Note to readers: This series features the behind the photograph stories of images from the past year. These are not always my best photos but they are photos that have some meaning to me. Of course, sometimes that meaning is simply the photo was one of my best images.
This year, Twenty Moments begins on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Mark Edwards, Michael Casagrande and I arrived the evening before the team arrived. We went to America’s most notorious street for some music and flavor. While we wandered down the mostly empty street, the game week crowd was still a few days away, I saw these guys witnessing beneath a big cross.
Back when I was a little boy, my dad had an LP from a guy named Bob Harrington. He called himself “The Chaplain of Bourbon Street.” As I recall the story, he would go down to Bourbon Street and plunk a big old black Bible down on top of his car and open up shop sharing the gospel with the crowds who came for a decidedly different purpose. I remember the photo on the album, the color of his car and Harrington’s head full of black hair. I don’t know why that stuck with me all through the years. I probably haven’t seen that since I was ten or eleven years old.
So I find myself walking down Bourbon Street on a relatively calm, quiet night and see street preachers at work I find myself back in the living room next to that huge console stereo listening to that album of Bob Harrington’s. It was a nice moment for me, a touch point with my youth. Amazingly, when I was a small child, I remember a family trip to New Orleans. My dad was a preacher too and he took us down to look over a seminary he was thinking of attending. He never ended up going to the school and I didn’t go back to the city until I was an adult.
New Orleans is a peculiar place for me. I have been there several times now for bowl games, trade shows and even to play in the flag football national tournament. I love to eat there but I don’t love the city. I guess I am not much of a party guy, at least not in the New Orleans style, so the main offering of the Big Easy isn’t exactly in my wheel house. My other memories of New Orleans mostly involve profuse sweating. I have never been to a more inhospitable place in terms of the climate.
The other memory I associate with this photo is sheer exhaustion. This BCS week was the most exhausting week I can ever remember. I left there completely drained. People, my lovely wife included, think I go off on some kind of mini-vacation. If you like working twelve and fourteen hour days then yeah, it is a real pleasure trip. All thing being equal; however, I am looking forward to this years exhausting trip to Miami!