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Seasoned Reflections of My 10th Alligator Season

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

For nearly ten years, the morning of September 1st has been welcomed with great expectation and hopeful anticipation. Alligator season is, hands down, the busiest season of the year. The odometer on my 2015 SUV turns more than a couchon de lait in a Cajun microwave! Sometimes the way to the destination is easy, but more times than not, it’s the road less traveled that yields the best memories and greater lessons. (Yes, each printing opportunity is a lesson).


As I type this, there are exactly six days left until this season ends, and still one more hunt on the books to document. This is my 10th Alligator season printing. I guess you could call it the Silver Anniversary of documenting our state mascot.





As I look back on the progression of the work, I also have to acknowledge the progression of the adventure. One cannot exist without the other. The journey tells a story that the physical print can’t.


Ten years ago, down on my luck and in my spirit, I got in my car and drove to Pierre Part, Louisiana, with paint, canvas, and a thread of hope that I might have an opportunity to print just one. I got that opportunity and graciously asked if I could return the following day to give it another try. That was the beginning. It took many years of begging people to let me print and even more “freebie” prints to get access.


For years, the numbers were upside down, but my growth as an artist and in my soul was right side up!





Now, fast forward to this season...


L Charleville Studios is no longer a solo operation. I’m blessed to go on this journey with a team - A team of four fabulous ladies! Trust me, these gals are the ones who took what I did as an artist and turned The Studio into its own culture.




The days of begging for printing opportunities are a thing of the past. The calendar fills up, and the commissions stack up. But most important to me is how the Studio family grows. Clients become fast friends. How could they not? We go on a crazy adventure together, and God grants me the ability to document that day with a rubbing of what they harvest.


In those early years, I prayed that people would appreciate what I did, and if I'm being honest, I just wanted to be liked as an artist. If they liked me, they might share what I did with others. But God… this season, He provided media opportunities that told The Studio story to the masses!


And the most incredible honor so far is being told by the Lt. Governor's office that I represent Louisiana well and thus became the newest Louisiana Ambassador! Only God could turn a downcast beggar into an Ambassador.





It’s a fact that seasons come and seasons go. Some seasons are expected, and some are not. Even the expected ones unfold in the most unexpected ways.


As much as we plan how each alligator season will unfold, there’s always that unexpected printing that lands an alligator on my kitchen floor. Tired and exhausted (and definitely not feeling up to late-season printing), we push through. And I have to say that printing with a friend is much better than printing alone. You can’t give up, my friend. Not so long ago, this girl was begging people to give her a chance. Those seasons were tough and oh-so-humbling... But my goodness, the refining fire does its work!


Peace, Love & Alligators,

Leslie




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