St. Lucia Slides TOC

Woodrow W. Denham

 

Introduction

Castries
North Coast
Soufriere
Choiseul and LaPointe
Vieux Fort Village

Fishing
Shipping and Manufacturing
Bananas
Tourism


Introduction

These photographs are organized geographically for ease of access, Castries first, then the north coast, then down the west coast to Soufriere, thence to Choiseul and LaPointe on the southwest coast, Vieux Fort at the southern tip, and on to Micoud, Praslin and Dennery on the east coast.

In the late 1980s the main international airport in St. Lucia was located at the southern tip of the island while the city of Castries and all but one of the major vacation destinations were located at or near the northern end. This arrangement created daunting logistical, engineering and political problems but presumably it was God’s will, else He could have built a flat spot big enough for Boeing 747s to land at the north end of the island.

I took the 174 photographs of St. Lucia that appear here during two visits and a three-month period of residency in the island in 1987 and 1988. The photos accompany my book entitled The Season of Gilbert and Joan, which appears here in the St. Lucia collection with the photos.

In addition to illustrating this book, the photos also stand in sharp contrast to the 600 photos of Barbados that appear in the Barbados collection. By comparing the two sets, some of the following issues become quite clear. For example, Barbados is an uplifted, essentially domed coral island whose maximum elevation is just over a thousand feet, while St. Lucia is a volcanic cone whose maximum elevation is a bit over 3000 feet. The monocrop economy of Barbados has been based on intensive sugar cultivation of nearly every usable spot on the limestone terraces since the 17 th century, whereas sugar production has nearly ceased in St Lucia and its monocrop economy now rests almost exclusively on banana production on often inaccessible and erosion-prone sides of the volcanic cone.

Barbados had a stable political history as a British colony from 1627 until 1966 and as an independent country since, whereas St. Lucia’s political history was infinitely more complex with seven changes of ownership between France and England occurring during the colonial period, leaving a strong French heritage in the religion (Catholic), language (a French-English Creole) and architecture of St. Lucia that is totally absent from Barbados. And so on.

By the 1980s Barbados had built on its early history as the premier sugar colony in the British Caribbean to become the most economically and politically developed society in the region, whereas St. Lucia still was unambiguously a Third World country lagging far behind Barbados on the various scales used by the United Nations to measure economic and political development and quality of life across the countries of the world. It is just a bit more than 100 miles from Barbados to St. Lucia, but in the 1980s the two places were vastly different from each other, Barbados smart and affluent and cosmopolitan, St. Lucia backward and stagnant and isolated. Both had great beauty – in fact St. Lucia might have exceeded Barbados in sheer natural beauty – but Barbados was in the process of defining its own future, while St. Lucia continued to owe its soul to the Geest Banana Company and the interlocking multinational conglomerate of which Geest was a part.

Castries (24) This small Caribbean island with a population of about 150,000 people and an economy based on bananas and tourism seems an unlikely place to produce two Nobel Prize winners, but it has. They are the economist Arthur Lewis and the poet Derek Walcott. In the late 1980s, the bus drivers, taxi drivers and fried chicken vendors with whom I discussed these two men had radically different views of them. In their comments Lewis appears as an aloof, remote scholar, far above the lives of the people of St. Lucia, knighted and hobnobbing with the rich and powerful “out there” somewhere, while Walcott appears as a man of the people, often visiting the island, staging plays and reading poems there, and speaking Kwiole when it suits his purpose to do so. The college named after Sir Arthur was built as a fort and military barracks in the 19 th century and carried that feel with it toward the 21 st century.

Castries Market was built in the 19 th century as well, and had a lot of character a century later. While I was working in Castries, the US Agency for International Development announced a three-year plan to rebuild the Castries Market. The old market building is still there, but it may have been renovated inside.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUa01

Castries

Harbour viewed from The Mourne

SLUa02

Castries

Sir Arthur Lewis Community College

SLUa03

Castries

Sir Arthur Lewis Community College

SLUa04

Castries

Sir Arthur Lewis Community College

SLUa05

Castries

Bridge construction in Castries

SLUa06

Castries

Castries Market

SLUa07

Castries

Castries Market

SLUa08

Castries

Castries Market – firepots, probably from the southwestern coastal village of LaPointe

SLUa09

Castries

Castries Market – charcoal vendor

SLUa10

Castries

Castries Market – charcoal vendor

SLUa11

Castries

Castries Market – chicken cooking

SLUa12

Castries

Castries Market – cylinders of raw cocoa

SLUa13

Castries

Castries Market – ubiquitous green bananas

SLUa14

Castries

Castries Market - mixed fruit vendor

SLUa15

Castries

Castries Market - pottery and fruits

SLUa16

Castries

Castries Market - baskets for sale inside the market

SLUa17

Castries

Castries Market - pottery for sale inside; note face on outside of top bowl

SLUa18

Castries

Castries Market - broom vendor outside

SLUa19

Castries

Castries Market - schoolgirl shopping

SLUa20

Castries

Castries Market - fish vendor behind main market

SLUa21

Castries

Castries Market – big fish

SLUa22

Castries

Castries Market – vendor weighing fish

SLUa23

Castries

Castries Market – cowhides piled on the ground outside the abattoir.

