The second day I was in New Orleans I made it down to the lower 9th ward. Just passed the health clinic and the orange store where you can buy fried chicken, coffee, beer or gum, I turned right on Flood street. Before I got two far, a handful of children approached my car shouting, "Candy, Candy" and shoving a piece of paper at me through the open car window. The paper read, "The Candy Lady, " and the phone number was clearly written underneath.
Because there are so few stores, they fill a niche in the neighborhood.
Sure I said, I'll buy some candy if you will ask your mom if I can take your picture. The kids were game so I parked my car and got my camera ready. I could have anything I wanted they said from chocolate to twizzlers. Chocolate I said without hesitation, Twix bars to be precise. So they ran off and I stood there watching them run up the stairs to their apartment. It was one of the nicer looking structures on the street where many houses were still marked by the Katrina "X" the one which had the date in the top box, the agency that inspected the building on the left side, and the number of people found in the building, dead and alive, inscrbed in the right and lower quadrants of the "x." If the SPCA was inspecting, there were additional numbers for cats and dogs.
With two fewer dollars in my pocket and two candy bars stuffed into my purse I began taking picture of the crowd of kids standing on the second story porch. They were very curious and wanted to know what Iwas doing in New Orleans. Many of htem had just returned from other states where they'd sheltered for years before coming back.
I explained my project and one girl in particular seemed to want to know more, was even interested in taking a walk with me and showing me around. We made a date for later in the week to go for a walk. The girl was the same age as my daughter and bright and energetic and fearless. On Monday, after school, we went out together and took these pictures of Flood Street leading down to the river. There's a lot more pictures that both she and I took, so stay tuned for more.