"There's NOLA Place Like Home" Painting

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“New Orleans, Louisiana is a special place where people can truly be themselves and celebrate all of the magic that life and death have to offer. The magic of this city is preserved by the love of the people here who live here. We love this city so much that sometimes it hurts, especially when we can’t experience it in the joyous ways in which we have grown accustomed, for one reason or another. Our traditions and bloodlines run deeper than the deepest part of the Mississippi. Deeper than the roots of oak trees under our centuries-old streets. That special connection lives in the natives who have stayed, those who have returned, and those who visit, but never leave. 

As a native New Orleanian born and raised, and like many who love this city, I know what it means to miss New Orleans. There are only three times when I had to leave NOLA: in August 2005 for Hurricane Katrina; for college in 2008; and when I moved to Florida in 2013 to be with my love and find work following the recession. All I wanted during those times was to click my heels three times and be teleported back home. Eventually through some magic, the city brought me back, as She always does. The next time I’m inevitably forced to leave, it will not be without heartache and hopes of returning. So until that day comes, I’m going to celebrate being here with every fiber of my being. 

Being here in this swampy, mysterious, culturally-rich place I call home brings me contentment and gratitude. Even while under this “stay at home order” following the shut down of the city due to the coronavirus, I feel even more connected to my community, my neighbors, and my husband. He’s from up north, but I brought him back here to the swamp with me. We were married here last October, and I’ve enjoyed being here with him and witnessing him take in the magic of this city through his own eyes.

This painting was started as a sign for the Muse’s parade back in 2018. I wanted to get a prized shoe, so I was determined to make a sign in hopes of catching one. I finished one sign but not this one. For two years, I’ve worked on it here and there, as the seasons of life came and went. The style is inspired by folk art, which reminds me of authenticity and humanness, two prevalent themes here in the Big Easy. Recently, with more time on my hands, “trapped” in my old shotgun house here in Bayou St. John, I had the energy to complete it. Its meaning took on an entirely different context  a context of being stuck under a stay at home order, of missing the city while it has been shut down for months, and of knowing that change is inevitable. The waters will rise, and they will fall. And all the while, this city will have a special place in my heart. There is truly NOLA place like home.”

Painting is mixed media on oak plywood, framed with a salvage window from an old New Orleans house. Framed dimensions are 27” W  x 28” H x 1 ¾” thick. There D rings on the back for easy hanging.