Pirate Alley Fashion Shoot

In the French Quarter, in New Orleans, there is a little alley, only one block long, between the Saint Louis Cathedral and the Old Spanish Governors Mansion, the Cabildo. It runs from Chartres Street at Jackson Square to Royal Street. The alley is intersected by Cabildo Alley and it continues past the Spanish Dungeon and then The Faulkner House, where he wrote his first novel.

It’s called Pirate Alley, or Pirate’s alley – nobody really knows how it came on that name, despite many legends.

Even though now I realize it is a famous spot – I first stumbled on it by accident trying to fight my way through the French Quarter Mardi Gras crowds. It is always a quiet little lane surprisingly isolated from the hub and the bub of the tourist crowds bursting in Jackson Square or the never ending party jostling the other French Quarter Streets. Whenever I’m in the quarter, I try to walk the Pirate Alley.

The other day I was walking and riding the streetcars around the city taking some photographs. I was walking from Canal through the quarter to Frenchman Street and cut through the alley to Jackson Square. I found a photographer and his assistant setting up lights while a few feet down a model was arranging a pile of clothes. They were doing a fashion shoot.

I didn’t stop – I had miles to go before I sleep – but a while later, I looped back through Jackson Square and took a look to see if the fashion shoot was still on.

It was.

(click to enlarge)

Without the portable lights they had, Pirate Alley was a tough place for me to shoot the people doing the shoot. Though a beautiful spot it has bad, uneven light.

I popped my head in and snapped a couple shots. I didn’t take the time it takes to make a good shot – I was more than a little self-conscious – they kept looking at me – I guess my big camera makes me look like a professional photographer (lack of skill isn’t obvious from the outside). I don’t know what the rules of courtesy are when shooting someone shooting someone. Of course, there isn’t any more pubic spot than Pirate Alley – so if you choose that as your location, you get what you get.

16 responses to “Pirate Alley Fashion Shoot

    • For some reason, I’ve stumbled across fashion shoots before. My favorite was an Elle shoot in Central Park… actually, that was a long time ago, now that I think about it.

  1. There’s a fantastic independant/used bookstore in Pirate’s Alley. The guy who owns it has stacks of books in every square inch of the space but if you ask him for a particular title or genera, he can find it instantly. I bought some fairly rare books on typeography there.

    To me the model doesn’t even look cute, too skinny and severe. Guess I’m not their audience. BTW, your pictures are not shoiwing up in email posts but are in the blog.

    • Are you talking about Faulkner House books? I read about it after I came home – or I definitely would have stopped in.

      The model looked pretty good in person, for a fashion model… she was there mostly to show off the clothes.

      I don’t think the images are supposed to show up in the emails… I’ll check into it. They don’t show in my Blackberry app either.

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  5. This is just one photog to another, but a good rule of thumb when shooting over anyone’s shoulder, be it a street fashion shoot or at a wedding, is to wait until there’s a pause in shooting. I used to wait until they had to change the roll, but these days people are always chimping so I find if you’re quick you don’t have to wait too long. Great blog, BTW.

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  8. Hi Bill! I was googling pirates alley to show my mom and came across these pictures and ironically they’re of my fashion shoot! If you wouldn’t mind giving credit to the photographer, Zach Breaux the model, Monet Duplessis and the designer who you noted as the assistant (which is me!) Jordan Novelli- I made all the clothes shot in the shoot… All of my senior thesis projects! Too bad you couldn’t see the finished product because they were beautiful! Hope you enjoyed the shoot while you were here, thanks again!

    • Thanks for the comment – when I get the time I’ll edit the entry and add credit. I seem to run into fashion shoots when I’m wandering around – it always impresses me to see professionals at work.

      Great job on the designing the fashions and on making them too – good luck in the future.

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