SLUa24

Castries

Cemetery beside Vigie Airport

 

North Coast (17) This is the location of the yacht harbour and most of the destination resorts.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUb01

Reduit

Stilt house, common in St. Lucia on

SLUb02

Gros Islet

Rum shop for tourists

SLUb03

Gros Islet

Boat in backyard

SLUb04

Gros Islet

Cow at yacht harbour

SLUb05

Gros Islet

Gone fishing

SLUb06

Gros Islet

Caught one

SLUb07

Gros Islet

Boom box

SLUb08

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Pigeon Point

SLUb09

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Mushrooms

SLUb10

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Flower

SLUb11

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Thistle

SLUb12

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Lichen

SLUb13

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Fort Rodney - cannon

SLUb14

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Fort Rodney – disintegrating walls

SLUb15

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Fort Rodney – disintegrating walls

SLUb16

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Fort Rodney – disintegrating walls

SLUb17

Pigeon Point Natl Park

Fort Rodney – disintegrating walls

 

Soufriere (7) The French influence is unmistakable in the architecture and speech. In the late 1980s, the village was quite isolated by difficult mountains and poor roads.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUc01

Soufriere

French colonial architecture with Petit Piton

SLUc02

Soufriere

French colonial architecture

SLUc03

Soufriere

French colonial architecture

SLUc04

Soufriere

Bus and boat

SLUc05

Soufriere

Man shelling cocoanuts, with rooster

SLUc06

Soufriere

Boy fetching water

SLUc07

Soufriere

Nets

 

Choiseul and LaPointe (19) The quiet fishing village of Choiseul on the highway between Sufriere and Vieux Fort provides access to the quieter and much more isolated village of LaPointe where we were told we could meet the person who made so many of the firepots for sale in Castries Market. The visit with the potter was an extraordinarily pleasant, low-key experience. Some of her work is illustrated here.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUd01

Choiseul

Waterfront

SLUd02

Choiseul

Mural painted on outside wall of building

SLUd03

Choiseul

Taxi

SLUd04

Choiseul

Still life with green bananas

SLUd05

Choiseul

Very gentle fisherman showing me his net

SLUd06

Choiseul

Bakes

SLUd07

Choiseul

Chicken cooking on a firepot

SLUd08

LaPointe

Farmhouse

SLUd09

LaPointe

Kitchen at farmhouse

SLUd10

LaPointe

Potter’s workshop, cocoanut husks used as fuel to fire pottery

SLUd11

LaPointe

Potter’s apprentice

SLUd12

LaPointe

Ceiling of potter’s workshop

SLUd13

LaPointe

Moist clay for molding pots

SLUd14

LaPointe

Potter making base of firepot

SLUd15

LaPointe

Building walls of firepot

SLUd16

LaPointe

Contouring the pot

SLUd17

LaPointe

Working the inside

SLUd18

LaPointe

Air intake holes in place

SLUd19

LaPointe

Pots on shelf, drying and waiting to be fired

 

Vieux Fort Village (19) General orientation to the village, second in size to Castries.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUe01

Vieux Fort

School playground at one end of the town common.

SLUe02

Vieux Fort

Livestock grazing at opposite end of the town common

SLUe03

Vieux Fort

Housetops and in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUe04

Vieux Fort

Vieux Fort Bay with sewage outfall

SLUe05

Vieux Fort

Fishing fleet lands here in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUe06

Vieux Fort

Street scene

SLUe07

Vieux Fort

Street scene

SLUe08

Vieux Fort

Still life with pawpaw

SLUe09

Vieux Fort

Green bananas everywhere

SLUe10

Vieux Fort

Passageway

SLUe11

Vieux Fort

Cafe with menu on the wall

SLUe12

Vieux Fort

Gingerbread

SLUe13

Vieux Fort

Dragon’s Gate Kaiso Tent

SLUe14

Vieux Fort

Loading a taxi

SLUe15

Vieux Fort

Loading another taxi

SLUe16

Vieux Fort

Carrying water

SLUe17

Vieux Fort

Cemetery – grave decorated with conch shells

SLUe18

Vieux Fort

Cemetery – grave decorated with conch shells

SLUe19

Vieux Fort

Cemetery with bright flowers

 

Fishing (20) A vital part of the local economy but vulnerable to variations in the weather. The fish market behind the main Castries Market had virtually no fish throughout the autumn of 1988.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUf01

Praslin

Boatyard

SLUf02

Praslin

Boatyard

SLUf03

Praslin

Boatyard

SLUf04

Praslin

Boatyard

SLUf05

Vieux Fort

Vieux Fort fishing fleet, boats of Praslin design

SLUf06

Vieux Fort

Fishing boats in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUf07

Vieux Fort

Fishing boats in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUf08

Vieux Fort

Fishing boats in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUf09

Vieux Fort

Fishing boats in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUf10

Vieux Fort

Preparing to depart

SLUf11

Vieux Fort

Departing

SLUf12

Vieux Fort

Collecting sea urchins (“sea eggs”) for export, Vieux Fort Bay

SLUf13

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots (traps used for reef fishing) of split bamboo

