Dublin and New Orleans

This world is crowded with beauty that is scattered across its surface in uneven proportions, from mountaintops to deserts, from coral reefs to savannahs to jungles dripping with color, light, and life. The most beautiful place to me is my home: New York City, and I’m drawn to cities all over the globe. Two of my favorites are Dublin and New Orleans.

New Orleans

They both hug the shores of great rivers – the Mississippi and the Liffey.  

New Orleans



They’re both bursting with history.

New Orleans

They’re both good places to have a drink 



New Orleans

or just sit and sketch.

New Orleans

But the best things about both are their musical pulse and their friendly, fascinating people.



New Orleans

REVIEW: The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

If you find yourself in New Orleans and for whatever reason you don’t feel like trying a new cocktail or listening to the best live music on the planet while eating char-broiled oysters, take the St. Charles streetcar to the corner of St. Joseph Street and walk the two blocks to The Ogden Museum of Southern Art. If the weather’s nice, it’s a half hour walk from the heart of the French Quarter.

 The first piece you’ll see is this one:

It’s called Young Life by Bo Bartlett from Georgia and lists among its influences Andrew Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Bruce Springsteen, Pablo Picasso, Grant Wood and the photo that Marina Oswald took of her husband.

When I visited last month there was a photography exhibit on the first floor including this work called Fragility by Milisa Taylor-Hicks.

Exhibiting photography that grows from Southern culture is an important part of the museum’s mission, but I was most affected by the paintings.

The two paintings below are by Will Henry Stevens. You can find more of his paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. The one on the left is untitled and undated. The one on the right is Ships in the River from 1942. 


Some of the works depict rural scenes from another era, including, from Georgia, Richard Wilt’s Farewell from 1942;

From Florida, Christopher Clark’s The Crap Shooters from 1936;

and, from Alabama, John Kelly Fitzpatrick’s Mules to Market from 1937.

Lush landscapes include, from Florida, George Herbert McCord’s Sunset on St. John’s River from 1878, and from Louisiana, Alexander John Drysdale’s Bayou Teche Country 1 from 1927.

More contemporary works include, from Louisiana, Patricia Whitty’s Rose, Green, Indigo from 1993;

also from Louisiana, Michael Deas’ The Neglected Keys from 2012;

from Georgia, Benny Andrews’ Death’s Arrival (Langston Hughes Series), from 1981;

and, from Louisiana, Kendall Shaw’s Sunship, for John Coltrane, from 1982.

Click on any of the artists’ names to learn more about them. Except for poor old Christopher Clark. I couldn’t find anything on him.

There are constantly changing exhibits and events for adults and children. Located at 925 Camp Street, they are closed Tuesdays but open the rest of the week from 10-5, 10-8 on Thursdays. They’re only a couple of blocks from the Mississippi River, which you can follow back to Jackson Square and the cocktails, the oysters, and the best live music on the planet.

New Orleans Sketchbook

Bourbon Streetlight

New Orleans is like no other place on Earth. There, music is the currency with the greatest value, as it should be everywhere. The melting pot was bubbling in the bayou before it had found its way to most other places. The French, African, Spanish, and Native American influences don’t pollinate other populations the way they do the denizens of the Crescent City.

The first band we saw in New Orleans was the Royal Street Winding Boys. We landed at Louis Armstrong Airport late in the afternoon and after dinner followed the sound of Jenavieve Cook’s trumpet into in a place called The 21st Amendment on Iberville Street between Royal and Bourbon. About an hour in I was giving serious consideration to never leaving. A few days later we saw the band again with a slightly different lineup at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street, where I did this sketch of them:

The Royal Street Winding Boys


The bass player, Dizzy, was in both incarnations of the band and I drew him at The Spotted Cat.

It’s a tough town to leave. Even tougher because it hasn’t left me. It’s the kind of town, like my own New York City, that you can’t help but take for granted if you live there, but if you don’t, you might turn an unfamiliar corner and catch a glimpse of the promised land.

Here’s a video of The Royal Street Winding Boys performing “I Found A New Baby” at the Dragon’s Den.

Ten foot glass doors

The architecture is something else

Iron lace
Sculpted lion heads adorning the sides of a
building that’s hidden behind cornstalk fences
Orange and palm trees
Rose bushes and cypress trees and
gas lamps illuminating broken sidewalks
that can eat you alive
Ceilings much higher than they need to be
make for ten-foot glass doors that
open onto balconies where you can
greet the dawn, bloody mary in hand
You’re going to need it
Relaxing is hard work

On the last morning in New Orleans

On the last morning in New Orleans
a rose stifles a shudder
from the three days of winter
that recently passed
The sun has not come out to play
today, but it will because it
always does
Sirens so distant they’re barely audible
could also be the residue
of a band from the night before who played
so loud you couldn’t tell
if they were lousy or just too loud
Probably just too loud
There aren’t too many lousy bands in New Orleans