Bon Temps Le Boi

Bon Temps Le Boi — My New Perspective

One of the nice things about the time we spend in New Orleans is that I never run out of things to write about. Returning home to Boise feels like maybe I have nothing new to say — but that’s not true. It’s just that I lose my perspective wandering in the forest of familiarity.

Since we returned home this time I’ve been thinking of how I might view my life in Boise through NOLA-tinted glasses. Through the “Bon Temps Le Boi” lense, if you see where I’m going.

In New Orleans we focus on the celebration of food, art, music, and the creativity, originality, and humor with which people consistently express themselves. Last I looked, we have all of those things in ample supply right here in little ol’ Boy-see, Idahome.

Mike Chambers at Tomas Montana's exhibition

So, Mike and I are recommitting to celebrating the art-filled life we have available to us right here. We are starting by getting out as much as possible and participating in what Boise has to offer. Like this week: First Thursday in June…

We began our evening at Gallery 518 where we saw the exhibition ‘everything needn’t always be something’ by Tomas Montano. It is something.

Tomas Montano's Boise Weekly Cover
“Rosabel” by Tomas on the Cover of the Boise Weekly

Melissa and Tomas

Then we dropped by the Art Source gallery to see Ann Sorenson’s work,

Ann Sorenson and Melissa Chambers @ Art Source

including her watercolor “Bridge to Boise”….

"Bridge to Boise" by Ann Sorenson

And while there happened to meet an unexpected, and charming character, Randy B. Fowler.

Randy B Fowler and Melissa Chambers@Art Source

On our way to Freak Alley we ran into Colby —

Colby talking to Melissa Chambers

the guy who started the freak ball rolling when he drew all over this door:

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I’m glad we live in a city that doesn’t just tolerate, but actually celebrates street art.

Freak Alley wall

Mike Chambers in Freak Alley

There was even some live music on the street, like the folk/pop songs of Fiona Luray and her partner Lettie who were playing out in front of Artisan Optics.

Fiona and Lettie playing on First Thursday

Our last art stop of the evening was Evermore Gallery where we met Samuel Paden the featured artist,

Sam Paden and Melissa Chambers at Evermore Gallery

Sam Paden's exhibition postcard

Melissa Chambers and Lawrence Manning at Evermore Gallery

and ran into several friends, including Lawrence Manning, who told me he and Betty Mallorca are renovating another building in Nampa in addition to their current home and gallery space, Track 13. I guess we’ll get to include Nampa in our new perspective.

All that art walking and talking made us hungry so we headed to Old Chicago for a bite afterwards. It might not have been Oysters Rockafeller or Crawfish Ettoufe, but the Jamaican Jerk chicken wings I had hit the spot nonetheless.

Chicken wings at Old Chicago

Art, music, unique characters, and food. I think Boise’s got it all.

Bon Temps Le Boi!!

And Another Week Down…

Time flies. Even when you’re not “having fun.” Which is not to say we are NOT having fun, we are, but we are also just living “normal” life, which believe it or not is about work, and laundry, and “making groceries,” even in New Orleans where your work schedule may vary.

Melissa Chambers by the Daigle Grocery hours sign

I do love having the luxury of two months here though because we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything when we have days like Friday which we spent keeping cosy and dry in our little hideaway.

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The day before the deluge I’d taken the ferry across the Mississippi to the foot of canal:

Riding the ferry to the foot of canal

and hung out with Joy — having “True Blood” juice at the Canal Street Bistro:

True Blood juice at Canal St. Bistro

and coffee at Monkey Monkey Coffee & Tea.

Painting at Monkey Monkey Coffee & Tea in New Orleans

The sun came out again for the weekend, just in time for First Saturday. First Saturdays in New Orleans are like First Thursdays in Boise, with art walks in all the gallery districts and many openings of new exhibitions. (Well, Boise X 1,000.)

We spent our evening in the Warehouse District on Julia St., and as the storm of synchronicity which keeps raining down on me would have it, Karen Bubb and Rachel Reichart (of Boise City Department of Arts & History fame) were in town too. So we visited the galleries together.

Karen Bubb and Melissa "Sasi" Chambers together in New Orleans

Here’s a little of what we saw at the Arthur Roger Gallery:

Viewing art at Arthur Roger Gallery

Mike viewing a Chihuly @ Arthur Roger

Art at Arthur Roger

But my favorites were the amazing embroidered portraits “Friends & Neighbors” by Gina Phillips at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery:

Melissa Chambers talking to model for embroidered artwork behind her

Artwork and model at Jonathan Ferrara gallery

Portrait model at <a href=

It would seem that little dogs showing up with their people at art galleries and openings, and even in the artwork itself is the new thang round here.

Lula?

Are you ready for your close-up?

Lula, ready for her close-up

The World is My Oyster

Our sojourn in New Orleans is over for now. We are back in Boise, and as usually happens to me when I travel and have a literal change of perspective, I’m in an entirely different “place” than I was when we left.

If you’ve been following my blog you have undoubtedly gathered how much New Orleans means to me and to Mike. How vital it is to our sense of being who we truly are as artists, as a family and as citizens of the world. It is our true “heart home,” the place we feel WE belong.

Don’t get me wrong, we love Boise too! It’s like Boise is our BFF, and New Orleans is our Soul Mate, and we believe we can have both. It’s just going to get a little complicated around here while we make that happen!

I know you have heard me muse on ways we are better using our house in Boise as our artists’ home — repurposing rooms as studio space,

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turning our former living room into a “gallery”

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and Logan’s former apartment into our new living room

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and studio space.

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That’s been done, and it absolutely works for us as it reflects the way we live now that we are empty nesters who also happen to be artists.

BUT…we want to have another home in New Orleans too, and we can’t do that and keep this house. So, our plan is to sell this house and buy two condos — one in Boise, and one in New Orleans.

We have bought and sold houses before, but there has never been a house I’ve loved as much — or have poured as much of myself into — as this house. It hurts physically to think about selling it, but no pain, no gain, right? My wish is that someone will fall in love with it the way I did and I can hand it over to them with a light heart.

Wish us luck as we embark on this next phase of our lives which I have dubbed “Bon Temps Le Boi.”

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Who says you can’t have your oysters raw, and chargrilled too?!