Friday, December 19, 2008

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Things got a little out of hand at the company Xmas party.
(yes, that's me)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Day in the Quarter!

The world is ending!

Well, maybe not, but it was magical enough to drag me from my sick bed (my luck to be sick on the one snow day in New Orleans) and skulk about in the snow with my camera. It will all be a memory by lunchtime.

Decatur and Esplanade (by my office - I had to go there to retrieve my camera)

Decatur and Barracks (the other end of the block)

The Ursuline Convent (Chartres and Ursuline)

My gallery (front porch in Kentuckian)

Etta was NOT interested in her photo op. Even the repeated chorus of "Three Dog Bakery!" couldn't get her to sit and look at the camera.
(The yellow snow was where I spilled my coffee, in case you were wondering)

The view from my bedroom window - I guess I'll be busy pruning this weekend.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


The young Mario Praz

Were you that kid who always got blamed for crap other kids did? Do you sometimes feel like you're walking under a personal raincloud? Surely all but the most self-assured of us feel this way some of the time, but this was the public condition of Mario Praz (1896-1982), a genius literary critic (The Romantic Agony), tastmaking art historian (Gusto Neoclassico, An Illustrated History of Furnishings), and carrier of the Evil Eye (malocchio in Italian). In an essay for the New York Times in 1983*, Muriel Spark noted that, despite his general eminence, Romans treated Praz like the cooler in an old-time casino: "everyone noticed when Mario Praz was present at a party, and waited for the disaster. There was usually a stolen car at the end of the evening, or someone called away because his uncle had died. " This was apparently treated as a matter of fact, and did not prevent him from being liked (although John Richardson has said otherwise), much less widely respected - a book of essays, Friendship's Garland, was published in honor of his 70th birthday - and mourned on a national scale after his death. He was just this sad neighborhood character who happened to be famous.

The older Mario Praz

Spark's article goes on to describe him sitting under a leak in the roof of the opera house: "sure enough, there was our dear Malocchio sitting under the afflicted spot," enduring his own private rainstorm. The burden of such a reputation would turn anyone into a recluse.

These friends won't blame you for their bad luck - Praz's drawing room at the Palazzo Ricci (from The House of Life)

This eminent outcast eventually assembled one of the finest collection of Empire, Regency and Biedermeier furniture and decorative arts in private hands at the time, paid for by his work as a translator (he translated most of his English contemporaries into Italian). His oddly fascinating memoir, The House of Life (a reply to the roman a clef written by his estranged ex wife, who considered their marriage a tomb), catalogues his collection in terms of relationships with the various people who passed through his life when he wasn't haggling with dealers. A description of a rare objet will end with an anecdote about T.S. Eliot; his attempt to show his affection for his daughter with fine Empire furniture in her nursery was not met with the hoped-for gratitude.

The collection now resides in the Museo Mario Praz, located in his final apartment in the Palazzo Primoli, over the Museo Napoleonico on Via Zanardelli.

The Grande Galleria
The Scrivania

The Salle della Biblioteche (3 pictures above courtesy the Museo Mario Praz)


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Needlepoint Pillow Quote - Quentin Crisp

"If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style. "
(photo from crisperanto )

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Seen on my way to work...

four layers of grafitti: the grey ghost (over someone else), a paw (a new anti-grey ghost coverup) and a fine sentiment from Major Payne*.

*I had to look it up - never saw the movie. I just liked the colors. And the sentiment was bracing at 7:30.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Is this a hoax?

Or does (did) Stephen Alesch (Roman and Williams) have a blog?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Out and Around

Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1835 St. Roch Avenue

Wogan and Bernard Architects, 1930-31.

One of the perquesites of my job is that I'm out and around in most of the historic neighborhoods in New Orleans and seeing sights like this almost every day. Wogan and Bernard have a long history in New Orleans: under various firm names, they are responsible for large houses Uptown, the original part of the Xavier University campus, the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter and numerous churches around Louisiana.

The church is built in a Byzantine/ Venetian style and is a landmark in the St. Roch neighborhood north of St. Claude Avenue.

