This gentleman told me photographers have a thing about St. Claude Tire. He's not sure why, but I think it's something to do with how authentic the place looks from the street. I drove by at least six times before I had the nerve to stop and talk to the proprietor who used to be a ship builder back in the day. He has a long scar across his right hand from a fight he got into in his twenties. He got lucky; he can still do everything with his hands he wants or needs to.
At St. Claude Tire they fix everything that has wheels: bikes, cars, trucks, and scooters. I had a good time hearing a few stories about the kids growing up around here, the shop owners, and the people who run the place now. Just as I was getting ready to leave someone tried to sell me a Canon camera with all it's lenses and a flash.
I keep getting told to watch myself and having been offered what was clearly someone elses' equipment for the low, low price of thirty dollars, I get a sense that my gear wouldn't go for much more.
Even so, I have to say that I got a call at noon today while I was at the French Quarter festival from an LA photographer who was parked in front of a burned down house. He wanted to know that I was o.k. and then wanted to know if I realized that I'd left my tripod in the yard where he was standing in the lower ninth ward?
I reflected back on my excursion earlier in the day in the diffuse early morning light--well before I'd had any coffee. A little flustered in the company of people who, at least on the surface, could better maintain the appearance of organization than the phone call I was fielding implied I could. I had to confess that no, I had no idea that I'd driven off without it.
As it turned out, said photographer was staying at the Astoria on the Corner of Bourbon St. and Canal, just two blocks from where I was standing when he called.