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I dedicate this book to Frank Armstrong, Dianne Hart and Deb Hall who encourage me and Ned Mercer who picks up the load while I am lost in photography


Why New Orleans? I love New Orleans physically. I love the trees and the balmy air and the beautiful days. I have a beautiful house there. Anne Rice When many people think about New Orleans their thoughts often agree with Anne Rice. It is a beautiful place but there is another view of New Orleans. Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become a study for archaeologist...but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole State of Ohio. Lafcadio Hearn This is not a contemporary view of New Orleans although some may think it is. Hearn lived in and wrote about new Orleans in the 1880's. His writings about the city, its culture and cuisine have shaped our views of New Orleans even today. My first interest in New Orleans was when I was a teenager and read Gone With the Wind. Scarlett and Rhett honeymooned there. Mitchell's description of the city intrigued me so much that I wanted to go there for our honeymoon as well. And so, over 50 years ago, that is were we went. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel. We walked the French Quarter, peeked into strip joints, listened to the Dixieland Jazz in tiny bars and we ate the food, so different to us at the time, beignets, creole, cajun, gumbos. We loved the food. We loved the city. We have been back to New Orleans a number times over the years for a short holiday or business trip. Still it had been about 10 years since we were last there. It was time, so we worked in a short trip. Just two days and three nights. There is so much to see in New Orleans that we could not do it all so we concentrated on the French Quarter, the Garden District and the Cuisine.

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is not the same. Al Hirt is dead and Pete Fountain no longer plays in the Quarter. It is hard to find the little bars or rooms where you can sit and listen to really good Dixieland Jazz. The bars are louder and the neon-lit rooms more garish. The street trashier. But on the whole the French Quarter is charming and has the feeling of a close neighborhood where people look out for one another. I could imagine having a cocktail on my shaded patio or walking in the neighborhood to do errands or visit art galleries or meet friends at a restaurant. I had explored shops on Magazine Street before but never walked in the Garden District. It is a neighborhood I'd like to live in for a while. The palette of colors isn't exactly Victorian. It is New Orleans' own palette. The gardens are lush and mature. The scent of flowers lingers in the sultry air. There is still much to see the next time we return because the only street we walked on was Coliseum. In '71 or '72 I returned to New Orleans and stayed there. I started cooking Louisiana food, it was the best -- and it was my heritage. Paul Prudhomme When we honeymooned in New Orleans, the food seemed exotic. To read the history of food from New Orleans is to read the history of the town for 300 years because each wave of residents brought their recipes and incorporated them into the mix. Now gumbos, creole and cajun food is as close as a TV cooking show or the cookbook on your shelf. Wherever I go, my camera goes. This book is my quick look at the colors and flavors of New Orleans in two days and three nights. Billie Mercer June 27, 2010


Photography is the way I organize all the visual data that surrounds me. Most of the time I photograph the commonplace. Since I was a girl I have always had a camera but about 30 years ago a college photography class opened doors to the creative side of photography. Since then photography has been my passion. The photographers who influenced me were John Sexton, Frank Armstrong, David Plowden, Josef Sudek, Linda Butler and Keith Carter. So needless to say up until about six years ago all of my work was in black and white. Now about sixty percent of my work is in color. I like to work on projects so that I continue to explore an idea and dig below the surface. Some projects or themes are long-term and on-going. I am currently using a digital camera but a lot of my work has been done with film in a plastic camera called a Holga that many consider a toy. My photographs have been in a number of one-person and group shows. They can also be found in the public collections of the Harry Ransom Humanities Center at the University of Texas. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and in the Federal Reserve Bank in Houston. I also have work in a number of private collections. This book was published in conjunction with Solo Photography Book Month during which photographers are challenged to photograph, write the text, edit and complete a photography book within 30 days of a specific two-month period. This is my second year to take up the challenge. My husband, Ned and I are retired. We are Texans but after traveling for many years in Mexico we are currently living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Billie Mercer email: bmercertx@yahoo.com Blog: www.billiemercer.blogspot.com


Published by: Billie Mercer 220 North Zapata Highway #11 Laredo, Texas 78043 Copyright, 2010 – Billie Mercer All rights reserved under international and Pan-American Copyright conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form without written permission from Billie Mercer.


New Orleans, Two Days and Three Nights  

A look at the flavors and colors of the Garden District, French Quarter and the cuisine of New Orleans during a short visit

New Orleans, Two Days and Three Nights  

A look at the flavors and colors of the Garden District, French Quarter and the cuisine of New Orleans during a short visit

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