Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ways to Give this Season and Have a Blast While Doing It! Part One: The Pussyfooters Blush Ball

This is the first in a series of posts about women's groups that march during Mardi Gras season. Many groups that march during Mardi Gras raise money during special events to help different organizations in the city of New Orleans and these events take place between now and Mardi Gras, hence the timing of the series. This first segment will be about The Pussyfooters -the history of the group and more importantly their annual fundraiser, The Blush Ball, which takes place in order to raise money to benefit The Metropolitan Center for Women and Children while throwing one hell of a party to do so!

Last year, I was invited to join a group of women who call themselves The Pussyfooters. I knew them as a fantastic group of confident dancing gals who marched in Muses but quickly learned that they are much more. The ladies (all of whom are above the age of thirty, a prerequisite for joining) dress in pink, sherbet orange and white and take to the streets to march or dance freestyle during a number of events throughout the year. There are close to eighty women in the group now, though you will see the greatest number of members march during Muses as some live in other places now or split time between different cities.

In front of the judges' booth, Muses 2009

Small groups of ladies pop up at events all over the city from August until Muses. Last year the Pussyfooters made appearances at the Midsummer Mardi Gras, The Halloween Parade, The Lazarus Halloween Ball, Prospect Everyone, The Blush Ball, and The Lyons Club just to name a few events! We do not always wear the official costume of the year, but often dress "free style" where the only dress requirement is to wear Pussyfooter colors. It is during these events where you will see individual characters shine through.

At Prospect Everyone, 2008, above and
dancing in "loose formation" at The Lyons Club March, below



THE BLUSH BALL

This year's Blush Ball will feature entertainment by DJ Soul Sister and Big Sam's Funky Nation for dancing, Pussyfooter's performing and debuting this year's official costume, Mardi Gras Indians, the 610 Stompers, raffles, edibles and a cash bar!

When:
Friday, January 15, 2010
8pm til Midnight

Where:
The Old Mardi Gras World
233 Newton Street, Algiers Point

$20.00 tickets purchased ahead, $25.00 at the door

email Nikki Page @ almanzo@gmail.com to purchase ahead


THE HISTORY & PURPOSE OF THE PUSSYFOOTERS

I interviewed one of the founding members of the group, Camille Baldassar to get some answers about how the group started and what we stand for. First and foremost, it is said that

PUSSYFOOTERS ARE ON THIS EARTH TO RAISE THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE. SISTERS FROM THE MOTHERSHIP WORK TO SUPPORT AND EMPOWER WOMEN GLOBALLY AND LOCALLY. WE HONOR OUR IMPERFECTIONS AND DANCE OUT OF LOVE AND NON-JUDGEMENT. WE ARE- EACH AND EVERYONE OF US-SHINY DIAMONDS.


Who are The Pussyfooters?
Majorettes from the Mothership sent here to help the party people get their groove on.

Can you talk about your inspiration for founding the Pussyfooters?
I was watching one of my first Mardi Gras parades and fell in love with the gals who dance in the high school troupes. I was about 37 years old and thought, "I want to do that!" I began asking around, and with the help of a few core women we called a meeting, held practices, contacted Muses, made costumes and the Pussyfooters were born.

Why the name Pussyfooters?
Someone just thought it up in the early stages of brainstorming, and as soon as we heard it we knew it was the right one. We love the double entendre twist. One of the definitions of Pussyfoot means to sneak behind the scenes-do things your own way. There's a little subversive nature to who we are as well.

How did the grow to be so large? There are close to eighty members now!
People love what we do as much as we do. We are proud to be one of the, now, many women's parade groups that fit naturally into the NOLA groove.

Note: Each woman is invited to join and is sponsored by another established Pussyfooter. Only one woman may be sponsored by a member, and membership does not expand every year.

How did the handlers come about?
The first year we knew enough to invite our male friends to march with us and help out. The first parade they just jumped in and helped with crowd control, the music system, and kept us hydrated. We couldn't do this without them.

What does the group do to help empower women?
What we see is that Pussyfooting (organizing together, costuming, and performance) creates individual and group growth, self-confidence, and self respect via performance. We are all amateur dancers, yet still get out there and strut our joy for everyone.
Since our first year we have done fundraising for Women for Women International. Additionally we have supported: Lindy's Place, The Holy Cross Neighborhood Organization and Metro Women's center.Link

What is the vision for the future of the group?

