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Chez Heinz: 1936

January 1936. "Negro house in New Orleans, Louisiana." 8x10 inch nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the U.S. Resettlement Administration. View full size.

January 1936. "Negro house in New Orleans, Louisiana." 8x10 inch nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the U.S. Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Living like this today

You obviously haven't taken a trip to the inner city of some of America's larger cities. This house is in good condition compared to some that I have seen in urban America. America still has many people living in poverty.

It's about poverty

If I lived in a house like this, I might be resentful about someone wanting to take a picture of it. Let's hope that people are not still living like this today! By the way -- I grew up in a community in North Carolina where there were lots of houses equivalent to this.

Porch Sitting

Being from this area and state, porch sitting is quite a common occurence. You will frequently find people just sitting on their porch watching passersby. If you don't have a porch, a nice shade tree will work just as well. It is a real good day when a friend drops by to sit and drink coffee, tea, etc. and have a game of cards. As far as religious belief, the Amish religion is not something we see in our area. However in New Orleans there is alot of Voodoo practiced. I do not believe that this is the case here, however just someone who does not like to have their picture taken. My father-in-law is one of those people. If you bring out a camera, he will leave the room before you have a chance to photograph him. This can make for very frustrating holiday's especially when you are trying to preserve memories for your children. Also makes it hard when preparing obituaries once the person dies. You often see very old photos of the deceased in our papers.

Perhaps It is None of those

It could simply be a slice of life. The distance from the house. The blurry woman as she is going into the house on the left while her friend stops to say something. Also look at the children. They are looking out. The man simply may be just too hot facing the noon sun.

I think you are missing the obvious

If you look closer you will see that the women at the bottom left is blurry as she is going into the house while being talked to by her friend. The man may simply just be avoiding the heat of the noonday sun. The children are all looking out on the porch to the right. Even though it is true that many Amish believed that if your picture is taken then your soul is "trapped" or taken away, I doubt this is the case here. Just a slice of life. People just going about living at the time.


Some people have religious beliefs that do not allow them to be photographed. This would not be uncommon for this area and era.

Look closely

You'll see that more than one person has their back to the camera. There is even one hiding behind the pillar on the left side. I think it's pretty obvious they don't want their picture taken.

Or maybe

Or maybe he doesn't like staring into the sun.

Somebody didn't want their picture taken

There's a man on the front porch in a rocker facing the building. Shy or in time out?

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