Judy Cooper

Judy Cooper

Judy Cooper is a photographer/writer living and working in New Orleans. She earned graduate degrees in English and French and taught at the college level before becoming a professional photographer.

Born an only child in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1938, Cooper grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where her father taught economics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She first arrived in New Orleans as an undergraduate in 1955, where she studied English at Newcomb College. She spent her junior year in Paris, France, and the experience was a profound influence upon her future.

During a ten-year period in the 1960s and early 1970s, Cooper earned a master of arts degree in English from Columbia University and doctorates in both French and Italian literature from Tulane University. While teaching French at Loyola University in the early 1970s at Loyola, Cooper played tour guide to French photographer Jean Pierre Favreau as he photographed Louisiana. The experience sealed her resolve to pursue professional photography, and within months she left a scripted academic career path for the venturesome art world.

Judy Cooper became interested in photographing the social aid and pleasure clubs in the late 1990s. At first her interest was purely visual, but as she learned about the old and complex tradition, she conceived of a book that would celebrate its history, pageantry, and community. Continuing to photograph the parades every week, she reached out to other photographers and writers to contribute to the project. Dancing in the Streets is the result.

Dancing in the Streets book cover

Judy Cooper appears in