John W. Mizenko 1921-1991
Mardi Gras 1956 scenes from mid-century New Orleans celebrations showing Mid-City, Venus,
Sunday Parades, Mardi Gras Day, and other floats. View them here if you haven't yet!
Mary C. Mizenko, wife of John W. Mizenko New Orleans
This was the city that John Mizenko loved and always called home. He was a graduate of Louisiana University, Baton Rouge. He worked for major oil companies and this involved moving often and a lot of travel. New Orleans was
more exciting than New York, San Francisco and any other placed we visted or lived. But no other place could match the charm, entertainment or hospitality of home. Mardi Gras was special. Mardi Gras was home. Lake Ponchartrain,
Canal Street, the French Quarter and the Garden District. Truly wonderful places in the delightful city that he loved. His pictures of Mardi Gras reflect that love. I look at them and I think, no wonder he loved it. Six foot four, blond, athletic slender ruggedly handsome, a delightful sense of humor, kind, loving, all that one could ask of an individual. No wonder I loved him.
-Mary C. Mizenko
Don Durkin, Nephew John W. Mizenko
John (Jack) was born in Covington, LA and graduated from high school in Covington. He was an avid ham radio operator and an extremely creative photographer. His irrepressible sense of the off-beat and the absurd allowed him to
appreciate the ideas, themes and some of the irony behind the Mardi Gras floats and parades. As a result he was able to capture the humor and pathos of some of the highlights of the Mid-City and Venus parade. He loved New Orleans
Jazz, Cajun, Zydeco and bluegrass music. I have so many memories: the surprise frogs he stuck in our boots in Channelview, the exciting tractor rides through the high grass, the watermelon fields and the coiling snakes, the icy
plunges into the fridgid waters of the pool he built himself. Throughout it all my uncle's wry wit never ceased to surprise and delight all of us.
Mar Doré, daughter of John W. Mizenko
My father graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) with a Chemical Engineering degree. He taught Morse Code at LSU, and was an amateur ham radio operator. He co-invented the Cyclone-centrifuge separator patented by Shel
Oil, a device used in oil pipelines. He taught Refinery Instrumentation at the University of Houston and at Shell Oil and other companies in the field of oil research. In that era, the dangers of chemical exposure within the oil
industry were not commonly known by workers. But those hazards became personal for Mizenko's family’s when he died of lymphoma caused by decades of chemical exposure while working at these companies.
I discovered my father's slide collection tucked away in a cabinet inside metal slide trays loaded with carefully written notations. It was as though after all these years he'd left me a gift. I didn't fully realize how creative
my father was until after he had passed. But the discovery of this small inheritance suddenly inspired me. I was finally ready to launch the Gallery I had been dreaming about for years.
My father's photographs of the Mardi Gras take me back to the New Orleans of my childhood. I've returned to New Orleans in order to explore the history of my father's photographs and the extraordinary places I visited with him as
a child; my grandmothers house and my aunt's house on Joseph street, the horse races at the fairgrounds, beignets at Cafe Du Monde, oyster po′boys, and Magazine Street. I remember perching on a wood ladder when I was six, arms
outstretched in eager anticipation, ready to catch my share of Mardi Gras loot. I am happy and proud to present this priceless collection of photographs by my father John Woodward Mizenko and the radiant memories they contain. His
love for New Orleans is manifested in every frame. It has awakened me and brought me home. No wonder we loved him. -Mar Doré