The Saffron Scourge is a reinterpretation of the era of New Orleans when the city was
yellow fever wreaked havoc on the city for over a century. Inspired during a visit to Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District when Carlos saw a crypt with the names of three children from the same family who died within a few years of each other.
He has visited numerous sites throughout southeast Louisiana with a local archaeologist for an intimate glimpse of life inside former quarantine camps. Although the foundations of these isolated locations have long since eroded or have been destroyed by storms, there is still evidence of life and death at these camps. The image that is forever seared in Carlos’s mind is that of a small, leather shoe belonging to a young patient that was found at the remains of a trash heap. It was this haunting vision that caused the promulgation of months of research and sketches.
According to the author of Yellow Fever (1898), by Dr. Just Touatre, he described victim’s of the disease going into hallucinatory states prior to death, which was a starting point for the magical, dreamlike quality of this collection. What did they see in the minutes to hours before death? In an imagined post-life existence, how did the ghosts of these victims reconcile their memories with what had happened to them? These questions jumpstarted Detres’s approach to the The Saffron Scourge. An imprint of a soul’s existence in the realms of the living and the dead allowed an imagined documentation of their suffering. It’s that thin veil of existence where this story lives.