Justin Lundgren, a resident of New Orleans for the past ten years, found inspiration for his photography in his adopted city and its festivities. The images reproduced here are from his art project "Greetings From New Orleans." Just months after the project was initiated, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. His images of Mardi Gras remain spectacularly celebratory but have an added poignancy as documentation of a bygone era.
"Now that the city has been reshaped by this disaster," Lundgren writes, "I'm left wondering if the quirkiness of its people and the physical charm of the landscape will be irreparably harmed. I look at these images now and feel privileged to have been witness to the pre-Katrina New Orleans. I can only hope that the diaspora will reverse over the next few months to reinvigorate this beloved and beleaguered town."
Lundgren's photos of Mardi Gras have been paired with excerpts from the poet Andrei Codrescu book of essays of his hometown New Orleans, Mon Amour.
Reconstruction after the Civil War promised black citizens of the United States equal rights under the law and opportunities unheard of during the slavery era. A group of powerful white New Orleans' residents would fight the changes and win.