Terrible Love

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!" (Let the good times roll!) ~Cajun saying   

“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.” ~John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

I love South Louisiana and my people. It is a terrible love. My photographs reference the Deep South—my roots. “Terrible Love” reflects my sense of pride and shame about my roots, as well as my conflicted feelings about embracing a culture that is as violent as it is fun-loving and family-oriented.

My photographs explore the world of my siblings and childhood friends in rural South Louisiana—a place of deep-seated cultural traditions, constant celebrations, dreamlike vistas, lost opportunities––a place that hasn't seemed to change much in the past 50 years. Intergenerational poverty, addiction, gun violence, racism, low literacy rates, and corrupt politicians have taken their toll on my home state. Yet it is easy to “smile while sitting in the devil’s lap” if you are blessed/cursed to live in my part of the South.

I have a strong need to remember my Louisiana past and the Southern heritage I nearly lost after living three decades on the East Coast. Through my project, I reconnect with the people I love most, revisit my past, reclaim the part of myself I left behind years ago when I moved to Manhattan.

I use my photography to rediscover, relive, and reshape my memories. My project allows me to recreate and share my own truth about my Southern roots. It is indeed a blessing and a curse.