Freretstivus & Kitchen Witch Cookbooks!

Freretstivus for the rest of us! I will be at the Freretstivus Celebration (also known as the Freret Market Holiday Edition) this Saturday from 12pm to 4pm. There will be music, food, art, pet adoptions, and an airing of grievances!

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I will be in booth 80 selling photographs, books, greeting cards and ornaments. Since I shot so many new photographs this year, I need to get rid of some of my stock. Many of my photographs are being discontinued and will be on sale – when they are gone, they are gone!

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Thanks to my lovely assistant and good friend Glenn, I will sneak away from my booth (although it will remain open) to go to Kitchen Witch Cookbooks (1452 N. Broad St) from 3pm to 5pm for a book signing of “Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans.”

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KWC is a lovely bookstore that specializes in rare, hard to find, out-of-print, and pre-owned books on food and cooking. They also carry other local books, records, knick knacks, art, and … as a bonus they even sell their own spices (I am picking some up for holiday gifts). It’s a wonderful way to shop local!

Hope to see some of y’all out!

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For the week of November 30th to December 5th

Busy Week!

On Wednesday, December 2nd from 7pm to 8pm I will be returning to Reading Between the Wines! It’s a laid-back, salon-type event moderated by Candice Huber, the owner of Tubby & Coo’s. It takes place at Pearl Wine Company (3700 Orleans) inside the American Can Company. They offer $5 wines by the glass! My dear friend and lovely individual Maggy Baccinelli, author of “New Orleans Neighborhoods,” will be there as well as Brandon Black, editor of “Cairo by Gaslight.”

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Friday, December 4th from 5pm to 7pm I will be returning to the Roosevelt Hotel (130 Roosevelt Way). Woo-Hoo! One of my favorite places – and this time during Christmas so I can sit amongst all the gorgeous decorations. I will be signing books in the lobby (and possibly sneaking some sazeracs)!

Saturday, December 5th from 11am to 4pm I will be at the Freret Market (corner of Freret and Napoleon). I will be selling copies of my new book “Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans” and my old book (2014) “Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names.” Amazon is sold out and I only have a few first-edition copies left. I will also be selling some of my photographs, Christmas ornaments, greeting cards, and hand-framed photographs. Also – SALE! I shot so many photographs this year that I have to clear out some of my stock. I have a sale bin and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Hope to see some of y’all out! Happy Holidays!

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111 Places in New Orleans That You Must Not Miss

My latest book, “111 Places in New Orleans That You Must Not Miss,” came out a couple of weeks after my recent one, “Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans.” It’s a guidebook for New Orleans – a series done by Emons Publishing of Germany. I did all the photographs (minus one) and wrote some of the entries: Aidan Gill for Men, Chainsaw Tree, Fifi Mahony’s, Gator Run, Greg’s Antiques, Miss Claudia’s, NOLA Brewery, Sacred Grinds, Street Tiles, Studio Inferno, The Umbrella Girl, Yvonne LaFleur; and contributed to others. Michael Murphy wrote the rest of the book.

Front and back.

Front and back.

 

If I ever decide to write (and photograph) two books at the same while going full-time to graduate school – please schedule a CT scan. It almost did me in – every time I think I can’t be more busy….

For months and months, every minute of every day was accounted for and I became somewhat of a babbling idiot. Sadly, it was also the first time in 20 years that I did not go home to Washington State for a summer visit. I could not spare the time. When I did get some breathing room, I lost two people I cared about in a span of a few weeks. One I had a chance to say goodbye, the other I did not. I had booked my interview with Poppy Tooker a few weeks in advance to meet her at St. Louis No. 3 Cemetery. Little did I know I would be coming directly from a funeral at St. Louis No. 1. It was a bit surreal and I was a little bit shaky but Poppy is so lovely and gracious she let me catch my breath and pause whenever I needed to. The second person I lost, I did have an opportunity to say goodbye to less than a week before, but it was still a shock. She passed a few hours after my cemetery book was officially released. You always think you have more time. Spending time in cemeteries and hours upon hours reading countless obituaries still doesn’t better prepare me for death. It gives me an even greater appreciation and respect for life but – having someone’s story “end” still shatters me to the bone. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal… From an Irish headstone.

On a brighter note… The nice part of this book was being able to promote some of my friends’ businesses as well as meet new people – Aidan Gill, the Countess Broel, Yvonne LaFleur, Mike Tata, and Marcy Hesseling were some of my favorites. On another personal note – I inserted myself and a couple of friends in the book. In the “Crescent Park” entry those bikes are mine and John’s. The bike rack is on the side but I positioned them there – the yellow is John’s (named Fella) and the red one is mine (named The Love Machine). This was actually a fun day. It was during Jazzfest and John rode with me to get some photographs in the Bywater. My neighbor always throws this mimosa-merkin party every Jazzfest and I almost always miss it or can only attend for a short while. This year, I promised to go. While we were in the Bywater I get a text from Trixie Minx introducing me to a burlesque performer she thought I would hit it off with – Jo Boobs. I mention this to John and he gets all excited saying he just saw on instagram that Trixie was at a party and about to get into a wading pool of Jell-O. He said that she was probably in the Bywater and I should text asking where she was and we could ride by. Determined to remain professional and stay on target I declined. John asked a few more times but I kept saying I did not have time – and if I did, I needed to go to my neighbor’s party. Shooting took longer than expected and by the time I rode home it was too late and I was exhausted. Later that night, when I looked at instagram I realized that Trixie (and the wading pool of Jell-O) was, in fact, at my neighbor’s house! Ahhh a small world that sometimes is separated only by pools of Jell-O.

