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Photographers' Paradise Print E-mail
PHOTOGRAPHERS’ PARADISE: PICTURE-PERFECT ST. FRANCISVILLE, LOUISIANA by Anne Butler Fanning The Flame: that’s what one springtime photographic workshop in the St. Francisville area is entitled, and the entire region is so rich in artistic opportunities that it does indeed fuel the creative passions for photographers and artists of every stripe. Since the early 1820’s when artist-naturalist John James Audubon painted a large number of his famous Birds of America studies in the area, this lush little corner of Louisiana’s Plantation Country has proven irresistible to creative spirits due to its unspoiled landscapes, amazing architecture, plentiful wildlife and just plain picturesqueness. There are several resident photographers whose works may be purchased in the West Feliciana Historical Society’s museum and tourist information center in downtown St. Francisville. Pat Walsh with his wife owns and operates the St. Francisville Inn, and the two of them have been the inspiration behind many of the special events like the Audubon Birdfest each spring offering guided field trips into the more remote reaches of the parish for unsurpassed birding and photographing. A creative soul who is an accomplished chef and a whiz on the computer, Walsh has lately become enthused with photography, combining his talents by manipulating his architectural and nature photos on the computer to create real works of art. At both the St. Francisville Inn and the tourist center, visitors can purchase for extremely reasonable prices his prints of area plantations and landscapes. Another local photographer, Yolanda D’Aquilla, wife of St. Francisville’s mayor, offers for sale lovely black and white studies of some area scenes as well. In addition, Backwoods Art Gallery often exhibits works by Carin Carlson, St. Francisville artist whose incredible colorful close-ups of orchids showcase her skills as both painter and photographer. end of March, the Fanning The Flame workshop attracts photographers from across the country for a week-long session led by enormously talented impressionist artist Darrell Chitty, two-time Louisiana Photographer of the Year, and Arthur Rainville, called “the Poet Laureate of Photography,” in an inspiring experience offering live costumed models, historic plantations, hands-on assistance with the computer program Corel Painter, an in-depth study of the artistic techniques of Old Masters like Monet and Sargent, creativity sessions and marketing advice. Information is available from Darrell Chitty at 318-741-1141. But it isn’t necessary to be a professional photogapher to find inspiration for sensational shots in St. Francisville, and March is the perfect time to do it. The annual Audubon Pilgrimage the third weekend of the month offers everything a photogapher could possibly dream of: lovely ladies and dashing gents authentically garbed in 1820’s costumes, antebellum gardens abloom with colorful azaleas and camellias, doors flung wide for visits to historic private plantation homes like Wakefield and Rosale and Catalpa, demonstrations of old-time skills at the rustic Rural Homestead, evening entertainments and ghostly graveyard tableaux. Information is available by telephone at 225-635-4224 or online at

Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 August 2007 )
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