The more images I make, the more often I find that they intersect with the end of someone’s days and the more valuable the photographs become to the loved ones of the person depicted. In August while traveling with my LUCEO colleagues out west for our “Few and Far Between” project I received a call from a woman named Joella Gaudet, who introduced herself as Julius’ daughter. I had first met Julius in September of 2009 when a friend dropped me off on a boat dock in Houma, Louisiana one morning to go gator hunting with two complete strangers. The men, named Julius and Rebel, were incredibly hospitable and I began working on a short essay about the alligator industry in Louisiana and how it had been impacted by our economic recession.
Julius, the older of the two, had a friendly and charismatic personality. After finishing up his piece of the project in late 2009, I visited with him in early 2010 in Morgan City, LA as he recovered from a motorcycle accident with his much-younger girlfriend that nearly cost him his foot. Hopped-up on painkillers and homemade wine, he told me I was welcome there anytime. Earlier in 2011 I decided to call Julius to catch up and am greeted by a robotic voice on the other end. “Hey buddy,” Julius says, “I have throat cancer.” His vocal chords had already been removed at this point so he was communicating through a voice-box. This was the last time I spoke with Julius, though Rebel tells me he still went gator hunting that season, despite his health problems, and landed a 10-footer. Rest in peace, Julius.