In Over New Orleans, photographer David King Gleason creates a breathtaking aerial mosaic of the Crescent City—a composite portrait that is at once panoramic and intimate, dramatic and subtle. Working from the skies, Gleason reveals every aspect of the city from the familiar streetcars and wrought-iron balconies to less celebrated views of the Faubourg Marigny, the Dixie Brewery on Tulane Avenue, and the palatial residences that overlook Lake Pontchartrain.
From high overhead, Gleason's camera captures the dynamism of the Central Business District and the broad sweep of the docks that lie along the grat bend of the Mississippi. Closing in, he reveals the lush courtyards of the French Quarter and the great mansions of the Garden District. Mapping the city's environs, Gleason shows the turbid Mississippi where it meets the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway leading off into ta morning mist, and the cluster of chemical plants that have found their place on the river amid the swampland and graceful antebellum plantation homes.
These photographs reveal the diverse urban fabric of New Orleans with a drama that can seldom be approached at street level. The narrow streets of the French Quarter give way to the bustle of Canal Street and the bluntly modern towers of Poydras Street; the Iberville Housing Project is revealed wedged in a netherworld between the Saint Louis No. 2 Cemetery and the sculptured terrain of Louis Armstrong Park; the Superdome sits at the hub of a network of highways; and the Mississippi, girded with shipping, is seen as the city's backbone—its presence felt in nearly every image.
Cities are usually seen from above only fleetingly, from airplane windows, or partially, from the upper floors of tall buildings. In Over New Orleans, David King Gleason offers us the opportunity to linger above one of the world's most fascinating cities, to contrast its charms and raw vigor, to see it whole in all its complexity.
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