Living Life - in Bohemia, Louisiana

The road to

Bohemia

is seemingly sparse.

Located about 50 miles Southeast of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, Bohemia lies on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, a short ferry ride from Point ala Hache. (If the ferry was running, that is..) Getting to Bohemia took some effort. First I got stuck in traffic waiting for a train in the Bywater.

 I thought I had the angle for this trip all planned out.

I thought I could make some connection about how the artist community in New Orleans keeps migrating further downriver – first it was the French Quarter, then the Marigny, currently the Bywater holds that distinction. I thought it only a matter of time before the artists make it down to Bohemia itself. Hahaha. I even brought Betty the Bullhorn along, the ultimate representative of La Vie Boheme, to further illustrate my point.

Betty Lives the Bohemian Life  2002

 But as usual, the journey to Bohemia turned out to be much larger than that. I discovered my roots on the way. While my Isleno ancestry, Spanish descendants from the Canary Islands, comes from a settlement called Valenzuela (now Belle Alliance) near Donaldsonville, I thought I'd say hello to my peeps at this Isleno dwelling in St. Bernard Parish.  

Canary Islanders Home

 Then it was off to Bohemia

.

 It was a simple, yet difficult route – down Hwy 46 to Hwy 39, through Braithewaite and other areas in Plaquemines Parish that were affected by Hurricane Isaac last summer. I didn’t photograph the miles of destruction I saw, but sights like this were not uncommon:

Houses on Levee

I drove past Phoenix.

And then continued on Hwy 39.

Hwy 39

Finally, I reached Bohemia.

Bohemia, 2013

Bohemia is a small, unincorporated town of Plaquemines Parish. It was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The 25 or so homes here show their determination, resilience and spirit.  For me, Bohemia was a testament of commitment to living our truth, no matter the circumstances.

Concrete Stairs                            *                   Bethlehem Lane

There are quite a few Katrina-related articles available online about Bohemia. I had read that the only thing remaining of the brick Civil-War era Baptist chuch, Bethlehem Judea African Church, was its sign. Yet when I reached Bethlehem Lane, there was a new structure in its place.

Betty the Bullhorn, along for the ride as a Champion of Living Your Life – no matter how “unconventional” it may seem, was very much moved by the church and, wearing her peace sign outfit,  wanted to lend her support.

On Bethlehem Lane, in Bohemia, Louisiana – Betty the Bullhorn shouts out for peace and calm - sometimes much needed when the path isn't always a straight one.

Betty Shouts Out for Peace

And you never know where the road will lead you. 

Bohemian Levee

Til next time..

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez