Laissez les bons temps rouler, photo essay by Marie-Laure Louis
[L]aisser les bons temps rouler means to let the good times roll which is the motto of New Orleans. Through the fragments of daily life in New Orleans we can feel the inhabitants’ optimism about the future. Time seems to stop and people live their lives like no Katrina came, like nothing can stop them.
This series is part of a project on New Orleans’ identity. I questioned myself on what it is to be a New Orleanian. The project shows the Crescent City in a different perspective, far from old stereotypes it is famous for. Laisser les bons temps rouler captures the good times in New Orleans through fragments of ordinary life often forgotten. In 2005, Katrina hit the Deep South of the USA. New Orleans was alone. We discovered an alternate America inside America. Yet we still crave for all the stereotypes locking up the Crescent City in an imaginary bubble. I wanted to captivate the strength, the resilience and the wish for youth, or renewal, the city cultivates. I feel that the culture and resilience of New Orleans are its power.
Q&A with Marie-Laure Louis
Photography is a kind of therapy. I cling to the camera in periods of questions. It makes me go towards others to learn and understand.
Photography and writing…
Photography and writing are intertwined. I travel through literature and images. Books often inspire me to go further. Personally, reading any Kerouac or Eddy L. Harris is an advertisement for travelling. I like to use quotations of several books and authors to explain some of my photographs when it comes to emphasize on a particular aspect.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
Robert Frank ! His photographs embody the aspect of discovery of new territory. He knows how to share the atmosphere, the tense moment like in the Trolley photograph in New Orleans or the Elevator girl. I am quite fond of the gritty works of Anders Petersen, Michael Ackerman and Paulo Nozolino too…
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in the island of Mauritius in the middle of the Indian Ocean and left at 19 for France. I was always fascinated by France’s and the USA’s culture. Since I have been moving a lot and living in different places as well as being from a multicultural family I feel drawn to identity matters.
Marie-Laure Louis (website), 1984. Born and raised in the island of Mauritius, Marie-Laure now lives in France. Her work focuses on the notions of being, place and feeling known as atmosphere. At 19 she went to study Semiotics at the University of Besançon (France) and took courses at the School of Fine Arts of Besançon. She then studied American culture at the University of Rennes II (France). In 2014 she received three grants for her project on New Orleans.