Cypress Knees, Lake Fausse Pointe, Louisiana, 1995
pigment ink print
image 22 x 15
"The past isn't dead; it isn't even past."
Since 1995, I have been photographing the culture, history and landscape of one of America's most distinct and anomalous regions, Southern Louisiana. A French and Spanish colony until 1803, its Creole inhabitants resisted the encroachment of American culture and language well into the 19th Century. Equally obstinate was the region's geography. Consisting mainly of swamps, salt marshes and low-lying prairies, it is hard to imagine a more inhospitable place for 18th Century colonists attempting to re-create European civilization. In their struggle against hurricanes, floods, snakes, insects, disease, heat and humidity, French and Spanish settlers had to draw upon the survival skills of their African slaves and of the people who were native to the area. All three groups intermingled and a unique hybrid culture was born.
- Joel Pickford