Monday, November 1, 2010

Notes from New Orleans

To spend All Hallow's Eve in New Orleans seemed the perfect time to mix business with pleasure.  With Halloween falling on Sunday, a three-day weekend of costuming and partying was ensured.  People come in from hundreds of miles around to partake in the costume parade, having worked weeks and months on their outfits.  Frenchman Street is the place to see and be seen.  I was there on the Friday before Halloween and caught an unexpected parade where John Goodman was on a float throwing out beads to the masses.

A carefully coiffed Queen Elizabeth

Antiques de Provence

Business is always a pleasure for me.  I scoured the antique shops in the French Quarter and on Magazine Street for treasures.

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Then I scoured the art galleries on Julia Street and Magazine Street to balance out the antiquing.

S n J Bar

My daughter introduced me to this seedy bar where there were 3 dogs running around inside and furniture totally trashed out.  If you were in the nude, you could have free drinks, but there weren't any takers when we visited.  I like this kind of craziness that can happen only in New Orleans.  This place could have been a stage set, except that it was real!  I know it looks scary and dangerous, but it really wasn't.  Just around the corner was Tulane University and the mansions of St. Charles Street.

This house was right next door to the S n J; it was a preserved relic of the dismal days of Katrina.

Meanwhile, I wanted to keep up my piano practicing. Every day after I dropped my daughter off at Tulane, I was happy to use the practice rooms in the music school.  Each room had a Steinway and an artist bench, which suited me just fine!  The Beethoven No. 17, The Tempest,  is coming along, thank you very much!

Blind Boy and the Milk Sheiks
The street entertainment is of the highest caliber in New Orleans. These musicians included strumming a washboard and bowing a saw in their act.

On my last day in New Orleans, I spent the day at Audubon Park.  I did some drawings of the magnificent live oak trees.  This one was named the Tree of Life, and had the same ethereal qualities of the sacred tree in Avatar.  I spent quite a while sitting and listening to the birds in the aviary.  It was an incredibly soothing and therapeutic experience, and if I lived in NO, I'd be there once a week!

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