Yep, this house sure is an eye-catcher. It's bold and unafraid. As I was snapping photos, the owner came out and I complimented her on the new paint. She said: "Well, we decided we needed a little more color." Indeed. Here's what we've got:
Fascia and trim: Red
Railing, window frames, posts and pots: White
Here we have two identical windows on the same wall in an old New Orleans bathroom. A spider has built a web on one window (top), but not the other (bottom). Do you wonder why?
It's all about air leaks and food. Spiders don't choose their home sites like we do. They don't check Zillow for nearby home prices, or get school ratings, or wonder what the zip code will do for their social standing.
What spiders want is a cozy, protected spot with a steady food supply, which means little insects. What spiders know is that insects enter a house where there are air leaks. If there are no air leaks, there will be fewer insects.
Why do you care? If you want to control the temperature and humidity and comfort levels inside your home, and most of us do, sealing up air leaks is critical.
The scientific way to determine air leaks involves a home energy audit with a blower door test, infrared camera and other scientific means.
But spider webs also have a tale to tell. If you spot spider webs in your home, they did not end up there accidentally. They were placed there by a genius spider bent on survival. And thus you have evidence of a leak. Your move.
Mountains have been moved since the levee failures in 2005, but when you look at Google maps, it's like the past few years never happened.
Here are some photos I found on the Nola Street View blog:
This is Second Street between S. Prieur and S. Johnson in August of 2007, when Google sent their cameras around:
But the image below is what you see when you walk down the street today. Notice any difference?
See Nola Street View for more outrageousness.
Siding, doors, shutters: Red
Quoins, door frames, window frames: Hunter Green
P.S. I need to get back and photograph the house next door with the yellow shutters!
Before the paint job, this house was extremely boring (photo below). When I saw it up for sale, I thought: Who would want such a boring house? Then, it got painted by the new owners and WOW! They had vision. Here's what they did:
Brick exterior: Olive green
Windows: Yellow and orange
Door: Fuchsia and Yellow
Shutters: Deep blue
Picket fence: Butter yellow
Bravo! And thanks for brightening up the neighborhood!
The newest sculpture at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park is titled "Karma" and is by South Korean artist Do-Ho Suh. It's made of stainless steel, stands 23 feet tall, and is composed of 98 cast figures, on top of each other, with each subsequent figure descending in size. Each holds their hands over the eyes of the one below.
I take this to mean that the blindnesses of each lifetime follow us to the next.
I'm so grateful to the New Orleans women displaced by the levee failures in 2005 who scattered to other parts of the country for a while and realized there were awesome dog parks and wouldn't it be amazing if we had one too! So they came home and rebuilt their homes and set about to create NOLA City Bark, a wonderful 4.6-acre dog park in City Park that opened 2 years ago.
Two bathing stations
Three drinking fountains
Two small pools
A small-dog area
Poop bag dispensers
And now . . . finally . . . lights!
We have been noted as being one of the best dog parks in the country. Rock on!
Our park is unique in that you need a pass to get in. It costs $43 a year, and your dog has to be spayed or neutered, and have all necessary shots. See rules and regulations. Plus, your dog has to get along. If your dog doesn't get along, a veterinarian associated with the dog park will call to discuss training options.
We love our City Bark! Membership has been so successful that they recently hired a fulltime administrator.
This photo was snapped yesterday, July 9, at the weekly Monday morning planning session of LowerNine.org, a nonprofit that fixes up people's houses. On the left is executive director Laura Paul.
LowerNine.org volunteers have helped more than 100 families from the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans get back into their damaged homes. If you feel like donating, please do! These kids have a lot of heart, but money is needed for supplies like paint and sheetrock and insulation.
(Disclaimer: My husband Bill is president of the group's board of directors, and they held their board meeting in our house last night.)
Here's a video showing the results of their work. Miss Mary is home!
This is a very pleasing combination. It's complex, but not overly so. Just the right amount of variety without fanfare. You're not showing off, but you're not hiding out, either. Here's what we've got:
Shutters: Dark Blue
Fascia, trim, posts, railings: Cream
Window frames, rocking chairs: Burgundy
If you've got fancy corbels, you may as well play them up. Here are two samples from Uptown, just off Magazine Street.
Here's what we've got:
• Siding: Dusty rose
• Porch deck, shutters and mullion detail: Hunter green
• Porch railings, fascia, moldings, window frames and door frame: Butterscotch
• Metal work: Black
Here's what they did:
Bottom siding and fascia: Periwinkle blue
Bottom window frames, detail on posts and trim: Mustard
Upper siding, posts, porch ceiling, upper railing and details: Custard
At 1,300 acres, New Orleans Ctiy Park is almost impossible to comprehend. After all, it's almost twice the size of Central Park in New York.
