The road to Bohemia is seemingly sparse.
Located about 50 miles Southeast of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, Bohemia lies on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, a short ferry ride from Point ala Hache. (If the ferry was running, that is..)
Getting to Bohemia took some effort. First I got stuck in traffic waiting for a train in the Bywater.
I thought I had the angle for this trip all planned out. I thought I could make some connection about how the artist community in New Orleans keeps migrating further downriver – first it was the French Quarter, then the Marigny, currently the Bywater holds that distinction. I thought it only a matter of time before the artists make it down to Bohemia itself. Hahaha. I even brought Betty the Bullhorn along, the ultimate representative of La Vie Boheme, to further illustrate my point.
|Betty Lives the Bohemian Life 2002|
But as usual, the journey to Bohemia turned out to be much larger than that. I discovered my roots on the way. While my Isleno ancestry, Spanish descendants from the Canary Islands, comes from a settlement called Valenzuela (now Belle Alliance) near Donaldsonville, I thought I'd say hello to my peeps at this Isleno dwelling in St. Bernard Parish.
|Canary Islanders Home|
Then it was off to Bohemia.
It was a simple, yet difficult route – down Hwy 46 to Hwy 39, through Braithewaite and other areas in Plaquemines Parish that were affected by Hurricane Isaac last summer. I didn’t photograph the miles of destruction I saw, but sights like this were not uncommon:
|Houses on Levee|
I drove past Phoenix.
And then continued on Hwy 39.
Finally, I reached Bohemia.
Bohemia is a small, unincorporated town of Plaquemines Parish. It was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The 25 or so homes here show their determination, resilience and spirit. For me, Bohemia was a testament of commitment to living our truth, no matter the circumstances.
There are quite a few Katrina-related articles available online about Bohemia. I had read that the only thing remaining of the brick Civil-War era Baptist chuch, Bethlehem Judea African Church, was its sign. Yet when I reached Bethlehem Lane, there was a new structure in its place.
|Tree & Steeple|
Betty the Bullhorn, along for the ride as a Champion of Living Your Life – no matter how “unconventional” it may seem, was very much moved by the church and, wearing her peace sign outfit, wanted to lend her support.
On Bethlehem Lane, in Bohemia, Louisiana – Betty the Bullhorn shouts out for peace and calm - sometimes much needed when the path isn't always a straight one.
|Betty Shouts Out for Peace|
And you never know where the road will lead you.
Til next time..
all content (c) Natasha Sanchez
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