The Batture Ritual

The Batture is the land the river owns. It is a thin strip of weeds, trees, and mud between the edge of the Mississippi River and the tall, hardened levees that contain its floods. The Batture is ephemeral. It disappears when the river is high and re-emerges when the tide falls, swept and transformed. It is a cyclical land, untied to human time and unclaimed – a temporary alluvial wilderness. 

Through photographs and video, this project explores the micro- and macro-economies and ecologies along the Mississippi River's batture near New Orleans. Families fishing for food come within feet of international oil-tankers and container ships that facilitate global trade. The Batture is no dividing line; rather it is a magnet that draws animals and industry, fishermen and ocean ships, all manner of life into contact. 

– JW

Using Format