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Southern Exposure

Photo by Louisiana educator selected as South’s best.

Ansel Adams, renowned American photographer, once said, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.” The Best of the South photo contest’s winning entry of the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, La., certainly speaks volumes without saying a single word.


Photographer Nicholas Stoulig made the photograph in 2009 while visiting Jackson Square with his wife and friends. After experimenting with settings on his small digital camera, he came up with the shot that originally was in color.

“It was good in color, but it looked great in black and white,” said Stoulig, who is assistant principal at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School in Hammond, La.

When he discovered AAA Southern Traveler’s photo contest, he was encouraged to enter the photograph. The iconic cathedral is synonymous with New Orleans.

“There’s just something about the French Quarter,” Stoulig said. “It’s like you’re in a different country. It’s such a gem. One of the great things to do is get up in the morning, take a stroll in the Quarter, and experience something peaceful and wonderful.”

Judges’ comments

Editors and Carolyn Thornton, a 32-year contributor to AAA magazines, agreed this was a special photograph.

“Getting night exposures balanced correctly is difficult to do. This was nicely done to show up the cathedral and Andrew Jackson’s statue,” Thornton said.

“The street and walkways that are usually teeming with pedestrians and traffic are conspicuously silent and empty,” said Associate Editor Don Redman. “A very magical and rare photo indeed.”

“By experimenting with exposure, the photographer created an artistic, almost mysterious, view of the New Orleans landmark,” said Regional Editor Dennis Heinze. “I can see this hanging in a coffee shop.”

“The glow of the street lights give this moody image an ethereal quality,” said Managing Editor Deborah Reinhardt.

“It’s a different view of a classic New Orleans scene,” said Editor and Publisher Michael Right.

capitolPhoto Contest Runners Up

Second Place

Photographer: Steven Angtuaco
Home: Little Rock, Ark.

Arkansas’s Capitol is paired with a reminder of one of the most important Civil Rights events–the Little Rock Nine. Judges liked the composition and technical qualities of the photo.

“In viewing this photo, it’s as if we are looking over the shoulders of these brave students who dared to dream big and stand up for equality,” Reinhardt said. “The seemingly endless sky, which takes up a good amount of the frame, reminds us that the sky indeed is the limit if we hold on for what we believe in. Well done.”

A strong image made even more special by the photographer’s age: 12 years.


bloomThird Place

Photographer: A. Leibfritz
Home: Metairie, La.

This photo of Rosedown Plantation and Gardens in St. Francisville, La., transports the viewer into the heart of the South.

Detail in the garden and the contrasting light paint a picture far prettier than any movie set could create. We almost wait to see a visitor walking up the steps onto the porch.

Jul/Aug 2012 Issue

Meet the Judges

RightMichael Right
Vice President Public Affairs, AAA Southern Traveler editor and publisher

As the spokesman for AAA Missouri, Michael works with regional media on a variety of topics related to auto safety and advocacy issues, such as teen driving. Michael charts the magazine’s editorial direction. He has been with AAA for more than 45 years.

HeinzeDennis Heinze
Public Affairs Specialist, AAA Southern Traveler
regional editor

Dennis writes various editorial departments, as well as news and feature stories. He produces the AAA Missouri employee newsletter, assists with public affairs initiatives, and designs the magazine. He has been with AAA for 20 years.

RedmanDon Redman
Public Affairs Specialist, AAA Southern Traveler
associate editor

Don is spokesman for AAA in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. He works with regional media on a variety of topics. Don contributes to the magazine through editorial departments and feature articles. He has been with AAA for 13 years.

ReinhardtDeborah Reinhardt
AAA Midwest Traveler
managing editor

After 22 years, Deborah still gets a kick out of producing magazines for AAA members. She works with free- lance contributors, writes various editorial departments and travel stories, edits, designs the magazines, and manages its production.

StromeyerCarolyn Thornton Stromeyer
Travel writer and photographer

Carolyn has contributed to AAA magazines for 32 years. This spring, she’s traveled to Ireland and Virginia. Her photo of Stanton Hall in Natchez, Miss., appears on the current cover. Carolyn lives in Mississippi.


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