A Hale County Pilgrimage

Last year this time I was headed down south to spend the spring in ole New Orleans, a place I still think about daily. But on my way down, on Mardi Gras day as it happened, I had something I needed to do. After looking at maps leading up to my trip from Eastern Tennessee to Louisiana I had realized that I was going to be headed straight through, if I were a bird anyway, Hale County Alabama. It just so happens that the photographer William Christenberry had been a major influence of mine over the year prior and Christenberry's work has been based in this county for the better part of his career. Hale County, where the photographer grew up, was also the subject of that Fortune Magazine article turned infamous documentary project, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by the writer James Agee and the photographer Walker Evans. And though Christenberry's work gave me a pretty incredible glimpse of the poorest county in Alabama I just had to see it for myself.

So, as the Daffodil bulbs begin to rise from the ground here in Chattanooga, TN, I am reminded of that fertile day headed South. Here are some pictures of that trip.

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