We hope to expand our service mission, and are in the process of applying for Non-profit status. We are working to nurture more depth in our values of Love, non-judgement, respect, and service within our own organizational culture.

The Logo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Newborn Induced Hiatus

Taking a break from the blog as I adjust to the introduction of a newborn variable to my lifestyle.

I think I will be back as soon as I get five straight hours of sleep at night...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009

The ACLU/ American Civil Liberties Union has organized an event to kick off Banned Books Week 2009 to be held at The Bridge Lounge this Sunday afternoon. Stop by to see a panel of local writers read from works that have been banned.

My husband, Billy Sothern, is scheduled to read at 1:40 pm from Charles Baudelaire's previously banned works. Other writers scheduled to read include Lolis Eric Elie, Thomas Beller, Patty Friedmann, Gerod Stevens, Roberts Batson, Fred Kasten (WWNO announcer), James Gill, Louis Maistros, Tom Piazza, Poppy Z. Brite, Paula Morris, Ken Foster and Anne Gisleson

From the ACLU Louisiana website:

2009 Banned Books Week Kick-Off Event
Sunday, September 27th, 2009 from 1 PM to 4 PM

Bridge Lounge
1201 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA

FREE and OPEN to the public :: Menu and Cash Bar will be available

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What I've Been Doing These Last Ten Months

I have been growing this baby!

Her name is Rose "Rosie" Mae Sothern and she smells good.

I am REALLY tired, so I will be posting Billy's blog post about her arrival. It's funny though, because though he beat me to it, I was going to write something around the very same Chuck Perkins piece...guess that's why we are married...

From Imperfectly Vertical, Billy Sothern

Family: Rose Mae Sothern

Last week, Nikki and I drove around New Orleans listening to Glen David Andrews' new album, Walking Through Heaven's Gate, trying to get Nikki some distraction from the discomfort of the ninth month of her pregnancy. The last track on the album, Family, struck both of us and gave us some sense of what was approaching for us. It's a spoken word piece with New Orleans poet, Chuck Perkins.

Perkins describes the birth of his child:

It was watching my wife
After eleven hours of labor,

Whose eyes and face

No longer possessed the words

To describe her pain,

So she pushed.

It was twenty years of anticipating

What my child would be

And who she would be

And when I saw the tip of her head,

Before the slap,

Before the cry,

Before I saw her eyes even,

It was like I was about to meet a long lost friend

Whom I had never met.


Early this morning, after an epic, unmedicated labor, Nikki gave birth to Rose Mae Sothern here in New Orleans. I am in awe of Nikki and the little baby girl that came into the world this morning. New Orleans artists have a gift for describing the indescribable, but as much as I like Perkins' description of child birth, he doesn't fully capture the feeling of seeing your wife give birth to your child. I am not sure anyone could.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Book One New Orleans Big Event!

Yet another event supporting a local author:

Sara Roahen's latest book, Gumbo Tales is this years One Book One New Orleans selection and she will be at the Milton H. Latter Library signing books tomorrow, August 26. In honor of the theme of the book, there will be GUMBO TASTINGS!

From the One Book One New Orleans website:

The event will feature a free gumbo tasting tour of these fabulous New Orleans restaurants: Dooky Chase, Mr. B’s, Redfish Grill, Bourbon House, Acme Oyster House , and Felix’s, with bread from Leidenheimer, wine from [yellowtail], beer from NOLA Brewery, and a one-of-a-kind cake from Sucre!

Octavia Books will be donating restaurant and chef cookbooks to be raffled off to attendees and will have our 2009 reading selection for sale, Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen.

Sara Roahen will be there to sign Gumbo Tales, and Octavia Books will donate 20% of all sales at the event to One Book One New Orleans, so pick up your signed copy at the event!

Event: Chapter 1: Gumbo Tasting Kickoff!
Date: Wednesday, August 26th
Time: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Place: Milton H. Latter Memorial Library,
5120 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans 70115

Reviews for Gumbo Tales

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ethan Brown's "Shake the Devil Off" to be released Sept 1, 2009; Author to be on Political Panel at Rising Tide Conference

In his latest work, Shake the Devil Off, local author Ethan Brown investigates the circumstances behind the post-Katrina murder that shocked New Orleans.

