This pictorial captures New Orleans in all of its pre-Katrina flamboyance and individuality. Author Nicholas Costarides and Mary Richardson wandered around the Big Easy, snapping pictures of residents' bikes. What sounds like a (pardon the expression) pedestrian project became a celebration of the city's biwheeled diversity. Poet Andrei Codrescu provides a powerful, nostalgic introduction to this unique paperback.
Nostalgia for how the city was prior to Katrina, and hope for those ways to return.
- Batty, Mark Publisher
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.50(d)
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New Orleans' Bicycles based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This small scale but very heady book published by the always excellent firm of Mark Batty Publisher is not only an entertaining, beautifully designed and produced series of images of bicycles, but it is also a cultural study of a city antiquarian in nature and hanging on to a rich past by its fingertips. Photographers and writers Nicholas Costarides and Mary Richardson wandered this great mecca for bohemians for a year and a half - before Katrina's heinous visitation - falling in love with the city's preoccupation with the bicycle, the primary mode of transportation in this flat and poverty stricken lady of a city. They discovered that not only were bicycles a proven means of peripatetic survival but that they also became symbols for the people who owned them, people whose pride and idiosyncrasies flavor the appearance of these timeworn bi-pedals, releasing torrents of information and fantasy to the searching eye and mind. Mary Richardson opens the book with a comment 'On Spinning Wheels' which reads like an extended poem. 'These are not just bicycles, they are extensions of personalities, tainted with the grime of the city. And they are individuals in the rawest sense'...'It's a life that can't exist outside the schizophrenia of unlimited limitations. New Orleans bicycles: the crippled potential, the lust to keep pushing down the same old streets, the looks of peace as they're chained and bound to their city, and the knowledge that it's just a short distance to their destination, but lack of motion can be paralyzing.' The book is then graced with the formal foreword by Andrei Codrescu, the author 'New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty years of Writing from the City' which segues into countless photographs of some of the strangest, most humorous, sentimentally stained bicycles imaginable. Costarides and Richardson have photographed panoramas of sidestreets, bicycles chained to posts, intimate details of the decor and personality imposed on these time honored modes of transportation, and the peculiar accoutrements that offer such strong personalities to the bikes and their owners. The photographs are richly colorful and immaculately reproduced on quality paper. The design of the book is by Costarides and is not only of the highest quality of concept and execution, but it also uses some fascinating imprints on the pages of writing that subtly introduces the grime of the city we are about to visit. The book ends with an Epilogue entitled 'On Katrina' and leaves the reader with the sense of resilience that New Orleans will never die but will prosper BECAUSE of the tragedy. It is as moving as the book is entertaining. This is a superb character study presented in the top of the class manner. Bravo! Grady Harp