Aloha, Bag(h)dad; Helloooo Bermuda - Louisiana

 Seriously, I always thought that the World Tour was over - give or take a town or two - but that was before I discoveredAloha, Louisiana near the Kitsatchie Forest in North Central Louisiana.  True, not an international place, but much like Welsh, Louisiana, I decided its close enough to fit in.   I wasn't quite sure how to photograph Aloha, Louisiana,  but then I realized I keep a plastic lei around my rearview mirror. It made for some delightful foreground framing.

Aloha, Louisiana

Aloha wasn't hard to find,  it's just a few miles north of Bagdad Community on Highway 71.

In Bag(h)dad, I found a lil bit o' cotton..

..and this sign: 

The reason I was in these parts of Louisiana, was to give a presentation of my World Tour at the Louisiana Studies Conference at NSU in Natchitoches.  I had dutifully checked the map before leaving, thus discovering Aloha.  En route to Natchitoches on Hwy 71, I stopped to take a few photos of the grounds of a church along the side of the road in Montgomery.  The church was very elaborately decorated in folk art fashion, and these signs caught my eye:

What I didnt realize at the time was that the woman who created them, folk artist Juanita Leonard, was going to deliver the Keynote Address at the conference I was attending!  ....Synchronicity.....I continued on my way, enjoying the cotton fields of the region..

..and the nice:

change of pace

After the conference, I had some time to drop by Bermuda before heading back home. 

Bermuda is situated along the Cane River and is home to Oakland Plantation, part of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. 

Oakland Plantation

 There are other plantations in the area including Melrose Plantation, where Clementine Hunter lived.  I had previously visited this locale in January after photographing Athens, Lisbon, &  Vienna.  

During that trip, my friend and I stopped off at St. Augustine Church, the first Catholic Church in the US to be built by free people of color.  It was established in 1803 by Nicolas Augustin Metoyer and Louis Metoyer, who also founded Melrose Plantation.  The Metoyers were the sons of Marie Therese Coincoin, the free woman of color and noted businesswoman of the Cane River region.  

St Augustine Church, Isle Brevelle

Driving through Bermuda this go around, I came across the St. Charles Catholic Church, which I later read was a mission church for St. Augustine.

St. Charles Catholic Church, Bermuda

Still, what caught my eye the most on this trip was....the cotton (and it was right next to the church).  

Bermuda Cottonfields

Seeing new places, meeting new faces, sharing my own artwork with others, made this World Tour road trip more than fulfilling.  Plus,  I think I found my dream house, placed amongst the cottonfields, or as I like to think of them.. terrestrial clouds..

Dreamy Cottonfield

'Twas a nice way to spend the Fall Equinox.

(c) Natasha Sanchez

Bugs, Butterflies, & Beyond

Tomorrow my World Tour resumes to all places local and exotic.  I thought it fitting on this World Tour Eve, to share my latest lumen print, "Flight".   But first, the story.... Last week on my Facebook page, I shared a story and photo of this broken butterfly wing I found on the sidewalk.

Butterfly Wing      2012

 Long story short, I suffer from a completely stereotypical girlish and irrational fear of bugs.  I managed to somewhat overcome this fear last week and scoop up the wing remainder with a pair of leaves....While I am not afraid of butterflies, I certainly don't want to touch them.  Scratch that - if one lands on me, I'd be delighted, but still, once that they have passed on, I really dont want to touch their deceased remains.  This is turning into quite a a problem with my Lumen Printing though, b/c there is no denying the beauty of a butterfly wing, or of other (certain) insects.

Butterfly & Flower        2009

Again...wanna print them....don't wanna touch 'em.  I've passed on a great many butterfly printing opportunities due to my inability to pick them up off of the sidewalk, so I devised other methods of making butterfly lumen prints..

Butterfly Stars        2012

My determination to pick up the butterfly wing last week puzzled me a bit.  It was, after all, only a partial wing, and probably wouldn't make much sense as a lumen print, which is simply a solar photogram.  My artificial one turned out quite nice.   It served a purpose though, it got me thinking about my first "bug" print....a cicada wing found floating in a friends pool (I made her fish it out for me...)

