Louis Sahuc’s been taking photographs of New Orleans for almost 50 years.
To be more precise, he’s been shooting pics since May 4, 1970. That’s when he attended a rock concert in City Park, where an early iteration of the Allman Brothers Band performed.
“I was impressed with all the cameras there,” he says. “My girlfriend said that maybe it’s a way to remember what you see, and I thought that was a good idea.”
So he bought a camera, and with some encouragement from friends, a legendary career in photography took off.
He shoots in black and white, and color too. His subject matter is almost exclusively his home town, where his family settled after moving from France in 1830. The French Quarter, in particular, is his chosen focus.
“I would like to share New Orleans with the world, because not everybody gets to come here,” he says. “In many ways it hasn’t changed much since I grew up, and in some ways it’s changed a lot – but it’s still one of the magical cities of the world.”
He tells people jokingly that when he was a kid his mom and sister dragged him around with them while they were shopping. “I’d go into stores and there were Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and all those women’s magazines with great photography in them,” he says. “They really influenced me subconsciously even though I never thought then about a career in photography.”
In the decades since the seventies, he’s shot hundreds of thousands of photos, if not a million.
Photography’s like music, he says – he likes all kinds. “I see everything and I want to photograph everything – I want the spontaneity and creativity,” he says. “I like the fact that I can go do a fashion shoot one day and then something industrial the next day and then the environment the next day.”
But mostly, his work reflects a deep appreciation for one of America’s most intriguing and aesthetically exciting cities.
“It’s a kind of romantic journalism,” he says. “It’s like love letters from New Orleans.”
And who could resist those kind of missives?
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