Friday, March 6, 2015

Orange Street, New Orleans

Orange Street in New Orleans is only 9 blocks long, but has a long history. According to John Chase's book Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children, the street was named "because it ran through the orange grove which the Jesuit fathers planted when once this region was part of their vast plantation." The region now is part of Lower Garden District, where you see street names like Race, Annunciation, Market, St. James, St Thomas, Celeste, and Constance. Only after I read the book in 1998 I found out why that coffee shop on Race at Magazine was called Rue de la Course. (The cafe is now called Mojo.)

That whole area has seen a renaissance since Louisiana's tax incentive towards film productions brought in young people from out of town, who have jobs and enough money to eat out and buy new clothes. After we moved out of that neighborhood, at least 2 Vietnamese restaurants have opened up, as well as one super high-end coffee shop, hip clothing boutiques, salons, iPhone repair place, a pub, more clothing boutiques, more coffee shops, a bike shop, and a crap load of Air BnB hosts.  The houses are being fixed up and repainted, and it just feels a lot livelier now than when I lived there.

Orange near Constance, New Orleans
oil on canvas, 18"x24"
I have a stack of reference photos that I flip through when it's raining, or when the windchill is below 30 degrees. The painting above was done this morning when it was sooooo cold, my husband looked me in the eyes and said "you know it's like -1 degree celsius," in case I didn't understand the seriousness of the windchill in fahrenheit. So I stayed inside and painted from a photograph, probably about 3 years old. I've painted the same block, around the time that photo was taken.

Purple Wall on Orange Street
oil on canvas, 18"x24"
It must have been a trash pick-up day.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hot Dog Stand at City Park

Once upon a time, there was a place where people gathered to play and have fun; young and old, rich and poor, people with different backgrounds. Then a hurricane named Katrina came and this magical place was filled with water. Trees died, structures sat in the mud for days, if not for weeks. After a while the residents were allowed back into the city, and they cleared the debris and overgrown weeds.

The golf courses at City Park is one of the four public courses in Orleans Parish, and there are only two courses in the East Bank. This is an abandoned hot dog stand that used to serve drinks and snacks to golfers who couldn't, or didn't want to play at any of the private courses in this region.

Hot Dog Stand, City Park, New Orleans
oil on canvas, 16"x22"
The golf complex at City Park used to have three 18-hole courses before the hurricane. They made a lot of money for the city who is notoriously underfunded, even before the hurricane. If your neighborhood is dark at night, or your street has many potholes, wouldn't you want your city to have enough funding to take care of them?