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I hope so, because I’m one of the organizers of said project, which we’re calling The Hypothetical Development Organization. My co-conspirators on this venture are Ellen Susan and G.K. Darby.* We’ve got a bunch of  great fellow-volunteers involved, and what we’re doing is creating signage “advertising” imaginary future uses for neglected buildings around New Orleans.

The last step is raising the money to print the physical signs and I need your help.

Along with our various collaborators, we’ve put in a ton of free work on this, just because we think it would be an awesome thing to do. We even have a gallery partner who will display duplicates of the signs in April — if we raise the money to cover the production costs.

Please check out more details of the project on our Kickstarter fundraising page or our site, and consider chipping in to help us make this real.

We have cool premiums on offer to those who support the project.

Thanks for your help!

(*Those of you who read Letters From New Orleans may be interested to know that G.K. Darby’s Garrett County Press published that book — and also that Ellen Susan is, in fact, “E.”)

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Those of you lucky enough to be doing the Jazz Fest thing: Check out the photography exhibit in the Grandstand called “Louisiana Road Trip.” I gather it was juried by Nick Spitzer, and offers, “unique representation of the beautiful and unique state we live in.” But the real reason I’m bringing it up is that are a couple of images from a longtime no notes favorite, Morris Brum. Wish I could be there!

More at the New Orleans Photo Alliance blog.

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New Orleans: Portraits of the Big Easy, opened yesterday at John Cleary Gallery in Houston, and is up through February 13, 2010.

Ellen Susan (you may know her as E) has four pieces in the exhibition, from an in-progress series of “Carnival Fragments,” one of which is above.

Tell your Houston friends — especially the art collectors!

John Cleary Gallery
2635 Colquitt
Houston, TX

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

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Wow! It’s been a really long time since I updated no notes! Where have I been?

Mostly trying to pay bills, but there is one thing that might interest some of you: Josh Glenn and I have a little side project going called Significant Objects that we are really proud of and excited about. We have rounded up a bunch of great creative writers, and paired each with an object that one of us bought from a thrift store or yard sale for a buck or two. We get each writer to invent a story about that object — then we sell it on eBay; winning bid gets a copy of the story, too.

Participating writers we’ve already published include Luc Sante, Lucinda Rosenfeld, Lydia Millet, Matthew Sharpe, Ben Greenman, and Kurt Andersen. Coming up are Curtis Sittenfeld, Bruce Sterling, Ed Park, and … well, just too many to name. It’s been going really well and getting some cool attention. I hope you’ll check it out. In fact I hope you’ll consider bidding. We definitely need reader participation to keep the thing going. Tell a friend!

Anyway that project is sorting of getting its legs under it so I’m hoping that once I get some day-job stuff under control I can get back to the list of things that I am anxious to post/address here. There’s a lot, I just need to find the time.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans-related story news: With the Katrinaversary coming up again soon, there’s some more new New Orleans-centered books on the flood and its aftermath. I hadn’t heard about the Dave Eggers book Zeitoun until I read this WSJ writeup, but it actually sounds pretty interesting. Also sounds like Eggers has gotten involved with some local aid efforts in N.O., and that’s cool.

And on a related note, longtime friend of no notes Josh Neufeld’s book A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge is also arriving. The WSJ wrote that up, too, right here. Check it out!

I got all sentimental reading about these books and other N.O.-related stuff today and pulled Letters From New Orleans off the shelf. You know, I still think it holds up okay. And if you’re among those who believe there is more to the city than the Katrina story, well, all I can say is I feel lucky have to have completed that particular project and had my say before the whole idea of New Orleans got so tied in with the flood and its aftermath. (Which is obviously an important subject — don’t get me wrong!)

And if you’re curious, yes, it’s still the case: Even to this day, all these years later, I still repurpose my royalty checks over to relief effort organizations. It’s not like I ever could have retired on the money I would have earned from the book, and over time the checks have obviously gotten smaller — but hey, if you ever feel like sharing a version of N.O. before that hurricane, buy LfNO for a friend, and rest assured the money spent won’t be wasted on me!

I’ll be back to regularly scheduled no notes programming soon … I hope.

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E is looking for some help with a new photography project.

She is seeking handmade/homemade Mardi Gras costumes to photograph. You may or may not wear or use costumes yourself — but maybe you know some people who do? Just trying to help get the word out.

E is going to be in New Orleans for a few days beginning March 21. She’ll have a van. She hopes to collect at that time as many costumes as possible to bring back to Savannah.

When done, she will ship each costume back to the owner, along with an archival 8×10 photograph of it.

Also: Any suggestions for sites or organizations who may be able to help would be gratefully received.

E’s most recent work can be seen at www.soldierportraits.com, to get a sense of what it’s like. She’ll be using the same process you see there for this costume project.

Interested parties can then contact her at ellen@ellensusan.com.

Please forward this at will. Thanks.

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PhotoNOLA is “a monthlong celebration of photography in New Orleans.” Many interesting exhibitions at many venues, with events from November 30 through December 15.

I direct your attention in particular to:

Ellen Susan: Soldier Portraits

December 1, 2007 – February 7, 2008.

New Orleans Photo Alliance

1111 St. Mary Street, New Orleans, LA.

Opening Reception Dec 1st, 6 – 9 pm.

Gallery Talk Dec 2nd, 6 pm.

Ellen Susan is the person occasionally referred to on this site, as well as in Letters From New Orleans, as E; that is to say: my wife. The images in “Soldier Portraits” were made using 19th-century process called wet-plate collodion, and for this project has made images of soldiers mostly from the 3rd Infantry Division of the Army, which is partly based near where we now live, in Savannah. A number of these soldiers have since deployed to Iraq, in some cases for the second or third time.

Obviously we’ll be in New Orleans for this. You or your N.O. friends should stop by the show.

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I’m very excited to report that I recently had the opportunity to guest-host my favorite music podcast, The Sounds In My Head, normally hosted by Daniel Dunham. Naturally I took that opportunity, and filled my entire episode with versions of “SJI.” As of Monday November 19, that is available here. Check it out!

If you’re coming to this site after having listened to the podcast, then maybe you’ve arrived here to find one or more of the links I talked about, or maybe just to gawk at my weirdness. The most important link is this one, to my essay about “St. James Infirmary.” It should be plenty of information for anybody curious about my interest in the tune, and its history. The essay also appears in my book Letters from New Orleans.

Anyway, here’s a slightly out of date “Buyer’s Guide” I once put together; I’m guessing that Daniel’s links on the Sounds in My Head site will be better if you’re trying to figure out which of the versions I played on the show can be easily bought via iTunes or some other source. Also: Here’s a roundup of some other old versions you can stream online for free.

Finally, I also recommend this interview with Mr. Robert W. Harwood, who has done amazing research on “SJI” and has given me many great tips and suggestions and feedback over the years that I’ve been noodling on the subject.

Below is a list of what’s on the episode, including the “talkover” music that runs while I blather on, and song-specific links. Now if you haven’t listened, then don’t skip ahead, because it will ruin everything! Oh, okay, do what you want. (more…)

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