PHOTO FLOOD SAINT LOUIS

A surge of images along the banks of the Big Muddy.


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Mini-Flood 20: Ballpark Village

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photograph by Theresa Harter

No matter what your stance is on sports, in St. Louis, one cannot help but be a baseball fan. That is because the city is the home turf of the St. Louis Cardinals; a team with one of the most dedicated fanbases in all of professional sports. In 2014, Cardinals Nation (as those fans are better known) welcomed an exciting new addition to the former empty lot across the street from Busch Stadium. Ballpark Village opened officially on March 27, with a public unveiling of the completed first phase of projects in the multi-phase master plan. Nearly two weeks later, the site became host to a spectacular Home Opener event, which included the grand opening of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, a huge pep rally, and much more. These events celebrate both opening day for the Cardinals’ 2014 season, and the successful creation of one of the country’s first, team-integrated, sports-themed, entertainment districts; with some exceptional luck (and kind help from Ballpark Village), Photo Flood Saint Louis was there to record the event and to cheer on the Birds.

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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KDHX

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photograph by Jason Gray

KDHX is St. Louis’ premier community-produced media organization. Throughout its more than 25 year history, the radio station and its affiliates have transformed art and culture in the city. Photo Flood Saint Louis has photographed at KDHX twice; once to document the reconstruction of a space to become their new headquarters, and another to photograph the building’s transformation and provide a final testament to their previous location.

1. Mini-Flood 1

2. Mini-Flood 19


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Mini-Flood 19: KDHX

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photograph by Amanda Krebel

In November of 2012, we photographed our inaugural Mini-Flood at a building under reconstruction in Grand Center. Once completed, this building became the much lauded Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media, and the home for St. Louis’ beloved KDHX radio station.

To bookend our earlier exploration, we have returned to the site of Mini-Flood 1 to document its transformation into a full-fledged broadcast facility, live music and film venue, corporate headquarters, and cafe. In addition, we were given access to the space left behind on Magnolia, which still houses subtle traces of its previous 25-year commitment to the culture, minds and ears of St. Louisans.

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photograph by Amanda Miller

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Photo Flood 20: Botanical Heights (McRee Town)

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photograph by Kara Schoen

Botanical Heights is an interesting case study in urban redevelopment. What was once a supplemental community to Shaw, McRee Town fell into decay when the I-44 interstate plowed its way through, and severed the neighborhood off from its southern connections. Over time, building abandonment/ruination and crime engulfed McRee Town. Eventually, a plan was hatched to demolish the buildings that could not be saved (and some that could), and to construct a brand new urban community in place of the old, called Botanical Heights. While there is some controversy over how well that vision was executed, certainly, no one can argue with some of the recent successes of the new neighborhood (especially nearby the intersection of Tower Grove and McRee).

For photography, this neighborhood combines a lot of interesting visual draws ranging from modern infill housing to the old Star Tobacco factory complex, and from rusty railroad cars to a fantastically repurposed filling station.

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photograph by James Palmour

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Photo Flood 19: The Ville

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photograph by Chris Naffziger

Much like nearby JeffVanderLou, The Ville was a neighborhood shaped by the segregation that gripped St. Louis in the early 20th century, and is still felt even to this day. However, the early history of The Ville, as an African-American community, is not a story of hate, but rather one of a proud community that overcame all obstacles. Tempering the successes of the whole were many individual accomplishments that served to rewrite what was thought possible for Black people living in the United States. Important examples include Chuck Berry (who honed his musical talents in his father’s choir at Antioch Baptist Church), Arthur Ashe (probably the coolest tennis star that ever lived; who first strutted out on the fields in Tandy Park), and Annie Malone (who overcame unbelievable odds to eventually oversee a multi-million dollar, beauty empire), but there were many more. This is a neighborhood literally pulsing with the essence of St. Louis, from its boom period to its bust period, and beyond.

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photograph by Jason Gray

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stl250

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photograph by Jason Gray

“‘Your St. Louis’ Speaks” by Nathan Benjamin Young Jr., 1937:

I was a Metropolis when Chicago was a trading post;
I was a cosmopolitan on the bank of a moody river when Philadelphia and Boston were pulsated only by town-criers;
Along my levee French and Spaniard and Aborigine and African met and understood each other.
I was founded upon a hardy brotherhood.
I became asylum to a horde of freedom-bent Germans from an oppressive Fatherland;
I was a bosom to the shorn lambs of Ireland.
When Gold polarized the West, through my bounden limbs converged the Argonauts of ‘forty-nine.
Frugal Yankees and touchy Southrons came and fetched their feud over slavery;
Slave pens and a public mart are among my relics in limbo, but I supplied History with the cause celebre named for black Dred Scott.
I was a Union City in 1861, yet I gave succor and occasion to Confederate sympathizers–(I should be the most liberal city in the U.S.A.).

I am the center of the Continent. I am the centripetal capital of these United States, for I am proud of all sections;…
I am the American City of manifest destiny–I am St. Louis.

St. Louis, the city of a robust and complicated history, turns 250 years old in 2014, and the organization tasked with celebrating the occasion is stl250. Throughout 2014, Photo Flood Saint Louis has partnered with stl250 to photograph their many wonderful and historic events as they unfold.

1. Mini-Flood 14: First Night Grand Center

2. Mini-Flood 16: Burnin’ Love Festival

3. Mini-Flood 17: Reenactment of the Founding of St. Louis

4. Mini-Flood 18: The Biggest Birthday Ball


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Mini-Flood 16: Burnin’ Love Festival

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photograph by Jason Gray

Popular opinion suggests that St. Louis was founded upon February 15, 1764. Still, arguments can be made for the important occassion having happened on either the 14th or 16th of February that year. Therefore, it is probably not such a big deal that Mother Nature ruined, with her display of ice and brutal cold, the first big attempt at celebrating St. Louis’ 250th anniversary.

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photograph by Theresa Harter

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