Well, we did it. 50-some people from all over the US converged on the battered little town of Bay St Louis, Mississippi to call a corner of a baseball field home base for a week. We were stunned by the devastation all around, awed by the grace and openness of the people, and honored to be able to bring them some fun and entertainment.
The New Old Time Chauatauqua brought 25 years of experience and a range of members from the founders to their performing adult children together for a new experience of taking the show outside the Northwest and into an area that truly had need of distraction and joyous energy.
The group performed for the local community, at several relief centers in Mississippi and New Orleans, at a senior center and a school. In some areas where there are truly no other forms of entertainment to be had, we brought a little bit of light, and hopefully inspired a few kids and grown-ups alike.
I was there documenting the tour, and have around 2500 digital images (and some film) to sort through. I’ll let you know when they’re available!
There were some strange and wonderful experiences, like having the group come together for a Passover seder in our home field, complete with matzoh and specialties straight from Zabar’s in New York (via the Karamazov bus), and a few days later going to church to hear the local gospel choir rise up in song. In between, the band (with everyone else flitting around) had its own religious experience marching and playing through the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Heather Weihl has published a journal following the tour through the week, complete with several of my photos, so check out the Jambalaya Journal for the details!
More on my trip soon!