The Family Album:
Photographs of Haiti by Bill Bollendorf

I went to Haiti for the first time in January 1974 with my companion, Susan.
Our goal was to find a small village on the beach where we could live well but cheaply and see if the Haitians were worth getting to know. As it happened we fell hopelessly in love with them and their wonderful country after less than an hour at the airport bar. We questioned a few people about where we should go in Haiti, while sipping the nectar of the Gods, Rhum Barbancourt. Between the answers and the rum, we were hooked. When we got to the Grand Rue of Port-au-Prince we were even more ecstatic over the circus going on there, the positive energy that coursed all around us was overwhelming. We checked into The Holiday Guest House on the Grand Rue and traversed the streets for for a couple of days and nights, then made our way North and ended up in the quiet village of Labadie, a 2 hour walk from the city of Cape Haitian. We stayed for two months until our funds ran out.

In those days Haiti had a tourist office where you could get a free poster. The slogan was
"Haiti: Vive la Difference"

I have returned to Haiti countless times. Everywhere I go they treat me very nicely, like a nice family would. Over the years I have taken their pictures and when I see them again, I am able to give them a photo in most instances.
For this they like me. And for this I love them.

Below are some of the photos for your enjoyment

"Vive la Difference"
Photos of Haiti by Bill Bollendorf
Labadie: 1974-1980
"E Pluribus Unum" Gran Rue 2005"

My first visit to The Artists of the Grand Rue was in March 2005.
At the time it was known as "E Pluribus Unum"

It is an urban museum that changes every day, every hour.
a living museum for people who do not go to museums..

Perhaps the most important holiday in the Vodou religion is Ghede, or Gede. It is in high gear from the end of October through All Soul's day, November 2. The Gedes are the guardians of the frontier between life and death and they urge us to enjoy life to the maximum. They are a partying bunch. Especially in the cemetary. They like dancing, singing, drinking, smoking, and sex , to oversimplfy it grossly.

The Photos below were taken at a house on Delmas 75

You will have the opportunity to learn much more about the Gedes. There will be a major exhibit and catalogue this Fall at the Fowler Museum in LA
"In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st century Haitian Art"

Donald Cosentino and his talented asscociates are doing it. It will be fabulous!

Also this Fall, a major Haitian show in the UK curated by
Alex Farquharson and Leah Gordon.
" Kafou:HAITI, Art and Vodou"

The Champ de Mars is the area around the National Palace, a lovely park with historic statues and elegant goverment buildings. The museums are closeby as well.

Goudou Goudou, the earthquake, demolished the area including the homes of ten of thousands of people in te surrounding area. Those who did not die were rendered homeless. The Palais National collapsed, as did most of the elegant buildings After a few days the lovely park had sprouted tents and a community sprung up. Soon there were boutiques and a tattoo artist and bars . Eventually there was a reliable source of water and porta potties and a clinic. It has been estimated that 15,000 people lived here.

The images below were made in August 2010.

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