Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Interlude: PFSTL Top Ten, #6. St. Louis Place

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Photo Flood Saint Louis turns four this August.  This post is a continuation of a countdown to commemorate this exciting milestone.

Depending upon your point of view, St. Louis Place is currently either the city’s most threatened neighborhood or the one most likely to save its economy.  Of course, the reason being is that this north side gem was selected as the new home of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly located in the south side’s Kosciusko neighborhood); at issue here is that, although the NGA adds millions of much needed revenue dollars to the city’s coffers, it requires razing close to 75% of St. Louis Place via eminent domain for the space needed.  :0

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Granted, most of the area in the site plan is either already cleared of buildings or contains buildings that are abandoned or in some state of disrepair, there are quite a few single-family homes especially, that are occupied and very well cared for that are now threatened (check out PFSTL member and STL Mag writer, Chris Naffziger’s article for more).  Furthermore, and possibly most troubling for me, is that there is a homegrown revitalization already happening in the neighborhood along St. Louis Avenue.  This is remarkable because most of the time, when we talk about neighborhoods coming back to life, it is due to the work of “interveners” (people from outside the neighborhood, physically, culturally, racially, etc., relocating there because of cheap rents and untapped potential, which is true of St. Louis Place’s eastern neighbor, Old North St. Louis).  But this is not so here, where the Griot Museum of Black History, the Frederick A. Douglass Museum of African-American Vernacular Photography, and others are homegrown to the neighborhood, and we really should consider the implications of placing limitations on that.

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Right now, St. Louis Place offers so much to see and photograph.  On this visit, I walked from the northwestern border of the neighborhood to its southeastern one, and if you plan to do the same, you will no doubt encounter dynamically new imagery throughout the route.  We were there pretty early, but even so, we met several several residents and all were friendly, if a little curious.

With me on the Flood was my Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D lens and my Nikon D200 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens.

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If you are interested in becoming a member, head on over to photofloodstl.org, or visit our page on Facebook and let us know!  As always, it is free to join and free to participate.

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