     Cicada & Leaves

And then....the swamp bug....

Just before the World Tour, I was working on a movie that  filmed in a swamp.  I became enamored with a pheasant feather (not exactly sure what kind of feather it was, looked like a pheasant..).  I took it home thinking it would make an interesting lumen print.  It did, and in fact, that feather started a new series of lumen prints of which I am still working on. Unbeknownst to me, however, that as I left the swamp, I had a bright green tiny bug stuck to my purse.  I discovered it the next day. To anyone else, this is no big deal, to me, well, it took one pair of tweezers and about an hour or two to remove it.  But I thought...hmmm... i could print this...

Feather & Bug  

I realized that butterflies, and therefore, insects,  had long been a part of my photographic reportoire:

Mariposa    (Handtinted Silver Gelatin)         2001

Paul's Butterfly  (from the series "The Class of 2019")      2008

Butterfly Ginger (Lumen Print)     2010

If you read the World Tour blogs, then you know part of the reason that I wanted to embark on the journey was to get back behind my camera lens. I had spent a long time on my lumen prints and wanted a change....just what the butterfly represents.  No wonder I like them! And fear them!  Well, not them, but insects, and maybe a little bit of change...  Anyhoo,  I couldn't give up on the Lumen Prints, so I've been working on the World Tour while simultaneously creating a new series of Feather lumen prints.  And now, the butterfly has awakened an "insect" calling...or is it just the wings?  Feathers...wings....flight...World Tour travels...I'm starting to see a pattern here...

Flight             2012

Tomorrow, the Louisiana World Tour begins its final chapter.  What an amazing year and journey this has been.  However, all life is change and a new chapter soon begins....

Next Up on the World Tour:
Tales from the Orient

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Betty the Bullhorn: All You Need To Shout Is Love

Betty the Bullhorn has long focused her platform on Free Speech as a means to individual self-worth, self-respect, and ultimately, to social change. However in a society that seems to place a higher value on fear rather than truth, Betty the Bullhorn has decided to channel her Inner Sherlock Holmes and get to the root (truth) of society's problems, and that root 

Betty & Love on Magazine   2012

Love is even the basis for Free Speech. Before we have the desire to Shout Out for the causes we care about, 

Betty loves Desire  2012

there's love - its the very opposite of what fuels our society's problems, fear.

Betty & a Heart   2012

Betty's investigations determined that this deterrent to fear -  love – well, its everywhere, just not widely acknowledged.  It lurks about in the most unexpected of places…

Betty - Lookin' for Love in all the Right Places   2012

Betty's Cools her Burning Heart    2012

Yet plenty of people are shoutin' out about it! 

Betty on Freret St       2012

Betty - Love is the Answer    2012

A fear-driven economy and a fear-fueled violent society is not acceptable to a bullhorn like Betty.  So, Betty has deduced that if you want to live in a safe, peaceful, and loving environment, then perhaps we could all channel our Inner Mahatma Gandhi, and "Be the Change You Want To See in the World".   Stop the Fear and Share the Love.  Betty will do her part to help spread the World, I mean, Word...

Betty - Love One Another   2012

Share the Love and Shout It Out!! 

- Betty the Bullhorn

(photgraphed & managed by Natasha Sanchez

Stay Tuned for a new World Tour blog post  COMING SOON!!!

Betty the Bullhorn's World Tour Detour

When the World Tour was in its early "planning for no plan" phase, it was understood that my guitar & ukulele, Miss Delta Blue and Miss Purple Lele, respectively, would come along for the ride, and, of course, Betty the Bullhorn.  I envisioned the instruments for the occasional open mic - it sure would have been great to play Hamburg! - and Betty, well, she just likes to travel.

Betty buried in the Sand   2008

I quickly learned, on my first tour to Delhi, Poverty Point, and Transylvania, that the Louisiana world tour was more about photographing, contemplating and philosophizing, and less about trying to find an open mic in Athens. (Athens, Louisiana, not Athens, Georgia, as it would make a lot more sense to play there...that's the next leg...)  