Ethan explains his book as follows:
Shake the Devil Off chronicles the life of Zackery Bowen, an Iraq war veteran who murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself in New Orleans in 2006. (The project is) an exploration into what led a soldier to commit a horrific crime. There's an epidemic of suicides--and even homicides--in the Army now and my book is an effort to try and figure out what's driving this mental health crisis, the worst in the Army's history.
Praise:

"Heartbreaking."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Drawing the parallel between Katrina's aftermath and Bowen's unraveling psyche, Brown creates a riveting portrait of a gruesome crime while detailing the heart of a city in distress. A grim murder-suicide story delivered with skill and verve."—Kirkus

"Ethan Brown examines a notorious murder case, rescues it from the talons of tabloid journalists, and comes up with something much more than a true crime book. Shake the Devil Off is a gripping suspense story, an indictment of the military’s treatment of our soldiers in and out of war, and a celebration of the resilience and worth of a great American city."—George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnaround and Hell to Pay

"Ethan Brown establishes himself as a prodigious reporter and masterful storyteller in Shake the Devil Off, a chilling portrait of a broken hero failed by the system."—Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill

"A ‘coming home’ story that rivals any written about veterans of the war in Iraq, and a true crime account that raises the bar for the genre. Measured, thoroughly reported, and written with true empathy."—Nate Blakeslee, author of Tulia

"Looking more deeply at that from which the rest of us turned in horror, Ethan Brown has transformed an ugly and disturbing shard of the post-Katrina anguish. In this book, that which was lurid and sensational becomes, chapter by chapter, something genuinely sad and reflective, something that now has true meaning for New Orleans and for all of us."—David Simon, author of Homicide and The Corner

Author Appearances and Book Signing Events

8/22/09
Ethan Brown to participate in Political Panel at Rising Tide Conference
1-1:50 pm
Zeitgeist Mutli-Disciplinary Arts Center
1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd

New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 525-2767
Author will sign a limited number of early release books available at The Octavia Books table after the panel.

9/2/09, 6pm
Octavia Books
513 Octavia St
New Orleans, LA 70115-2055
(504) 899-7323

9/12/09, 3:30pm
Maple Street Bookshop
7523 Maple St
New Orleans, LA 70118-5098
(504) 866-4916

10/17/09, 10 am
Louisiana Book Festival
Barnes & Noble Book Selling and Signing Tent
at Spanish Town Road and North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA

Read more about Ethan Brown






Thursday, August 13, 2009

Louisiana Artist Loren Schwerd Shows at AMMO

1317 Charbonnet St.
Human hair, mixed media
19" x 23" x 3.5"
2007

Loren Schwerd weaves mourning portraits out of hair. Her interpretation of the traditional craft serves well to illustrate the sense of loss left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A fitting tribute for the upcoming anniversary of the disaster, her work will be shown at AMMO beginning Saturday, August 15 and ending September 16.

"Mourning Portrait, is a series of memorials to the communities of New Orleans that were devastated by the flooding which followed Hurricane Katrina. These commemorative objects are made from human hair extensions of the type commonly used by African-American women that I found outside the St. Claude Beauty Supply. The portraits draw on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth. Working from my own photographs I weave the hair into portraits of the vacant houses of the Ninth Ward neighborhood. By documenting private homes, I venerate the city's losses, both individual and collective."
-Loren Schwerd


See more work from her Mourning Portrait series here.

Opening is from 6-9 pm, Saturday August 15, 2009
AMMO
938 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 301-2584

Ms. Schwerd was featured on the cover of the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of FiberARTS magazine




Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just When You Think It's Just You, the Husband and The Hot Dog

I was staring out of my husband's office window into our yard today and this little duo saunters across my yard from under our house...I was very surprised.



These pictures remind me that I really need to wash my windows (through one of which I took these photos), though the haze is kind of romantic.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Miranda Lake: Reclamation: 360˚


New Orleans artist Miranda Lake's latest work can be viewed at the Jonathan Ferrara gallery beginning on White Linen Night, August 1, 2009.


Preview of her work for the show

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Billy Sothern Has a Blog

My husband, a writer and lawyer, has taken the plunge into the blogoworld. His is called Imperfectly Verticle and you should give it a gander.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update: Dave Eggers Comes to Town

I previously posted that Dave Eggers will be at The Garden District Bookshop Thursday at 6p to talk about his new book, Zeitoun. Turns out he will also be at Octavia Books that day at 2pm.

Dave will also be at Octavia Books at 2pm Thursday to talk about his book, Zeitoun.

