Day 4 of the Hwy 80 project
Curiosity got the best of me yet again, The Harvest.
I had been sent to the Louisiana Delta by a Vietnam Veteran in Vicksburg (his portrait and story later) He told me about a large co-op cotton gin that was out in the Delta. He said I could find some interesting people to photograph out there. I pulled in, went into the office and was greeted like family. Some of the places I stopped along this journey seemed very standoffish and uninterested. Not Louisiana though. I found them as a whole, the nicest most hospitable folks I was to encounter on this trip. They said they would gather up 3 or 4 of the folks that work there and see if they would be ok with a portrait.
William arrived first. I asked him how long he had been working here and he replied with a grin “a long time”. What’s your job? “I’m what you call an all around guy. I can do it all. its a good place and a good living, when it aint muddy.” Rain/mud means no paycheck. I asked him what he could hold that shows what he does and he grabbed a pile of raw cotton. There were SO many more questions I wanted to ask him but he had to go put out another fire.
I had previously asked the owners if they knew any local butchers or anyone interesting in the area. They pointed me just down the road to Keith (his portrait and story later) who in turn pointed me to Andy seen here with his huge sack of nuts. (he said it, not me!)
Andy has a large Pecan orchard and processing outfit, as well as being the county Sheriff appointed sniper. He gave me the rundown of how the pecan farming works, from picking them up with a crazy rubber fingered machine , to sorting, to grading, to identifying and finally to tasting! This was the best part of course. I had no idea how many different varieties of Pecans there were. He grows 14 different types right there.
Oh and as a side note, they were very pleased that a “Norther” pronounced them PEECON and not PEECAN. Thank you Andy for your hospitality.
There is not only connection through community here but also through the harvest. They both hold their gold, their livelihood.