Jen Hearn Photography

2 days in the French Quarter

I had a great time in NOLA and the class I took was amazing, but it was the shuttle ride to the airport that will stay with me for life.

My driver picked me up first and so I sat in front and we chatted. He kept slowing down the bus and saying something to people on the street. It seemed odd. I was taking pics of the people he spoke to. The streets in the French Quarter are mostly empty at 8am. After he did this a few times, he said, "I don't know why, but he never wants to eat."

I was confused. So I looked at my camera to see what the person he was talking to looked like. I realized he was homeless and in a bad way.

Then I realized what was happening. The driver was taking sandwiches out of his lunch cooler and offering them to homeless people.

I asked how often he did this and he said every day he drives. I asked how many sandwiches and he said 8, because that's what fits in his cooler.

I tried not to burst into tears, because I cry when something moves me. So we talked and he offered me water. And he was excited for me to take his pic. (I tipped him all the cash I had on me.)

I'm not a fan of pics of homeless people. It feels exploitative to me. But I'm going to include 2 of the images I took, because it was a lesson for me. I took the photos without really looking at the people. I should always look at the people. We should see the people we walk by or take snapshots of.

Thanks Dexter for the bottle of water and for making me sob in the airport when I realized how truly loving and kind you are.