I was just passing through the neighborhood, so I couldn't go inside, but found these images online. Apparently it has quite a pipe organ.

I like the interior, but not quite sure what I think about the altar painting. (It's starting to grow on me)

last 2 photos from

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Rainbow in Marrero

We do things a little different in New Orleans.

p.s. he's playing at One Eyed Jack's Tonight

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Dream Bedroom...

Horst image of Cy Twombly's roman apartment in the 1960s. (image from

If I won the lottery, this is what my bedroom would look like (minus the fur bedspread - perhaps on the floor for my dog)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something for Everyone!

Not quite sure that I'd go to an optometrist with this sign.

All hairstyles can participate!

You can vote for Obama, no matter how big your 'stash!

Or how existentially oppressed..

My favorite, but the Dude may be too busy abiding to vote. (Although there might be a polling place by the grocery/ liquor store/ bowling alley)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Evacuation Recap 1 - The Corinthian Order

I know it's a week late, but my wi-fi is on the blink, work has been crazy since Gustav, and it's not like I post that much. Anyway, the Corinthian Order is very popular in Madison, MS , a suburb of Jackson. According to my (very gracious) hurrication hosts, Madison has strict design guidelines, so the Corinthian Order may very well be in the building codes, along with ADA and NFPA guidelines.

The above pergola of fuel makes filling up the tank a veritable garden party!

This convenience store features engaged Corinthian Columns on plinths. I guess they're going for the ruined grotto effect with the bricked-in arch. You, know, instant history - like Lutyens and Addison Mizner. Yeah.

This Walgreen's is practically academic in its use of the Corinthian Order- note the double pilasters at the entrance pavillion. The frieze is a bit exaggerated, but I saw much (much!) worse in town; unfortunately, the person driving me around found my outrage less than amusing -"not everyone is that picky about architecture" (her Dad's a civil engineer) - and didn't want to pull over on busy roads so I could get pictures of numerous monstrosities. I wish I could have gotten a better shot here, but the Madison police were busily arresting a Gustav evacuee. (Or maybe they caught some local stealing Sudafed to make meth - you just know there are labs up in the hills)

One final shot, taken on the way out of town. On the left is the local Kinko's. Nice cupolas.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane's Coming!

Time to bring in the plants! I inherited this split-leaf philodendron with my current apartment - it usually lives out on the gallery (see previous posts) where it does well enough to require regular pruning. This thing moving to the hallway has always been something of a bellwether - it also sometimes showed up in my old apartment across the hall. The wardrobe is Italian Art Nouveau - my landlords have a side business doing estate sales. It looks like it belongs in a hotel room overlooking Lago di Como.

ALL of the plants have to come in. Even the ones I would prefer to throw away. Of course I managed to break a pot in my living room. There's a nice marble mantel and campaign bed behind that jungle...

A little grim, no? (well, I was going to paint the floor anyway)

Yes, a bit grim. Now I'm off to help my friends Uptown batten down their hatches. We'll decide tonight or tomorrow morning whether to stay to go. If I stay, I'll stay at their house. If not, Jackson here we come. We being Etta and I. We're prepared.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

View Up Royal, 11:00 pm

A rare quiet night in the Quarter.

A Suggestion for Visitors to the Quarter

Your Chevy Suburban is not a Lotus Elise. Slow your happy ass down.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm Happy to See You, Too!

My friend Donovan has a new fisheye lens, which my pug Etta seems to think is something to eat. Yes, her tongue is always like that. No, I don't know why.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Years

Wow! I somehow managed not to post for a year, but then 2007 was a helluva year, mainly a series of narrowly averted disasters. When my old job became hell on earth thanks to a couple of people (who happened to be a couple), I managed to jump ship to a better job. I've managed to not get thrown in jail, go to the hospital, get fired, or permanently alienate my friends and family, but there were times when I pushed it. So I'm giving my guardian angel some time off: no pushing it. So far I'm off to a good start; no hangover on NYD, and no regrets for last night's behavior. There are things about my life I'd like to change, but there's a lot in my life to envy.

I'm also going to take more pictures around the quarter, since my walk to work is a visual feast - if I'm awake enough!