Monday, July 25, 2011

Mysticism and Mounds - in and near Transylvania, Louisiana

 Years ago,  I got chills when I passed the Zocalo (once the site of the Aztec capital  Tenochtitlan) in Mexico City. My first stop in L.A.?  The La Brea Tar Pits.  NYC?  Headed straight for the Museum of Natural History.  I guess you could say I enjoy learning about previous cultures and civilizations.

 Louisiana has a rich history of ancient civilizations and mound builders.  The mounds at Watson Brake, near Monroe, and the mounds at LSU in Baton Rouge were built  around 5,400 years ago - long before the Egyptian Pyramids.  And it just so happens that Poverty Point,  the site of  Louisiana's 3,500 year old Indian Mounds, is located just a stone's throw from Delhi AND Transylvania,
 So off I went...
  Poverty Point was built around 1600 B.C.  It contains 6 concentric ridges, a plaza and several large mounds. The largest being Mound A, also known as the "Bird Mound" as its unusual shape gives it the appearance of a bird effigy.  

I apparently decided to visit on the hottest day of the year...the tram wasn't running, so I did my own solo driving tour.  This worked out well as I could climb the steps up the 72 ft mound, (the original height of 100 ft. has been lowered due to natural erosion) not once, but twice (I forgot Betty the Bullhorn in the car...)

The path to the top of the Bird Mound

View from the top, looking over one of the 'wings'

Bird's eye view of the sky

The trees have been cut down from this mound in order to preserve it from further erosion.  But plenty remain on the grounds.

The exact purposes of the mounds are not known.  The Bird Mound is thought to be a temple mound.  It certainly is impressive given the fact that only baskets were used to transport the dirt to create this large structure.  It speaks to the strength and spirit of the culture.  I thoroughly enjoyed this site and look forward to returning if only just to soak in a little more of its spirit...but now off to more enchanting places...

The view from the road to Transylvania pretty much looks like this:

LOTS of corn fields.

 I did have a photographic angle for Transylvania - the famed (yes, famed) water tower, with the bat on it..

The Post Office:

and anything with the town name on it:

(Okay, the school was kinda creepy and cliche - i could sooo see Dracula going to school here as a youngster.)

But I nearly slammed on my questionable brakes when I saw this:

Ancient Mounds?  In Transylvania?  Of course there are.  They were built around 1400 A.D. according to the marker.  I shouldn't be surprised, Louisiana has nearly 700 mound sites, most of which sit on private land, like the ones here in Transylvania.  It was more of a pleasant surprise.    One that, in keeping with the theme of this trip, keeps me inspired.

I could tell more stories of Transylvania, like how I kept getting chased off the road by this giant tractor-bat thing, but I think some stories are meant to be sung....

Liverpool (LA)

**The few facts I list here about Poverty Point come from its Welcome Center which houses artifacts such as stone tools, earthen cookware, and beads. It also illustrates the speculations and facts of its history.  Well worth a visit! **

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Start Spreadin' the Splendor - in Delhi, Louisiana

So....I set out last week to see the world and my first stop was Delhi, LA.
 I'm starting this project with no preconceived notion of what it is I want to photograph - my only requirement is to make it to my intended destinations. I thought it best to let the project sort of unfold as I went along. I love photographing small town landscapes, so it is entirely possible that that would become my main focus.   I pictured many of my photographs looking like this:

Of course I will have plenty of those photographs from my travels, in fact I already do.
But I almost bypassed Delhi, for no other reason than it was a wee bit out of the way.   I was on a mission to get up to Transylvania, and true to form, had left my house much later than planned. But I was enjoying the ride so I decided to go ahead and visit that great land, and I am soooo glad I did, because Delhi is soooo Button Cute.

I spent most of my time gazing at and photographing two buildings - First Baptist Church and the Cave Theatre, both on Broadway...interesting...

self-portrait attempt

The Cave Theatre

I got quite a sense of grandeur and welcome as I photographed the First Baptist Church, on Broadway, in Delhi.  Where am I again?    

So, there you have it, Delhi, LA - this is what I was drawn to.  Artistic and Spiritual Centers. Go Figure.  There is so much more to see and photograph, but Transylvania was  a callin'.  
The last shot I took of the church includes a message from, yes, their electronic sign:

"This is the day that....."

And so begins the Inspirational Portion of my World Tour.  It was to become a theme among the other places I visited, to be blogged about at a later date.  This is the day that .....what?  I begin a fake World Tour for no real reason?  Or is this the day that I begin to just ...see what happens. Nice philosophy, if I can hang with that.  

But never fear, I still have my eye out for places like this gem:

Hope you enjoy the photos!
- Natasha

Next Up:

Ancient Ruins that pre-date the Egyptian Pyramids 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nattie Concepts World Tour 2011

That’s right, I’m taking my nattie concepts on the Road!   My songs, stories, and photographs will find new inspiration in far away places  like Paris TX and Moscow TN.  This is a photographic tour - an occasional road trip over the next coming months,  as well as a musical journey. I'll be snapping photographs and collecting stories for future ditties, while stopping off for the occasional open mike when/where cities permit.

It’s only fitting that the first stop on my World Tour is the exotic locale of Algiers LA!
In the months before I was born at Southern Baptist Hospital,  my parents and sister moved from the Irish Channel to Algiers, on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, so it appears I have been a World Traveler from birth. 

(I am unsure of how long we lived there, but the street we lived on reminds me of Covington, the town where we later moved and where my sister, brother, and I were raised.)

The fact that it was my first home, and its close proximity to my current home, made Algiers a natural choice for the first photographic stop on my World Tour.  I expected to drive across the river, find my old street, cruise around the point, maybe snap some pics of the skyline, and be done with it.  But instead, I found a whole other unique and interesting world.

There were markets....

..and religious centers...

and even enthralling ancient hieroglyphics!

As a neighborhood in one of the countries most fascinating cities, Algiers retains its small town feel.  

And that could possibly be what I am after, finding the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary small towns.  Or maybe it's to confirm that the world is as only as big as our perspectives, and the extraordinary can be found right in our own backyards - if only we are open to seeing it.  Or maybe not. Maybe it's just a road trip. I suppose I will find out along the way.  

Next up:

World Tour
Transylvania (LA)
Delhi (LA)
Venice (LA)
                                  Algiers (LA) - open mike @ the Old Point Bar 7/13

US Tour
Jackson, MS  - open mike!

Stay Tuned and Check the Blog for photographic Updates!