Octavia Books
513 Octavia St
New Orleans, LA 70115-2055
(504) 899-7323

For more info about the book and author, read on.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dave Eggers Comes to Nola to Talk About His Latest Book, Zeitoun

Dave Eggers is in town and he is speaking about his new book, Zeitoun, on Thursday. You should go.

The Book.

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. But, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Dave Eggers's riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun's roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy − an American who converted to Islam − and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible. Like What Is the What, Zeitoun was written in close collaboration with its subjects and involved vast research − in this case, in the U.S., Spain, and Syria.

- Description taken from McSweeney's


Where:
Garden District Bookshop
2727 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA 70130-5968
(504) 895-2266

When:
Thursday, July 16, 2009 6:00 PM

Check out the following description of, praise for and excerpt from the book below, taken from McSweeney's. Then check out this interview on The Rumpus.





The Author.

- - - -

Dave Eggers grew up near Chicago, attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and is the author of five books. His first, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a memoir, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It was followed by You Shall Know Our Velocity!, a novel, and by How We Are Hungry, a collection of short stories. His latest book, What Is the What, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1998, Eggers founded McSweeney's, an independent publishing house now located in San Francisco. It publishes books, a quarterly literary journal, The Believer (a monthly magazine of essays and interviews), Wholphin (a short-film DVD quarterly), and a daily humor website. In 2002, Eggers opened 826 Valencia, a writing and tutoring lab for young people in San Francisco's Mission District. There, he continues to teach writing to high-school students, and runs a summer publishing camp. 826 Valencia now has satellite chapters in Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, and Chicago. A staunch advocate of teachers, Eggers instituted a monthly grant for exceptional Bay Area teachers, and in 2005 he co-wrote Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers. His interest in oral history led to his 2004 co-founding of Voice of Witness, a nonprofit series of books that use oral history to illuminate human-rights crises around the world. He recently co-wrote, with Spike Jonze, the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, and with his wife, the novelist Vendela Vida, the screenplay for the film Away We Go, which was directed by Sam Mendes. With Valentino Deng, Eggers is the co-founder of the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which is improving educational opportunities for Sudanese children in Sudan and the United States.

- - - -

Praise.

- - - -

"This is a beautiful book. Zeitoun is a poignant, haunting, ethereal story about New Orleans in peril. Eggers has bottled up the feeling of post-Katrina despair better than anyone else. This is a simple story with a lingering radiance."
− Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

"Zeitoun is an American epic. The post-Katrina trials of Abdulrahman Zeitoun would have baffled even Kafka's Joseph K. Though Zeitoun's story could have been a source of cynicism or despair, Dave Eggers's clear and elegant prose manages to deftly capture many of the signature shortcomings of American life while holding onto the innate optimism and endless drive to more closely match our ideals that Zeitoun and his adopted land share. Juggling these contradictions, Eggers captures the puzzle of America."
− Billy Sothern, author of Down in New Orleans

"Zeitoun is a gripping and amazing story that highlights so much about the tragedy of Katrina, post-9/11 life for Arabs and Muslims, and the beautiful nature of American multi-cultural society."
− Yousef Munayyer, policy analyst, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

"Zeitoun is an instant American classic carved from fierce eloquence and a haunting moral sensibility. By wrestling with the demons of xenophobia and racial profiling that converged in the swirling vortex of Hurricane Katrina and post-9/11 America, Eggers lets loose the angels of wisdom and courage that hover over the lives of the beleaguered, but miraculously unbroken, Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun. This is a major work full of fire and wit by one of our most important writers."
− Michael Eric Dyson, author of Come Hell or High Water



AN EXCERPT
FROM ZEITOUN.

Zeitoun woke with the sun and crawled out of his tent. The day was bright, and as far as he could see in any direction the city was underwater. Though every resident of New Orleans imagines great floods, knows that such a thing is possible in a city surrounded by water and ill-conceived levees, the sight, in the light of day, was beyond anything he had imagined. He could only think of Judgment Day, of Noah and forty days of rain. And yet it was so quiet, so still. Nothing moved. He sat on the roof and scanned the horizon, looking for any person, any animal or machine moving. Nothing.

As he did his morning prayers, a helicopter broke the silence, shooting across the treetops and heading downtown.

Zeitoun looked down from the roof to find the water at the same level as the night before. He felt some relief in knowing that it would likely remain there, or even drop a foot once it reached an equilibrium with Lake Pontchartrain.

