NOLA Noteworthy

A random roundup of my personal picks of the best from local blogs and other NOLA-related news.

In Treme news, in response to the last episode, Sam Jasper at the Back of Town blog has written a beautiful and thoughtful post about the culture and tradition of  place and the inevitability of change, “It Just Don’t Smell Right Up In Here”.  Big Chief Albert Lambreaux is showing more of his cantankerous side while in New York recording Indian chants for a proposed record release. The title of the post comes directly from Big Chief’s mouth. Sam writes in part,

“His son has come around to the tradition in his way, but it’s not Albert’s way, and that’s mortality hitting ya in the face. Not just his own, but possibly the old ways, the culture he is so totally self-identified with and by. I know many elderly Native Americans who are terrified that their grandchildren won’t know any of the songs, traditions, creation stories, or medicine ways. In fact, several years ago, I believe it was the Shawnee who were given back sacred objects that had been held at the Smithsonian for a very long time. They let the Smithsonian keep them because no one alive knew what to do with them anymore.”

As an aside,in an earlier thread, Sam talked about the character Aunt MiMi, commenting as how she wanted to be Aunt MiMi. Huh. I’m acquainted with Sam and have heard a few of her stories. I think Aunt MiMi would be thrilled to be her. Sam is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She’s a born teacher and storyteller who shares her knowledge and life experiences with an open heart, bypassing the need to instruct. I highly recommend her personal blog, NOLA Slate, although she doesn’t post nearly enough to feed this starving reader. (Check out this amazing post.)

Former mayor Ray Nagin released his self-published Katrina memoir last week resulting in a frenzy of blog posts, opinions, tweets and grumblings all over town. The best thing I’ve read hands-down is Michael Homan’s post, “Pharaoh Nagin”. No spoilers here – you must go read it.

Local indie designer Kerry Fitts was featured in the Times-Picayune last Thursday. (Sorry I don’t have a link.) After the earthquake in Japan Kerry allocated a portion of her sales from her Etsy shop to ArkBark, a non-profit group that was rescuing pets left behind in the radiation zone. Shortly thereafter she began exchanging emails about a possible fund-raiser and is traveling to Japan in July to participate in that event. She is donating her original designs for dogs and seeking additional donations from other local crafters. For more info about this amazing woman see my interview with her here.

One of my favorite local blogs is “NOLA Details” where the blogger Carla shares a NOLA-related photo every day. My favorite reoccurring theme on this blog is “Fun Porches” and we surely have plenty of those  here in NOLA so I don’t anticipate she’ll run out of candidates any time soon! Here’s one of  my favorites. Carla has another blog, “Watching NOLA Nature”, described as “Explorations in the urban oasis of New Orleans”. I really like how she zeroes in on the little things that go unnoticed in our every day lives. She reminds us of the wonder of nature and the beauty that is all around us. It’s a great little Zen moment everyday that I really look forward to.

Are you a tweeter? If so, my pick for Tweeter To Follow is @gadboiselensnola for informative up-to-the-minute reports from many of our city services department meetings including the City Council meetings, the City Planning Commission meetings and the Housing and Human Needs Committee meetings (all in the last 12 days!), among many others. Karen has made it so easy for us to keep up with what’s happening it would be a shame not to follow her.

Finally, I want to give a little shout-out to local blog “New Orleans Write Spot” that currently has one of my pieces posted. Susan Prevost (whom I interviewed here) publishes local talent and has the welcome mat out for local writers who are interested in publishing there. It’s a great place to read a bit of poetry and prose and support local talent.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter and on Delicious to keep up with what we’re talking (also found in the sidebar) about or just wait for here for my random NOLA Noteworthy posts. Take care, y’all.

Update: I just want to add a post on NoLA Rising I read this morning (6/30) about the musical house that’s being created in  Bywater. Internationally known artist Swoon is involved along with many local artists. I recently viewed & photographed a scale model of the house from the street (seen below). Go to ReX’s website to read about it and view the video that details this community-minded event.

Swoon At NOMA

Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon in the street art community, will be unveiling her work, Thalassa, tonight at NOMA.  I first became aware of Swoon’s street art in 2008 when I saw her work (photo below) plastered on the side of a crumbling structure on Tchoupitoulas which is no longer there.

Tchoupitoulas St, November 2008, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

Back then, I was regularly photographing street art along Tchoupitoulas as I traveled it twice a day to my workplace. I’d never seen art like this on the street before so I contacted ReX of NoLA Rising who told me it was Swoon’s work. I could tell the piece wasn’t actually painted onto the structure and, subsequently, read that Swoon paints onto paper which she applies to buildings with wheat paste.

In the fall of 2010 Swoon visited New Orleans again, leaving, I believe, three images in the Bywater/St.Claude area. I was able to photograph one of the pieces on St.Claude, below. (Update: went by this site 6/11 and the art has been greyed out.)

St. Claude Ave, October 2010, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

St.Claude Ave, October 2010, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

From the Times-Picayune:

“Big paper prints are Swoon’s stock and trade, but they’re not the sort of tame art reproductions so often found framed on apartment walls. Swoon, 33, gained international fame as a graffiti guerrilla, aggressively applying her artwork to public places with — or without — the property owner’s permission. But Swoon’s style has always been a bit gentler than most taggers. Curry’s lacy paper prints, often perforated with hundreds of shaped holes and affixed to public walls with old-fashioned wheat paste, aren’t permanent like spray paint. In time, they peel away. And the images she chooses to decorate urban common areas — mostly portraits of benign deities and ordinary folk — don’t have the same alienated bravado of most graffiti writers.”

Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune ~ Thalassa, a large-scale sculpture by street artist Swoon, rises in a New Orleans warehouse

Swoon will speak tonight at NOMA at 6 p.m. There is also reception is from 5 to 10 p.m. and Thalassa will be on view through September 25.