Between Piety and 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.
We convened in the Bywater neighborhood, a place in transition. Narrow streets filled with colorful houses resonant of a Caribbean island.
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.”
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, Sylvain, Shake Sugary Bakery (say hello Bacon Sweet Potato Scone!)
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.
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.
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
all images made with my iPhone. ©Lillian Sizemore