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Louisiana Cereal

A contemporary history project by Blake Nelson Boyd

The "Louisiana Cereal" project was initiated as a desire to record the positive life force of the region post Katrina to counterbalance the series of 'romantic' images that proliferated depicting the devastation. These portrayals had lead to an international misconception that New Orleans was still underwater or, even worse, a ghost town.

The 2010 oil spill and unprecedented 2016 flooding further highlights the need to celebrate the significance and diversity of the region and showcase the personalities remarkable in their contribution to this cultural wealth. The collection presents the vitality of the community, rather than its defeat or the romance of its ruin.

"Louisiana Cereal" is an ever-expanding collection of Polaroid portraits of individuals from local iconic institutions, the New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana’s first responders, Louisiana’s infamous politicians, Louisiana’s celebrated chefs, Louisiana’s famous musicians, award winning writers and the international celebrities who have supported the rebuilding. The collection is over 500 compelling individuals and tells many aspects of Louisiana’s recovery from the devastation following Hurricane Katrina, the B.P. disaster, the floods. with hope and commitment.

The series reveals the strength of “family” in Louisiana culture as a number of notable family dynasties are featured. The portraits often also expose the unexpected links between individuals and events that bring unlikely personalities together, such as Dave Eggers and the Zeitouns; James Carville and Bob Livingston; Jessie Holmes (Danziger Bridge victim) and Police Chief Warren C. Riley; Harry Shearer (The Big Uneasy) and Michael Brown.

The camera used for the current documentaries is a Polaroid macro 5. In 2009 Polaroid announced that it was discontinuing production of film, this is poetic in association with the many ends resulting from the 2005 storm. The series is thus also historically significant as one of the last major documentaries with actual film.