My Deltaworkers residency started in the desert, in Taos, New Mexico. I decided to ride a motorcycle to New Orleans, half inspired by the 1969 road movie Easy Rider, but mainly because I like the contemplative space riding a motorcycle on one’s own creates.
I was attracted to the Deltaworkers residency program because of the nomadic spirit of the founders. While based in New Orleans, the organisation encourages artists to spread their wings and explore the Southern States. As a radiomaker, my practice depends on throwing myself into new situations and talking to people. As a Canadian – particularly because I grew up on the border of the U.S – I’ve always been fascinated by the United States. Riding a bike east from New Mexico, across the Texas panhandle and into New Orleans seemed like an appropriate way to contemplate the mythos of the American South.
I flew down to Taos from my home in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, a small subarctic city in Canada, in mid-October. I found a few bikes for $2,000U.S or under on Craigslist. I drove out to see one of them, ended up lost on the mesa and drove onto a property with ‘No Trespassing’ signs. The folks that lived there threatened to shoot me (turns out they were harvesting marijuana) if I didn’t get out of there. Needless to say, finding a motorcycle in New Mexico was not as easy as I thought it would be. Thankfully, a friend of mine spotted an ad in a Taos Laundromat which turned out to be the dream bike. Not only was it a solid bike that was light and easy to handle on the road, the guy I bought it from, Greg, took great pride in the old bikes he fixed up and pleaded with me to bring it back to New Mexico someday.
With my recording gear in a small hard shell suitcase bungeed to the back of the bike, I rode 1500 miles from Taos to New Orleans. Greg called me periodically as I made my way east to see how the bike was running. The route I took across the Texas panhandle took me into small towns and I took my time getting to Louisiana.
New Orleans is a wild, beautiful city but the focus of my research is in Cajun country. I spent time in Lafourche, St. Landry, Evangeline, Acadia and Lafayette Parishes.