The Creative Endeavors Thread Returns To Its Roots

This is the space for our members to discuss and share their creative projects, ranging from written works to drawings, photography, and even craft projects such as knitting and woodworking. Self promotion is welcome (websites where we can view and/or purchase your work). Please do continue to preface if content is NSFW and be sure to properly spoiler/link such content.

The inner courtyard of the Hermann-Grima House (c. 1831), site of the critically acclaimed “Urban Enslavement” tour that looks at the lives and experiences of the enslaved workers whose labor was central to New Orleans’ establishment and development.

I spent much of the past week in New Orleans, where, as I’ve mentioned before, most of my living family has their roots. My dad’s large Irish Catholic family spent about a century there before eventually spreading between the Crescent City and Baton Rouge, where I was born and raised. Sadly, during much of my childhood and young adulthood, I took New Orleans largely for granted, not least as it was so closely associated with sometimes tedious family celebrations and get-togethers, not just Mardi Gras (I love my family, but you know how it is). Once I had the ability to get there on my own, I mostly stuck to the French Quarter and wasn’t terribly familiar with much of the rest of the city (my aforementioned relatives almost all lived in nearby Metairie by this point). By the time I was able to properly appreciate the greater culture and history, I was firmly ensconced in the Midwest, and without a car, so the only time I ever went to New Orleans was through the airport, and that back and forth to Baton Rouge via various family members giving me a lift.

Roast beef po-boy at Parasol’s in the Irish Channel. It was an understandably high bar given the surroundings, but this was easily the best meal I had during my visit.

Until last Thanksgiving (when my mom took me to the Van Gogh “Experience” “for my birthday” despite me not wanting to go in the first place), I’d never been in the city itself since the turn of the millennium, if not before. Katrina and the aftermath happened largely at a remove for me, and I watched the place become super-trendy in the intervening years among a number of local friends while I had little means to spend some time there myself. Thankfully, my dad and his wife, who may have tired of my insistence the last several years that I didn’t need anything for Christmas, offered to pay for a trip there several months back after the deficit hit me anew in the wake of that Van Gogh thing. Fast-forward to yesterday and I’m still coming down off it. I’d hoped more than a little to draw a line under that part of my life and… New Orleans isn’t the kind of place where you get to do that. It really is somewhere everyone ought to visit at least once even without all the old memories and mixed feelings someone like me’s carrying around, let alone someone who actually grew up there.

LeTrainiump opening for Water Seed at Tipitina’s Friday night. Given that I’d somehow never managed to make it to Tipitina’s once during my quarter-century of Louisiana life (I think?), it was fitting that I had to ditch before the latter went on. Great show, regardless.

I did a little sketching, but I wound up concentrating more on people and just general energy than buildings and architecture, and in any case the wandering around was far more the point. A couple of great art exhibits in among the general culture—the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Clementine Hunter’s plantation “naives,” George Rodrigue’s studio/museum on Royal Street, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park, and best of all Andrew LaMar Hopkins’ work on the third floor of the Cabildo; the scion of an old Black Creole family (and drag queen), his bright acrylic paintings celebrate (for the most part) the culture and history of the “free people of color” that had such a massive impact on the city. Atop everything else, it reminded me more than a little of the stuff I’ve been trying to do, if on a much smaller and far less culturally redolent scale.

Collection of Hopkins’ miniatures on the third floor of the Cabildo (seat of the old Spanish colonial government, now part of the Louisiana State Museum); I highly urge folks to check out his work online (so many pictures to study for color and comp).

The header’s a shot of Bienville Square (really a triangle) at Decatur and St. Peter’s near the southern edge of the French Quarter, probably the most architecturally representative shot I managed to get during my long weekend.

Final stretch of Constantinople Street just before the river; this is where the Reillys’ house in A Confederacy of Dunces would have stood (line for tacos at trendy Barracuda just around the corner not pictured).

And now to process. How’s your work going?