Zeitoun sat beside his tent, eating cereal he had salvaged from the kitchen. Even with the water no longer rising, he knew he could do nothing at home. He had saved what he could save, and there was nothing else to do here until the water receded.

When he had eaten, he felt restless, trapped. The water was too deep to wade into, its contents too suspect to swim through. But there was the canoe. He saw it, floating above the yard, tethered to the house. Amid the devastation of the city, standing on the roof of his drowned home, Zeitoun felt something like inspiration. He imagined floating, alone, through the streets of his city. In a way, this was a new world, uncharted. He could be an explorer. He could see things first.

He climbed down the side of the house and lowered himself into the canoe. He untied the rope and set out.

He paddled down Dart Street, the water flat and clear. And strangely, almost immediately, Zeitoun felt at peace. The damage to the neighborhood was extraordinary, but there was an odd calm in his heart. So much had been lost, but there was a stillness to the city that was almost hypnotic.

He coasted away from his home, passing over bicycles and cars, their antennae scraping the bottom of his canoe. Every vehicle, old and new, was gone, unsalvageable. The numbers filled his head: there were a hundred thousand cars lost in the flood. Maybe more. What would happen to them? Who would take them once the waters receded? In what hole could they all be buried?

Almost everyone he knew had left for a day or two, expecting little damage. He passed by their homes, so many of which he'd painted and even helped build, calculating how much was lost inside. It made him sick, the anguish this would cause. No one, he knew, had prepared for this, adequately or at all.

He thought of the animals. The squirrels, the mice, rats, frogs, possums, lizards. All gone. Millions of animals drowned. Only birds would survive this sort of apocalypse. Birds, some snakes, any beast that could find higher ground ahead of the rising tide. He looked for fish. If he was floating atop water shared with the lake, surely fish had been swept into the city. And, on cue, he saw a murky form darting between submerged tree branches.

He was conflicted about what he was seeing, a refracted version of his city, one where homes and trees were bisected and mirrored in this oddly calm body of water. The novelty of the new world brought forth the adventurer in him − he wanted to see it all, the whole city, what had become of it. But the builder in him thought of the damage, how long it would take to rebuild. Years, maybe a decade. He wondered if the world at large could already see what he was seeing, a disaster mythical in scale and severity.

In his neighborhood, miles from the closest levee, the water had risen slowly enough that he knew it was unlikely that anyone had died in the flood. But with a shudder he thought of those closer to the breaches. He didn't know where the levees had failed, but he knew anyone living nearby would have been quickly overwhelmed.

He turned on Vincennes Place and headed south. Someone called his name. He looked up to see a client of his, Frank Noland, a fit and robust man of about sixty, leaning out from a second-story window. Zeitoun had done work on his house a few years ago. The Zeitouns would see Frank and his wife occasionally in the neighborhood, and they always exchanged warm greetings.

Zeitoun waved and paddled over.

"You got a cigarette?" Frank asked, looking down.

Zeitoun shook his head no, and coasted closer to the window where Frank had appeared. It was a strange sensation, paddling over the man's yard; the usual barrier that would prevent one from guiding a vehicle up to the house was gone. He could glide directly from the street, diagonally across the lawn, and appear just a few feet below a second-story window. Zeitoun was just getting accustomed to the new physics of this world.

Frank was shirtless, wearing only a pair of tennis shorts. His wife was behind him, and they had a guest in the house, another woman of similar age. Both women were dressed in T-shirts and shorts, suffering in the heat. It was early in the day, but the humidity was already oppressive.

"You think you could take me to where I can buy some smokes?" Frank asked. Zeitoun told him that he didn't think any store would be open and selling cigarettes this day.

Frank sighed. "See what happened to my
motorcycle?" He pointed to the porch next door.

Zeitoun remembered Frank talking about this motorcycle − an antique bike that he had bought, restored, and lavished attention on. Now it was under six feet of water. As the water had risen the day before, Frank had moved it from the driveway up to the porch and then to his next-door neighbor's porch, which was higher. But now it was gone. They could still see the faint, blurred likeness of the machine, like a relic from a previous civilization.

He and Frank talked for a few minutes about the storm, the flood, how Frank had expected it but then hadn't expected it at all.

"Any chance you can take me to check on my truck?" Frank asked. Zeitoun agreed, but told Frank that he'd have to continue on a while longer. Zeitoun was planning to check on one of his rental properties, about two miles away.

Frank agreed to come along for the ride, and climbed down from the window and into the canoe. Zeitoun gave him the extra paddle and they were off.

