At the intersection of Law and Desire Streets in New Orleans lies what once was the legendary Club Desire. Important in the 1940s and 1950s, jazz and rhythm and blues greats played there, including Louie Armstrong, Fats Domino, Count Basie, Billie Holliday, and a young Ray Charles. While this historic Club had already closed, Hurricane Katrina further devastated it in 2005. Club Desire now lies in a state of total destruction.
In 2008, I went to New Orleans, and I found Club Desire. Curiosity drew me to look more closely at the large and beautiful building. I first noticed anti-FEMA graffiti on its walls and then, the open door. I entered the building.
Walking through what can only be described as toxic wreckage to photograph what remained of the glass brick walls, landscape wall paintings, and wrought iron balconies of Club Desire, I wondered about what it had been and what it would become. I could tell that I was witnessing the loss of an important cultural treasure. When I returned home, I researched its history.
I hope these photographs serve as a small, yet important, reminder of the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as well as an illustration of the still unfinished work and the continuing need for resources to rebuild the great City of New Orleans. I also hope these photographs raise consciousness about the Upper Ninth Ward community where Club Desire stands and help promote the Club’s revival. Community members would like to save this piece of history by turning Club Desire into a community center.