Railroads represent an integral part of the growth that took place in New Orleans. Many of the towns surrounding New Orleans got their start as train stations. Railroads changed the course of growth for the entire United States.
The idea for the Huey P Long Bridge began in 1915, when Governor Huey P. Long saw a need for a railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi to make train transport more easy and efficient. Before the bridge, the trains had to be carried across the river, a few cars at a time, on a ferry.
Engineers could not figure out how to build a bridge of such magnitude across a river whose bedrock was 1000 feet below the surface of silt and sand. Finally, in the 1930’s, they discovered that making the feet of the bridge very wide would create enough stability for the bridge to be built. The bridge was then finished in 1935. The lanes of the bridge, before the recent improvements, were only 9 feet wide, with no shoulders, because the cars being driven in 1935 were Model T’s.
The engineers also miscalculated as the span was built from each side. The two sides did not meet evenly in the middle and drivers had to weave quickly to the left at that spot where the bridges were joined at a diagonal.
This picture is of the original bridge which was completely redesigned and widened from its original 18 foot width to a width of 43 feet. wide. The Huey P. Long Bridge was the first bridge to span the Mississippi River in New Orleans. It’s among fewer than 250 American Society of Civil Engineering National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks including the U.S. Capitol Building, the Eiffel Tower and the Panama Canal.
Multiple image photograph created using film, printed on durable canvas (no framing needed), or as signed limited editions on archival museum weight paper. Image size of limited editions include minimum one inch white border. Canvas available in custom sizes on request.
12" x 24"
Shipping cost: $10.00
My mother always told me I was an observer. She said I would sit still for hours, just watching the world go by. I got my first camera at age 12 but I did not realize the power of photography until I got a chance to participate in a photographic research project on killer whales. There, I began learning the power that photographs held.
I ended up in California. I met a master photographer and printer named Robert Cavalli. I begged him for a job for over a year. Finally, he hired me and taught me everything I know about the possibilities of developing and printing all kinds of black and white film. He was an amazing teacher and I could not have paid for a better education in any school. He was a painter with light and his passion for the medium transferred to me.
Developing my own personal style began when I had to ride a train each day for over 120 miles. It was a unique view of the world. The landscape moving while I sat still, suspended in a metal box. Images scrolled by, some just a flash, some slowly disappearing from view. It became a challenge to capture these visions.
When I reached the end of my trip, my mind always created a single giant mental canvas on which the journey was etched. All that I had experienced was reflected on my mind's eye including what I had seen and feelings about the journey. I realized that this happens when we travel through or visit a place and I began to wonder how I could convey this in an image. I began to collaborate with Robert and it was from our collaborations and years of practice that I was able to develop the image style I use today.
I call them “Crossings”. They represent the images left in our mind’s eye that form after we visit or travel through a place, our inner, giant, mental canvas.
Rebecca McNeill Meyers is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Northshore.
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