My wife Susan purchased a cute little vintage item the other day from a shop on Etsy called Ginger's Girl (www.gingersgirl.etsy.com). It was a fold-out picture postcard book from the City of New Orleans from about 1950. It's an item that back in the day you would have purchased and mailed to someone as a very fancy postcard. It folds out to reveal 18 landscape scenes of the Big Easy, it's kinda like getting 18 postcards at once.
I have a sentimental connection to New Orleans or the Crescent City as they call it. I grew up near Pensacola, Florida which is about a 3 hour drive. As a kid, I went there with my parents once to see my aunt and uncle and my cousin who was my age. We spent the day with them driving around in the car, seeing the sites and so forth. This was back when you could drive down Bourbon Street in your car. It's only walkable today. My father and uncle were so impressed with Bourbon Street and its eye-candy that we drove down it twice! Of course my cousin and I were reminded that we were tired from sight seeing and should lie down in the back seat for a few minutes to take a brief nap.
Through the years I've made many trips back to New Orleans. My high school marching band, the Pace Patriots, marched in a Mardi Gras parade one year. I went to an all day concert in my twenties called A Day of Rock & Roll in the Super Dome and saw, Heart, Cheap Trick, Boston and Foreigner. Susan and I honeymooned there when we were married in 1987. A lot has changed in New Orleans since we've been there last. Hurricane Katrina has made sure of that.
This little postcard book is really special though. It reminds you that this old city has been here a long time and can take a lot. The photos are very detailed. So much so that you can take a magnafying glass and scan over the image and see even more details of the photos. (OK, I'm over 50, maybe that's kinda creepy.)
On a technical note, these photos were taken before color photography were even available. Black and white photos were shot and then hand colored by the lithographers to achieve color plates for printing. The end result is an image that sort of makes you wonder at first whether it is a photo or an illustration.
The booklet, which by the way has a very vintage smell to it which is very cool, contains scenes that include downtown, Loyola University, boats on Lake Pontchartrain, Audubon Park, Margaret Square, lake at Metairie Cemetery and of course Mardi Gras Time on Canal Street. These images are so neat, I think we are going to enlarge them and have them framed. They will look so lovely in our old farm house here in North Carolina.
Anyway, I just want to give a special thanks to Angela Homan of Ginger's Girl for helping us to trip back down memory lane one more time to old New Orleans. If any of you have never been there... just go, you don't know what you're missing y'all.