The Neighborhood

Mardi Gras Indian Queen

Black Masking Indians.

I made this photograph on a Super Sunday celebration, on the Westbank. The name Westbank means the west side of the Mississippi River. Parts of the area are still considered to be part of New Orleans.

I made this picture after photographing two second lines, jumping in my car, taking the bridge across the river and just managing to catch a piece of the parade. I’m lucky that I made it at all. I always get lost over there. I think I was there for less than a half hour.

The Law

The question was raised again in comments about asking permission when I made the picture of the two men hugging.

I said, in a word, no.

Please try to understand this.

Anybody standing, hugging, dancing, running or doing anything else has no expectation of privacy in a public place. That’s black letter law.

Expecting a photographer to ask the question and inserting himself into the scene creates the condition of prior restraint… against himself. That’s discussed in the First Amendment of The United States Constitution. There can be no prior restraint. It also creates conditions that could potentially undermine that same amendment.

I could go on.

I could ask why anybody would want to limit potential coverage of any event, except if they were trying to create a dictatorial situation.

The same person who asked about permission brought up the canard about police using facial recognition software.


Most police departments do not have the resources to run that search unless they were looking for somebody in particular. They also know that the blow back from arresting protesters willy nilly would be swift and nasty.

That issue was created online as a kind of fake news. Lazy reporters and lazier editors published as if it were true. It’s been debunked just about everywhere.

I promised that I wouldn’t talk about politics or controversial issues, but between questions here and dealing with the same silliness on Facebook, enough is enough.

Trust me when I tell you that when I started doing my work in 1974 I had to learn a couple of bits of law concerning copyright and privacy. I have two attorneys that I can contact for clarification should laws change or be interpreted differently.

Stay safe. Enjoy the leftovers.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

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