"Brand new truck," Frank said. He had parked it on Fontainebleau, thinking that because the road was a foot or so higher than Vincennes, the truck would be spared. They made their way up six blocks to where Frank had parked the truck, and then Zeitoun heard Frank's quick intake of breath. The truck was under five feet of water and had migrated half a block. Like his motorcycle, it was gone, a thing of the past.

"You want to get anything out of it?" Zeitoun asked.

Frank shook his head. "I don't want to look at it. Let's go."

A few doors down, Zeitoun and Frank came upon a house with a large white cloth billowing from the second-floor window.

When they got closer, they saw a couple, a husband and wife in their seventies, leaning out of the window.

"You surrender?" Frank asked.

The man smiled.

"You want to get out?" Zeitoun asked.

"Yes, we do," the man said. They couldn't safely fit anyone else in the canoe, so Zeitoun and Frank promised to send someone back to the house as soon as they got to Claiborne. They assumed there would be activity there, that if anywhere would have a police or military presence, it would be Claiborne, the main thoroughfare nearby.

"We'll be right back," Zeitoun said.

As they were paddling away from the couple's house, they heard a faint female voice. It was a kind of moan, weak and tremulous.

"You hear that?" Zeitoun asked.

Frank nodded. "It's coming from that direction."

They paddled toward the sound and heard the voice again.

"Help."

It was coming from a one-story house on Nashville. They coasted toward the front door and heard the voice again: "Help me."

Zeitoun dropped his paddle and jumped into the water. He held his breath and swam to the porch. The steps came quicker than he thought. He jammed his knee against the masonry and let out a gasp. When he stood, the water was up to his neck.

"You okay?" Frank asked. Zeitoun nodded and made his way up the steps.

"Hello?" the voice said, now hopeful.

He tried the front door. It was stuck. Zeitoun kicked the door. It wouldn't move. He kicked again. No movement. With the water now to his chest, he ran his body against the door. He did it again. And again. Finally it gave.

Inside he found a woman hovering above him. She was in her seventies, a large woman, over two hundred pounds. Her patterned dress was spread out on the surface of the water like a great floating flower. Her legs dangled below. She was holding on to a bookshelf.

"Help me," she said.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Examples from the show

A few self portraits by my students.

one of the walls of work

3rd Grade

8th Grade

3rd grade

3rd grade

3rd grade

1rst grade

1rst grade

1rst grade

2nd grade

1rst grade

kindergarten

kindergarten

8th grade

8th grade

8th grade

5th grade

4th grade

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You're Invited

This is what I have been up to these last few months while teaching art at Esperanza:





Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bye, Mabel

From Billy:

Our sweet golden dog Mabel has passed on.

From the streets of the Irish Channel, she had a wild love of people, her old boyfriend Max, her sidekick Ruth-Anne, and, most of all, her savior Nikki who cajoled me into keeping her upon returning home with a tiny puppy following a argument in which I had been in the wrong. I didn’t put up much resistance.


The night Nikki found her, she had been walking the streets with a pack of feral dogs that roamed the Irish Channel terrorizing cats and children. Nikki thought she was a Chihuahua but she was just a baby street dog. We never could sort out her breed but her odd yodels suggested some sort of African bushdog and her staggering speed, a whippet.

Anyone who has ever come to our house has been jumped on and kissed by Mabel in her effort to show a little love, and get a little back in return.

Her health failed very suddenly and out of the blue last evening when she was walking with Nikki and Ruthie through the tony, live oak and mansion lined streets of the Garden District, a handful of blocks from where Nikki had found her.

A good run for a scrappy Irish Channel kid.

We were lucky to have found her. And vice versa.

Good girl, Mabel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where I Have Been

...Teaching at Esperanza Charter School, full time. I will be there until the end of June teaching K-8 as much art as possible until I leave. The picture above is one leftover from when the building housed Crossman Elementary, from the old Crossman website.

I eat, sleep, teach, eat, sleep, teach.

I'll be posting more regularly again when summer comes along....

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Random Parade on Jackson Avenue

Yay! Random Parade! We were replacing a window pane knocked out by Gustav (a little late in the game, I know) and look what passed on by! I guess it was a parade sponsored by a church down the way and was called a "March for Christ". Most of these were taken from the balcony so please excuse the wires.




And HELLO! The McDonough 35 Marching Band comes along! Note the wee child:

A wee marching child