I also decided that Betty the Bullhorn would NOT be coming along for the rest of the Louisiana World Tour.  Betty, if you are unfamiliar with her, is a bullhorn that I adopted in the late '90s.  She had been working as a Movie Set Megaphone, but was tired of shouting "ACTION" and "CUT", and looking for something more meaningful in her life.  After living the bohemian life for a while, she realized her true talent was shouting out - helping others have their voices heard.  So she began modeling.

Betty on the Levee   2006

True to her word, Betty is just about the most honest bullhorn you will ever meet, and the work she does is valuable.  That being said, she is still a rabblerousin' rebellious bullhorn who likes to cross the line  now and then...
Betty on Tour    2011

Knowing that I wouldn't want to spend my time in Copenhagen or Poland bailing Betty out of Bullhorn Jail for trespassing and other misdemeanors, Betty decided she had too much free time on her horn.  Rather than pontificating in (the) Vatican, she decided to stay home for the remainder of the tour, and contemplate her next modeling job.  

Betty in the Clover Patch    2012

As she pondered in the clover patch, Betty knew her next photo series would continue on the tradition of shoutin' out for causes and beliefs that help promote social change.  Free Speech is of course always at the top of her list... but then then a new idea came to her.

It was as clear as a England Dan/John Ford Coley song....

Love is the Answer    2012
Love is indeed the answer!  Betty, having been in a committed relationship with Mike the Microphone since 2003, knows a thing or two about love, and she's determined to shout out for it as a solution for many problems.  After all, more often than not, fear is at the root of a problem, and more often than not, love is the answer to the problem.

Betty & her boyfriend, Mike    2003

So it appears that Betty's World Tour experience took a bit of a detour, but she found a whole new world (of love!)  in the process.

 And now she can't get that England Dan song out of her horn, so she for her series title, she put a Betty twist on another song.   (see below)   Stay Tuned for more pictures from her new series! 

Up Next:
Betty the Bullhorn:  All You Need to Shout is Love

Poland is in Louisiana???

Yes, Virginia, there is a Poland,  Louisiana..and it looks a lot like this:

Polish Cow,  2012

But before I get to the Polish Cows, let me explain as to how I came to know about Poland in the first place.  I'm chatting with a friend a few months back who begins telling a story of someone she once knew - from Poland, Louisiana.  Her mannerisms and laughter indicate that the story is a humorous one, but I am unaware of the particulars, as I've stopped listening and my mouth is hanging open in disbelief.  All I could think to say was..."There's a POLAND in Louisiana????"  After all, I had been on tour since July and even passed near Poland, unaware of its existence. It was a dark and stormy day, when I set out to see Poland for myself.  Not quite Mid-March, yet the ides were near.

The Ides of March photos were taken at a cemetary in (or near) Effie, Louisiana.  Stopped to take photos and get directions. Poland proved itself to be very hard to find - like it didn't want to be found at all.  The only acknowledgement of its actuality on Google Maps was the location of Poland Jr High School.

 I had, as usual, gotten off track, thank you Google, and ended up on the wrong side of the Red River.  I was told by the nice gentleman I met at the cemetary in Effie to "Get back on 1, pass through Echo, and you will see the sign to Poland."  When I found the sign, I turned right, just as the arrow pointed, and drove.  

I saw no other sign for the infamous school, but I did start to doubt my geography...

Finally, I saw signs of life. 

Yes, cows.  Cows are a plenty in Poland, Louisiana. I ran into quite a few.  

Just when I was content with the cows being my only sign of Poland - the Fire Station appeared. 

And then the Baptist Church.

And there, hidden amongst the trees, so often noted when Polandis mentioned, was the school.

Pleased that I had found evidence of civilization (outside of the cows, of course), I left the rural countryside and headed up back up the road towards Highway 1, where I would make my way to where ever the world leads next. 

I really enjoyed the landscape as I cruised about, and I can appreciate, and relate, to a town not wanting to be found. Sometimes we need to just get away...

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez