He spoke, not with his lips, but with the recoil of his splendid frame and the ferocious expansion of his eyes. This invitation was a cataract of lightning leaping down an ink-black sky.
No ouanga (We are bewitched).
Bras-Coupé fe moi de grisgris (The voudou’s spells are on me).
A whiff like fifty witches flouted up the canvas curtain of the gallery and a fierce black cloud, drawing the moon under its cloak, belched forth a stream of fire that seemed to flood the ground; a peal of thunder followed as if the sky had fallen in, the house quivered, the great oaks groaned, and every lesser thing bowed down before the awful blast. Every lip held its breath for a minute – or an hour, no one knew – there was a sudden lull of the wind, and the floods came down. Have you heard it thunder and rain in those Louisiana lowlands?
The series features photographs inspired by the Louisiana folk tale of Bras-Coupé, a one-armed runaway slave turned outlaw brigand. Multiple myths surround the character, describing him as both boogeyman and folk hero, talismanic figure and cautionary tale. From Congo Square in New Orleans to the swamps south of the city, the photographs tap into the mysteries of forgotten history yet also reflect upon how violence continues to be played out upon the black male body.