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PASSINGS / Johnny Donnels

New Orleans photographer

March 26, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Johnny Donnels, 84, a New Orleans photographer who won acclaim for his pictures of the people and places in the French Quarter, died March 19 of a heart attack at Tulane University Hospital, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Donnels had fallen outside his Desire Street home last week and broken his hip, his close friend Cheron Brylski told the Associated Press.

Donnels had a gallery on St. Peter Street near Jackson Square for more than 50 years. He lived in the Quarter most of his life and was playwright Tennessee Williams' neighbor in the 1940s.

His work, chronicled in his 1999 book "Johnny Donnels' IntoPhotography," has been exhibited at the Kennedy Center, Harvard University, the Ford Times Collection of American Art, the National Academy of Design, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Historic New Orleans Collection.

"He was a good architectural photographer and human interest photographer," said John Bullard, director of the New Orleans Museum of Art. "He documented life in the French Quarter as well as anyone has."

Born in New Orleans in 1924, Donnels began his career as a painter after returning to New Orleans following his service in World War II. For a time, he worked as a police sketch artist. In the 1960s, Donnels bartered a painting for a camera, and a career change followed.

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Arthur Richman, a longtime executive with the New York Mets and Yankees who urged Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to hire Joe Torre as manager in 1995, died Wednesday in New York. He was 83.

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news.obits@latimes.com

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