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Photography

Friday, October 12, 2007 Little Ethiopia

Nyala Ethiopian Restaurant - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Nyala Ethiopian Restaurant - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles

Washington may have the nation's largest Ethiopian community visit Ninth Street between U and T streets NW but Los Angeles has its own Little Ethiopia the two block stretch of Fairfax between Olympic and Pico.  Ethiopian businesses and restaurants, and a significant concentration of residents of Ethiopian and Eritrean ancestry all there, and new secondary one growing on Washington Boulevard between Fairfax and National in Culver City, less than a mile to the south. But this is the original.  It been there since the early nineties, and in 2004 the otherwise completely useless Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn officially designated the neighborhood as "Little Ethiopia."

See To Fairfax and on to Ethiopia Gayle Pollard-Terry in the Los Angeles Times from February 12, 2006 for more.  She writes "In Little Ethiopia, the lively conversations are in Amharic and the pungent smells are from spices uncommon to most American palates be ready to pass the injera bread."

And she notes that the Ethiopian exodus to the United States started in earnest after the guy we backed, Emperor Haile Selassie, lost power in 1974 in a military coup. In the years after the coup, political persecution, a crackdown on dissent, government instability, poverty, famine and war drove away thousands of Ethiopians. Most of them settled on the East Coast but by the start of the new century nearly five thousand ended up here. Cool our gain.

Phalana Tiller offers a stroll through our Little Ethiopia and LA Metro offers this promotional video and here are some stills.

Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
"Sun" on wall of Ethiopian restaurant - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa Cyril VI so you get unusual looking priests.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa Cyril VI - so you get unusual looking priests.  Hanging in shop window, Little Ethiopia, Los Angeles

Ethiopia converted to Christianity during the fourth century AD, so it is the second-oldest country to become officially Christian, after Armenia, although it has been secular since 1974. And note this

    Ethiopia is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement, whose adherents believe Ethiopia is Zion. The Rastafari view Emperor Haile Selassie I as Jesus, the human incarnation of God, a view apparently not shared by Haile Selassie I himself, who was staunchly Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The concept of Zion is also prevalent among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, though it represents a separate and complex concept, referring figuratively to St. Mary, but also to Ethiopia as a bastion of Christianity surrounded by Muslims and other religions, much like Mount Zion in the Bible. It is also used to refer to Axum, the ancient capital and religious centre of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, or to its primary church, called Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. The Baha'i Faith has been established in Ethiopia since the 1950s, and today is concentrated primarily in Addis Ababa, but also in the suburbs of Yeka, Kirkos and Nefas Silk Lafto.

Is that clear? The Lion of Judah also the symbol of the Emperor of Ethiopia

The Lion of Judah  also the symbol of the Emperor of Ethiopia
Coffee orginated in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has its own alphabet, called Ge'ez or Ethiopic so you need the right software.

101207_LittleEsignsoftware0

From the LA Times item

 

    "It's quite a bit of fresh air," said Patrick Hansen of Hansen's Cakes on South Fairfax. "I'm seventh-generation from the same family of bakers. I've been here 26 years." The Ethiopian wave has had a positive effect on the neighborhood, he said.  The Ethiopian restaurants and shops also have brought a hip crowd at night, Hansen said.

     

    "It has brought more business to the bakery. It's brought more awareness to the street rather than having businesses that people didn't want to come to," Hansen said. "Now they come here and they window shop."

     

    And the Ethiopian merchants welcome all of the strip's business owners. Hansen, and his rival Rosa Leung of Regal Cake Gallery, belong to the Ethiopian Business Assn., which works to improve the area.

At the cake shops

Figure on sidewalk at cake shop in Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
"Elvis" cake in a shop window in Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
"Die Posers, Die!" shirt in a shop window in Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Stickers in Little Ethiopia - Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the "fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Most of these photographs were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  Earlier photography was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[Little Ethiopia]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik