Street Scene, New Orleans, Louisiana

Walker Evans1935; printed later

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This image succeeds as more than a document - it is a portrait of a town. A grocery store anchors the street corner like a surrogate town square. The noisy words of the advertisements, in contrast with the empty ladder, the propped-open screen door, and the quiet of the streets, give a mysterious quality to the image.

Evans once aspired to be a writer, so it is no coincidence that many of his photographs feature the words of local signs. Evans probably took this photograph on assignment for the Resettlement Administration, a government-sponsored project that sent photographers into rural communities during the Great Depression to document conditions there. Evans's photograph records the daily life of the place without showing its occupants.


  • Title: Street Scene, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Creator: Walker Evans
  • Date: 1935; printed later
  • Location Created: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 19.1 x 24.4 cm (7 1/2 x 9 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.129.8
  • Inscription: Inscription: Print, verso, pencil: upper right, "d - 21 (FSA)"; lower center, "#797 Street Scene, New Orleans, La. December 1935"; lower right, "E5". Print, verso, wet stamp, black ink: "Walker Evans [in script]/ [two boxes in wet stamp]" and pencil, in artist's hand within the boxes: "III" and "72 [check mark]".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Classification: Photographs

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