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,
turning our former living room into a “gallery”
and Logan’s former apartment into our new living room
and studio space.
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.”
Who says you can’t have your oysters raw, and chargrilled too?!
Only a couple of days left on our New Orleans Sojurn so I thought I’d wind up my posts with a lagniappe (a little something extra) of photos from my #Festooned series of Mardi Gras beads leftover after Carnival, many of which you can see on my Instagram account @sasiwasi….
To bead, or not to bead? That’s never the question in New Orleans. Even after you’re dead, the beads goes on.
As you’ve undoubtedly gathered from my posts, New Orleans is a place you come to eat. In fact it’s tradition here to discuss your plans for your next meal as you are eating the food in front of you.
If you couldn’t get excited about what to eat next you’d never get to that future meal because you are constantly full. Mind over matter baby — it’s the only way.
(Lina demonstrating great discipline as she starts in on beignets at Cafe du Monde immediately following our muffuletta at Central Grocery.)
I think of the food here as being divided into Traditional New Orleans Cuisine which includes Italian, Creole, and Southern Fried Seafood; International — lots of Vietnamese, but also Argentine, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Chinese; and Local Neighborhood which is often a fusion of the Traditional New Orleans with the International. It’s all good.
(Lina and me at Rebecca Rebouche’s crawfish boil for her birthday. Oh, the crustaceans!)
Here’s an idea of what, and where, we’ve eaten on this trip:
Probably my very favorite place to eat on this trip has been Butcher.
I’ve been four times, and have taken, or sent all our out of town friends who’ve visited to eat there too.
I could live on the “Carolina” BBQ pulled pork topped with coleslaw with a side of their marinated roasted brussels sprouts. @#$@%&*@#$ it’s good!
The Mint Modern Bistro is another place we just ate at recently which I’m already looking forward to returning to for their Kim Chi Burger and seasoned sweet potato fries.
For breakfast our favorite Local Neighborhood place to go with our friends is Surrey’s. There are two locations, both on Magazine, one in the Lower Garden District and the other Uptown. This trip we’ve eaten three times at the Surrey’s Uptown location.
It’s hard to beat their corned beef hash with two eggs over medium and a side of fruit.
And finally I guess I’ll have to add another segment for Coffee and Sweets which fit into every one of the larger categories above, like Cafe du Monde, and Morning Call which are both Traditional New Orleans Cuisine, for Cafe au Lait with Chicory, and beignets, 24 hours a day.
(that’s my Coconut Basil Gelato next to my Cafe au Lait).
And Croissant d’Or, (which is always closed on Tuesdays, and after 3:00 so plan accordingly), which all fit into the International category.
Which leaves us with the Local Neighborhood Coffee and Sweets places which are legion.
I’d have to say the Cake Cafe in the Bywater is really, really good if you like cupcakes.
And District Donuts on Magazine is no slouch when it comes to coffee and donuts.
Honestly, I could go on and on. Since we’ve been in town we have gone to 51 different restaurants, 18 of them more than once! They’re all wonderful. I think I’ve had one “meh” meal the whole time we’ve been here and I’m not saying what it was because the next time we go it’ll probably be great.
Well, this post has taken me all day to compose. It’s worn me out, and you guessed it — really worked up my appetite! So until we eat again, remember what Luciano Pavarotti said: “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
Joy and I were out this afternoon, after having our second coffee at the Cake Cafe in the Bywater, when she decided to give me an impromptu tour of the Treme, and as we cruised around she remembered we had yet to get to the Backstreet Cultural Museum.
As you may recall, our time here is running out, so no time like the present!
We were met at the door by Sylvester Francis the man who started all this in 1988 when he began displaying his photos and Mardi Gras Indian memorabilia in his garage in the Treme.
Since then his collection, and the interest and support in and of it, have grown to where it is now housed in the former Blandin Undertaking Co.
Mardi Gras Indian costumes are impressive when you know nothing about them, but when you understand that each takes a year to hand sew and bead, that they weigh 90 to 120 lbs each, and that they are worn all day in all weather — including hot, muggy temps — then they jump from impressive, to awesome.
Mardi Gras Indians mask in either the Native American style…
Or in the African Warrior style…
Either way, they are nothing to mess with…
and definitely deserving of our admiration and respect.
And there are the parts of town where galleries are concentrated like Royal St. in the French Quarter and Julia St. in the Warehouse District, both of which I told you about in Part 1.
A third area which we’ve spent a lot of time in is Magazine St. which runs from the Lower Garden District to Audubon Park. There are tons of little shops, restaurants, galleries, antique shops, and boutiques, interspersed with homes, up and down its entire length.
The Carol Robinson Gallery, where Mike shows, is on Magazine and Napoleon. We attended her “Artists of Faith” Opening and this piece titled “The Golden Boat” by Michael Yankowski was one of my favorites.
Carol represents a number of artists who work in a variety of disciplines — painting, ceramics, fine wood sculpture, jewelry and photography — and she hangs new shows all year, except possibly in the summer when things slooowww dooowwwn, alot!
Well, YOU try hanging art in 95 degrees and 100% humidity!
The first Saturday of every month is the time when new shows open. We attended the March openings on Magazine and after going to Carol’s we went to Cole Pratt Gallery which had some interesting work, badly curated and arranged (in my opinion), which just made me want to get out of there before I created a scene and started rehanging everything.
Wouldn’t it have been funny if I’d just gone for it, and had gotten arrested!
ARTIST ARRESTED FOR REHANGING EXHIBITION. SITES NOCCA “HOT EYE” TRAINING AS REASON SHOW READ AS “GIBBERISH.”
These paintings are acrylic, and you can’t tell from my photos, but they look like encaustic. Really cool.
Another place on Magazine which is less gallery (though they do have paintings) and more beautifully arranged art objects — they refer to as bohemian luxury — is AKA STELLA GRAY.
Every time I go in there I just want to move in and call it home. Of course it doesn’t hurt that there is often a sweet little French Bulldog named Poppy there to greet you!
And speaking of home, as you know by now, the Pied a Terre where we are staying is also home to Rebecca Rebouche’s atelier, The Beauty Shop. Rebecca is a painter, and her work shows up on dishes and linens and wallpaper murals for Anthropologie, but her individual paintings are also available for purchase.
With any luck, the next time we’re here and I give you a tour of the visual arts scene in New Orleans — I’ll be including our home and studio space.