That's why I've created this helpful map. It shows only the bottom third of the park. See the whole park below. (Click on map for a bigger view)
A. Marconi Avenue
B. City Park Avenue
C. Esplanade Boulevard
D. Wisner Avenue
1. New Orleans Museum of Art
2. Besthoff Sculpture Garden
3. Big Lake
4. Big Lake Walking Trail
5. Christian Brothers School
6. Bayou St. John
7. Future Festival Grounds, now under construction
8. Pelican Gardens and Greenhouse
9. Future park maintenance building
10. Disc golf course
11. Practice Track
12. Administration Building, just out of the picture
13. Tad Gormley Stadium
14. Amusement Park
16. Botanical Garden
18. Great Lawn
19. Future miniature golf courses, now under construction
20. Peristyle (built 1918)
21. Stanley Ray Playground
22. Popp's Bandstand
23. Casino Building and Parkview Cafe
After a summer squall, it takes a while for the water to sink into the ground at the park. I really don't believe we'll have water shortages here anytime soon. The tracks you see are for the miniature train that winds through the park. The train was established in the 1800s. (Click on image for a big and beautiful view.)
This lovely raised Creole cottage just off Marconi near City Park is luminous with its periwinkle lap siding, softly yellow doors and bright white trim.
It's simple and stunning.
Siding: Periwinkle blue
They meander past weedy lots where torrents of water from breached levees shaved blocks of houses off their foundations on Aug. 29, 2005.
Nearly 2,000 people died along the Gulf Coast, mostly from the flooding, which reached attics in some areas. The flood damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and affected 80% of the city. (The tourist-attracting French Quarter, where most of the tour buses originate, did not flood, and its iconic buildings remain intact.)
From ground level in the Lower 9th, a scattering of residents and the construction workers struggling to build back the community might look up and see the tourists, who have paid $40 or so for a "Katrina Tour."
If the bus includes a savvy guide, the passengers' gazes may be directed to another type of visitor, those volunteers on the ground working with one of the dozens of nonprofits tasked with bringing displaced families back home.
Though many other places in the country need volunteers to recover from disasters too, New Orleans presents a compelling gumbo of history, architecture, food, music, joyousness and diversity, along with an awareness that it was that it was not the Category 3 hurricane (which missed the city) that caused all this suffering, but a government-created engineering failure of the levee system, along with the ecological decimation of the wetlands that have historically protected the crescent-shaped city from Gulf storms.
See the whole story at www.latimes.com
The new music video below shows the beauty and talents of Alexis Marceaux, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from New Orleans. Marceaux and her band will be playing on the Lagniappe Stage at 12:33 p.m. on the first day of Jazz Fest, Friday, April 23. See the whole Jazz Fest schedule here.
Alexis's appearance is a perfect example of how Jazz Fest in New Orleans is not just for the hottest performers in the world, but also for up-and-coming locals.
Watch this video (filmed in our very own City Park) and see if this makes you want to see more in person on April 23.
P.S. Yours truly co-produced and directed this video.
We're barely one month away from the start of Jazz Fest, which runs seven days over two weekends beginning Friday, April 23. I will be blogging from the Fairgrounds, where the enormous festival is held, and uploading photos of people, performers and food!
Traditionally, food gets kind of short shrift during media coverage of Jazz Fest. And why not? With some 350 acts performing, it's hard not to put the focus there. Simon & Garfunkel headline at the festival, as do Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, The Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, Jeff Beck, and so many more. See the whole lineup.
But what about the food? We're talking Crawfish Bread, Snowballs, Cajun Jambalaya, Po-Boys, Crab Cakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, Banana Bread Pudding, and so much more. See all the food vendors here.
My plan is to try as many dishes as possible and update this blog as the tastes sink in. I'd love to hear about your own favorite dishes during the festival.
Geez, I'm hungry. Is it mealtime?
In New Orleans, we can't get enough of this Halftime song: Stand Up and Get Crunk.
You are right to associate New Orleans with rich food that is emotionally and spiritually nourishing but perhaps not that physically healthy.
But there are a whole bunch of New Orleans restaurants that are healthy on all three levels. They include:
Green Goddess: This tiny place just opened May 2009 in the French Quarter and is a hit with local vegetarians. (307 Exchange Avenue, The menu is described as globe-trotting and includes Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pepper Jelly, the Green Goddess Wedge Salad, and Abado Mess 'o Greens Cuban Sandwich. Lots of meat dishes too. Download lunch menu and dinner menu. (307 Exchange Place, 504-301-3347)
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse: A hip coffee place off Esplanade Avenue in Mid-City, not too far from the New Orleans Museum of Art and City Park. At Fair Grinds, efforts are made to serve organic and fair-traded foods and coffees. My favorite is a little bowl of chickpeas with raisins and spices that you can eat hot or cold. The environment is wholesome as well, with Scrabble games on Mondays, yoga upstairs and all sorts of art and music events. See Vegan News (3133 Ponce De Leon, 504-913-9073)
Bennachin: A West African restaurant in the French Quarter, Bennachin serves plenty of meat, but you can find very delectable vegetarian dishes, wilted spinach, fried plantains and exciting ginger drinks.Very casual. (1212 Royal St., 504-522-1230)