, the period furniture, vintage cameras, and the informational hand-outs, Shana griffin also organized live music to complete the commemorative afternoon. She was supported by the SEEING BLACK trio of Eric Waters; Girard Mouton,III; and Kalamu ya Salaam.
The preludial exhibition featured veteran musicians–Dr. Michael White, clarinet; Greg Stafford, trumpet; Detroit Brooks, banjo; Mitchell Player, acoustic bass. The quartet offered traditional New Orleans jazz at its best. This was not routine, commercial Dixieland bullshit, but rather art and revelry, performed by serious musicians leaning into their improvisations with fervor.
These were professionals, most of whom I knew personally. Although I had major medical issues that included a recent procedure to deal with a cancerous growth on my kidney, and although I could not stay for the entire event, nevertheless I sat adjacent to the band in a corner of the back porch. I did not make my get-away until the band’s intermission.
I really did not want to leave early. I would have preferred to be energized by the majesty of the music. But when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.