In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Artist’s Statement: Parts Not Uptown
  • Oscar Creech (bio)

Growing up in Uptown New Orleans, I experienced what could have been a lifetime’s worth of Mardi Gras parades each year. From King’s Day (January 6) to Ash Wednesday, it seemed there was always a group parading down Saint Charles Avenue. To me, as a kid, Mardi Gras was about beads, floats, marching bands, kings, queens, flambeaux carriers, and running through crowded streets with friends, old and new . . . happiness, really. Mardi Gras was about happiness. That was Uptown, “on the parade route.” As I grew older, I wanted to venture out beyond the boundaries of what I had always known, to explore the way others experienced their own carnival happiness. I started by joining hundreds of other revelers who met under the Claiborne Avenue overpass on a Mardi Gras Day to witness the in-your-face majesty of the Mardi Gras Indians. The proud aggressiveness along with the sincerity and beauty of those men, women, and children spoke to me. I needed to explore more of New Orleans, particularly the parts not Uptown.

Before long, I became fascinated with second lines—parades that often are associated with men’s and women’s social clubs, and that always include brass bands, hand-decorated suits, and many people strutting down the city streets. There is an intensity at second lines that is not often present at more formal, orchestrated parades. It comes through in chanting and stomping, in drums and tambourines, in strong physical poses and territorial stances. It’s an intensity that struck me and called me to capture as much of it as I could on film.

During the same years, I began to expand my walking route on Mardi Gras Day to include both the Uptown and Downtown areas. Hardly a Fat Tuesday has passed in the last fifteen years that hasn’t seen my crew of friends make our way by foot from the corner of Freret and Napoleon, down Saint Charles, through the French Quarter, only to end up nearly four miles away at the corner of Frenchmen and Chartres (how we all manage to wend our ways back home remains a mystery to me). I have taken many photos along that route—a good number of them blurry—and they stand as a personal record of the incredible variety of customs and traditions going on across this great city, all on a Mardi Gras Day. [End Page 84]


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oscar creech

Super Sunday, New Orleans, 1999

[End Page 85]


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oscar creech

Fat Tuesday, New Orleans, 2000

[End Page 86]


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oscar creech

Fat Tuesday, New Orleans, 1999

[End Page 87]


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oscar creech

Super Sunday, New Orleans, 1999

[End Page 88]


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oscar creech

Fat Tuesday, New Orleans, 2001

[End Page 89]


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oscar creech

Super Sunday, New Orleans, 1999

[End Page 90]


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oscar creech

Fat Tuesday, New Orleans, 2001

[End Page 91]


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oscar creech

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, 1997

[End Page 92]

Oscar Creech

oscar creech has been a New Orleans educator for more than a dozen years, currently teaching design thinking at Isidore Newman School. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied film and television production. His photographs have appeared on releases by New Orleans musicians Better Than Ezra, Theresa Andersson, and World Leader Pretend.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2168-5541
Print ISSN
0038-4534
Pages
pp. 84-92
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-24
Open Access
No
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