Tom Knudsen of The Doobie Brothers died yesterday. I listen to them now and then these days, but boy did the 1970s come flooding back. I lived in the Bay Area in those days. I went to college in San Jose. I lived in a neighborhood called The Rose Garden until I moved to the mountains and lived in Felton. That was a short trip to Santa Cruz, where there was all kinds of music. And, hippies. And, color. And, other stuff.
I liked The Catalyst, a small two story club. The Doobie Brothers hadn’t quite broken out yet so they played there. Tickets didn’t cost much so I went a lot, with friends, by myself, it didn’t matter. I saw some great musicians and listened to some amazing music.
The Doobies were one of them. Sometimes I sat in the balcony and looked down on them. Sometimes I wandered around the floor taking pictures. They got used to seeing me. I gave them prints — film days, remember — and in exchange they let me stand on the stage.
Remember what I once wrote about being generous with your pictures of your subjects. Without your subjects you don’t have any pictures.
That works. Sometimes, it really works.
I just read a great story about a guy who couldn’t bring a camera into a venue to take pictures of his favorite band. Instead, he threw a roll of film on the stage with a note attached to it. The band did what he asked. They loaded a camera with that roll and took pictures of each other. They had the film developed, printed and sent it back to him.
Isn’t that something?
Anyway, RIP Tom. Thank you for the memories.
Meanwhile, the picture.
The location is a factory that manufactures I forget what. They are located in the Ninth Ward, but in a place that most people don’t think fo as the Ninth Ward. The neighborhood gets flooded with almost every big storm, but somehow the water flows around the factory.
Oh yeah. Now I remember what they make.
Remember, New Orleans is located in a large military zone. All five of the branches are here. Five? Yes, there is a big Coast Guard base on the West Bank.
Every now and then a freight train rolls through New Orleans and other suburban towns carrying tanks and armored personnel carriers and humvees. The usual subjects start posting things like, “Oh my God, the army is coming to take over New Orleans.” They do this Every. Damn. Time.
No, they aren’t.
New Orleans just isn’t worth the effort.
The military vehicles are being shipped down river to St. Bernard Parish where there is a company called FMC. There, the tanks and all the rest are either repaired, stored or scrapped. They do it in plain sight. You can see it from the road. Some of the Abrams main battle tanks are shot, burned and scarred. The technical term for this is shot to hell.
FMC also makes street sweepers and garbage trucks.
So it goes.