Between Piety and Desire

desire

New Orleans is truly a study in contrasts. The street names sum it up nicely.  One can literally live between: PIETY: (reflecting their devout Catholic history, the mystic, mysterious air) and DESIRE (wanting and wishing, lusting and partying)

I was hosted by my BFF of twenty years, Laurel True, an international creative force. Her mosaic projects can be found in Kenya, Ghana, Costa Rica, Haiti, and coming this June: Provence. Her Global Mosaic Project is a non-profit that grew out of True’s twenty-years of creating community-based public projects, architectural mosaics and a respected teaching practice.

A rainy day in New Orleans, one of Laurel True's community walls

A rainy day in New Orleans, one of Laurel True’s community walls

We convened in the Bywater neighborhood, a place in transition. Narrow streets filled with colorful houses resonant of a Caribbean island.

All the houses are decked out in purple, gold and green, official Mardi Gras Colors

yellow house

Spring in the air

Bywater is the artistic mecca of NOLA. We strolled the side streets and my eyes  thrilled at the visual mix of ultra-colorful homes aside crumbling detritus. Loose roosters running through the streets, men drinking tall boys from brown paper bags.  Laurel tells me some of the houses are being snapped up “sight unseen.”

Homes painted in imaginative and beautiful color combinations

Homes painted in imaginative and beautiful color combinations

 lid
rusty

rusty

peeling

peeling

Glitter Dog

Glitter Dog

Burgundy at Piety Storefront

Burgundy at Piety Storefront

ramshackle

Shades of a bygone era

Of course we ordered up plenty of delicious food and craft cocktails at restaurants that are springing up all around NOLA.  Duly noted: Bootys, Bacchanal, Maurepas Food Co., Ruby Slipper, SylvainShake Sugary Bakery (say hello Bacon Sweet Potato Scone!)

Shake Sugary Bakery on St. Claude St. at Congress

Shake Sugary Bakery on St. Claude St. at Congress

Bacan Wrapped "Gras" Dog with festive Slaw - Piety St. Market at the Ironworks. Taco Stand.

Bacon Wrapped “Gras” Dog with Festive Slaw – Piety St. Market at the Ironworks. Taco Stand.

Out of Food. Happy Mardi Gras! at the Joint.

Out of Food. Happy Mardi Gras! at the Joint. best BBQ.

On Sunday I participated in the renegade “Box of Wine” march that slips in between the Thoth and Bacchus Krewes.  The revelers carry, yes, boxes of wine and will serve it up to anyone along the parade route. It can be a messy pour, served straight into the wide open mouths, just like little birds. It’s all part of the uninhibited celebration.

I love neon martini signs. Meeting place for Box of Winers

I love neon martini signs. Meeting place for Box of Winers

The Box of Wine Queen and her Footman

The Box of Wine Queen and her Footman

Geometric Theme

Geometric Theme

Mardi Gras cuties

Mardi Gras cuties

Cocaine

Cocaine

Banditos

Box Banditos

On Fat Tuesday morning, (Mardi Gras), we walked in the St. Anne’s walking parade. I was stunned at the quality and creativity of all the costumes, not to mention the “All-For-One-One-For All” down right friendliness of everyone – southern hospitality is real nice.

Beautiful Southern Belle

Beautiful Southern Belle

the Fops. double trouble

The Fops. double trouble

Very stoic revelers for the St. Anne's parade.

Very stoic for the St. Anne’s parade.

While it’s fun to walk along side the raucous brass band, just don’t get too close…

“Keep the People Outta the Band!” the sax player shouted.

You’ve been warned. Find your Balance.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

louisiana

all images made with my iPhone. ©Lillian Sizemore

Comments
15 Responses to “Between Piety and Desire”
  1. Kate Vogt says:

    Thank you, Lillian! It was a treat to have a fresh glimpse of this richly textured and creative city….

  2. Jode says:

    One of the few states I have never been to. Thanks for the adventure!

    Joann DeCosta ART In a Small Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/26271255@N04/ New Hampshire

  3. You nailed it – the neighborhood view of Mardi Gras! Now I know what it’s really like. And it’s heavenly. Nola is a special place.

    • sfmosaic says:

      thanks Nancie. it’s like no other place in the US – having visited for only a few days, i know it takes time to understand the many layers of this complex and rich culture, being with friends who live there made it a special experience.

  4. Judy Justice says:

    Thanks for the glance of Mardi Gras. Really nice pics. Loved the houses.

  5. Images look good enough to eat. Gorgeous!

  6. Beautiful set of pictures! You’ve got a wonderful eye for detail. I especially like the signs of decay and beauty coexisting. Was hoping to catch a glimpse of you as a water spirit. Did you do any selfies?

  7. martasp says:

    A glimpse of culture from another desire-able city
    Loved the photos…want to see the xxx ones.

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