New Orleans flamboyant street culture is also a subject of Ferdinand’s art. World famous for Mardi Gras, in New Orleans parades run throughout the year as Mardi Gras Indian tribes and Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs take over backstreets that most visitors never see. Laissez les bon temps rouler could be an epitaph for every day in the French Quarter, where street musicians, artists, hustling eccentrics, and the homeless weave through hordes of tourists and service industry wage earners. New Orleans near the turn of the Twenty-First Century was Roy Ferdinand’s subject and he studied those streets with an artist’s eye, making well-know characters who walked the Quarter for decades part of the body of his work. “French Quarter Freak Show” is an almost Boschian tableau populated by such locally-famous citizens as Ruthie the Duck Lady, Chicken Man, the Canal Street Preacher, The Bead Lady, Buck Snort the Dancing Dog, Brother Michael, and The Wizard, a.k.a Amzie Adams.
Photos by Bill Sasser