Against the unavoidable

Finally caught a break in the weather and was out and about in a farm area called Caspiana this morning. Rural farmlands in Louisiana are littered with small abandoned homes like the one pictured above: a main room, brick chimney & wall in the middle, and then a small kitchen area on the other side. The inside of this one (pics to eventually follow) was covered with newspaper clippings from wall to wall and all over the ceiling. Dates on these clippings ranged from the 1940s to 1990s (1993 was most recent found but by no means was it an exhaustive search). There was shotgun blasts throughout the inside and outside. The more I tried to imagine its history, the stranger it became. For starters, I’m not sure of a non-neurotic reason to wallpaper the entire inside of a place with newspaper clippings. The only practical reason I could come up with was for some insulation means, but that doesn’t sound likely. The clippings from the 90s baffled me too. I find it hard to believe it was habitable in the 1990s. Then there is the issue with the clippings from the 40s. It’s likely the same person(s) that pasted the 90s would have logically done the others. Whether it was at once or over time still points back to the question of why. The shotgun blasts are likely from hunters since the house sits a few hundred yards into a rye grass field. A makeshift deer stand is feasible although I question the choice of shooting in such close quarters, and for that reason, I’m guessing younger hunters have been by the house. I could go on for pages about the weirdness of this place.

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8 thoughts on “Against the unavoidable

  1. This is so interesting with your story that accompanies. You took a great photo filled with mystery and I can hardly wait to see your indoor pics. Is this close to civilization, like walking distance? Owner of property? Sure would be interesting to find out the history. Love all those clear gnarly weeds in the foreground and I’m trying to see in that door! 🙂

    • It’s about 10 miles outside of town. The area is historically old plantation lands, and many of these abandoned houses were likely built originally by sharecroppers. If I had to guess, I’m betting it was built in the 1910s to 20s. I have no idea who currently owns the land. It was corn field near the end of summer and is now just growing rye grass. But like I mentioned earlier, almost every spread of crop lands like these will 1 to 2 on them, and for whatever reason, no one ever seems compelled to tear them down. They just farm around them.

    • Thanks, and thanks for stopping by! I should be posting a few more over the week. At the bottom is a link to my Flickr account. I usually only post my favorites of a subject shoot here and then send my spillage over there.

  2. Beautiful photo!
    We have this same situation all over southern Indiana. News papers on and in the wall, mostly to block drafts and slight insulation. Shotgun and rifle blast that go completely through the walls, mostly used for targets tacked to the outside walls, but who knows, that’s what I find completely fascinating about these old places, the story and history behind theme. Very Cool!

    • Thanks! No doubt these places are full of story, real or imagined. In one corner there was a small heap of wigs. They looked cheap like those in Halloween stores. Or just inexpensive ones that have decayed somewhat. Either way, how that group of wigs found its way into an abandoned house grown over by thicket, in the middle of nowhere, purposely kept together in a pile, for whatever reason…well…you get the point 🙂

  3. Excellent shot. Great perspective, tones and treatment – it feels so immersive, like you’re approaching the hut through the grass. I literally just read Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road a week or two ago, which this image makes me think of.

    • Thanks. And yeah, it is a kind of Jeeter-esque shack. 🙂 I’ve always been a fan of grotesque American southern literature and as I’ve dropped in on these crumbly, forgotten houses, it really helps get the sense of what those writers were looking at.

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