SLUf14

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

SLUf15

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

SLUf16

Vieux Fort

Mouth of fishpot ready to be installed

SLUf17

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

SLUf18

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

SLUf19

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

SLUf20

Vieux Fort

Making fishpots

 

Shipping and Manufacturing (24) Vieux Fort Bay is the main port of entry at the southern end of the island, and was attracting some light industry in the late 1980s. The pier was busy, with frequent arrivals and departures of cargo ships including the Geest banana boat that was not in port when we were in Vieux Fort.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUg01

Vieux Fort

Red ship in Vieux Fort Bay

SLUg02

Vieux Fort

Vieux Fort pier with Pitons in the distance

SLUg03

Vieux Fort

Fertilizer arriving from the Philippines

SLUg04

Vieux Fort

Fertilizer arriving from the Philippines

SLUg05

Vieux Fort

Fertilizer arriving from the Philippines

SLUg06

Vieux Fort

Fertilizer arriving from the Philippines

SLUg07

Vieux Fort

Fertilizer arriving from the Philippines

SLUg08

Vieux Fort

Lumber shipment

SLUg09

Vieux Fort

Lumber shipment

SLUg10

Vieux Fort

Lumber shipment

SLUg11

Vieux Fort

Boat used to transport cases of beer to St. Vincent

SLUg12

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg13

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg14

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg15

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg16

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg17

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg18

Vieux Fort

New grain processing plant

SLUg19

Vieux Fort

Electronics manufacturing

SLUg20

Vieux Fort

Electronics manufacturing

SLUg21

Vieux Fort

Clothing plant

SLUg22

Vieux Fort

Clothing plant

SLUg23

Vieux Fort

Clothing plant

SLUg24

Vieux Fort

Clothing plant

 

Bananas (31) Bananas, the principal cash crop of the island, are produced by WINBAN, the Windward Island Banana Growers’ Association, and shipped to England by Geest Bananas Limited. The corporate structure is more complex that it seems to be here.

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUh01

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant.- imported cardboard rolls ready for cutting and shaping.

SLUh02

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant - folding and cutting equipment

SLUh03

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant - folding and cutting equipment

SLUh04

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant - glue works

SLUh05

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant - testing and inspecting

SLUh06

Vieux Fort

Banana boxing plant - finished boxes ready for distribution

SLUh07

Near Dennery

Assembling boxes at banana estate packing shed

SLUh08

Near Dennery

Boxes awaiting use at the banana plantation

SLUh09

Near Dennery

Access to rugged hillside where bananas will be harvested

SLUh10

Near Dennery

Lower leaves removed to improve access to fruit

SLUh11

Near Dennery

Banana blossom and young bananas

SLUh12

Near Dennery

Banana blossom and young bananas

SLUh13

Near Dennery

Banana blossom and young bananas

SLUh14

Near Dennery

Blue plastic bags keep insects off developing bananas

SLUh15

Near Dennery

Blue plastic bags keep insects off developing bananas

SLUh16

Near Dennery

Knife used for harvesting

SLUh17

Near Dennery

Select stalk to harvest

SLUh18

Near Dennery

Select stalk to harvest

SLUh19

Near Dennery

Remove hands of bananas

SLUh20

Near Dennery

Remove hands of bananas

SLUh21

Near Dennery

Arrange hands on banana leaves to await further processing

SLUh22

Near Dennery

Arrange hands on banana leaves to await further processing

SLUh23

Near Dennery

Chemically treat place where stalk was cut to prevent deterioration

SLUh24

Near Dennery

Pack bananas 30 pounds per box

SLUh25

Near Dennery

Stack the boxes for collection

SLUh26

Near Dennery

At the processing shed, open boxes and inspect the fruit

SLUh27

Near Dennery

Repackage for shipment

SLUh28

Near Dennery

Haul them to the Geest ship that visits the island twice weekly

SLUh29

Castries

Long queue of banana trucks awaiting ship

SLUh30

Castries

Long queue of banana trucks awaiting ship

SLUh31

Pawpaw tree

 

Tourism (10)

Slide#

Location

Caption

SLUk01

Vieux Fort

Arrival at Hewanorra Airport

SLUk02

Vieux Fort

Anse de Sables

SLUk03

Vieux Fort

Anse de Sables, Pointe Sable and Maria Islands

SLUk04

Vieux Fort

Pointe Sable

SLUk05

Vieux Fort

Child playing at Anse de Sables

SLUk06

Vieux Fort

Tourist horse

SLUk07

Vieux Fort

Tourist boat

SLUk08

Vieux Fort

Facing south to Pointe Sable with Club Med behind me

SLUk09

Vieux Fort

Facing north toward Club Med with barbed wire fence in my face

SLUk10

Vieux Fort

Sunset from Moule a Chique

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