John and I rode by this random dance party on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur.

On that day, John and I rode by this random dance party on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur.

The other secret insertion also dealt with a Trixie – my other Trixie – Trixe la Femme (aka Katy Ray). The Gator Run was one of the last things I shot. I asked Trixie if she and her son Louis would be in it for me – it would be good to catch a kid’s face (and Louis is a looker) and that way I would not have to worry about photo releases from strangers. She was game. Unfortunately, time and time again something came up – mostly weather. Finally, we were down to the wire…. Let me say this – it is a very, very good friend who will put on a bathing suit during her lunch hour, pull her kid from school, and float around a lazy river in an inner-tube while you yell directions at her. Trixie is that kind of friend. We got there right after the rain and they have a policy that no one can go in the water for at least 45 minutes after thunder. The staff was very gracious and accommodating and we had a bit of a wait left. Once we were allowed in the water, BAM – everyone piled in. Instant chaos as I stood on the bridge shooting. Trixie would circle around, grab Louis, try to put him into an inner-tube (the boy just wanted to float), telling him “look up, look up at Sally, smile, smile.” And then often grab him, walk against the current/flow (dodging and weaving other tubes) and do it all over again. It was next to impossible to try and capture pictures of Louis without getting others in the shot and to be able to show the scale of the lazy river (all of the photographs for the book had to be vertical).

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What good sports! The BEST!!

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Fixing the model’s hair.

I did manage to get some shots after numerous attempts – and then went and shot some inner-tubes stacked up on the side with people floating in the background. On a whim, I took a photograph of them from behind. That is the one the editors chose. You can see Trixie standing in her blue bathing suit by an empty inner-tube and Louis floating off. I am used to selecting my own photographs, but for this project I was to submit 3-7 photographs of each entry and they would chose. Sometimes my editor (who was wonderful) would narrow it down to two photographs and she would ask my opinion, but more often than not the publishing company made the decision.

So I am thrilled that John, Trixe, Louis and I are represented (in a small way) in this book. It makes it memorable.

So there it is – no new books for 2016, but look for two in 2017!

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“Taken to the Grave: Lesser Known Tombs in the St. Louis Cemeteries”

Very excited for my upcoming lecture for Save Our Cemeteries on Tuesday, November 10th at Lake Lawn Cemetery, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd, 6:30pm.

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I will be discussing nine relatively unknown (but fascinating) graves from St. Louis 1 -3. Pirates, piano players, and painters!

I will also be showing dozens of photographs that do not appear in my book “Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans” and reading from various primary sources.

I will be signing copies of my book afterward!

Event Details are HERE!

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All Saints’ Day in New Orleans

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of walking around St. Louis No. 3 with the lovely Poppy Tooker to talk about the cemetery for her fabulous radio show Louisiana Eats. Poppy’s love of New Orleans extends outside of the kitchen and her passionate and vibrant personality is apparent in everything she does.

On our stroll, we talked about a variety of subjects, but one of the main topics we discussed was All Saints’ Day.

I discuss All Saints’ Day in my new book Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans, but of course I never really have enough room to write about EVERYTHING (word count is always an issue for me). So in honor of All Saints’ Day, here are a few extra things about the holiday.

Headline from 1894.

Headline from 1894.

It was also known as La Toussaint. French Creoles called it that, a term that was common until almost the middle of the twentieth century.

An ad in French and English from 1866.

An ad in French and English from 1866. 

It was a fashion show. It was the first day when “La robe de la Toussaint” was worn by women and children. They wore dark clothes made in the finest materials they could afford. The Times-Picayune wrote about in 1951. “With the cemeteries serving as open-air style shows, the same festive air prevailed which nowadays is reserved for Easter Sunday.”

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A photograph from 1951.

A photograph from 1951.

 New Orleans encouraged visitors and non-Catholics to take part.

 We reiterate the invitation we yesterday gave to strangers to visit the Catholic Cemetery to-day [St. Louis No. 1]; and as it may be interesting to some of our readers, we shall here publish some observations that we inserted in our private scrap book a year or two since.

To a stranger, there are few objects more striking than the mode of interment practiced in this city. Actual inhumation is rarely seen. When it is attempted, the ground is sometimes so saturated with water, that the most revolting scenes are connected with the last sad duties which the living performs for his departed comrade. Hence the customary manner of burial is to deposit the corpse in a tomb raised above the surface of the ground.

The Catholic Cemetery is a fine illustration. At the same time, it constitutes a diversified monument, not only of the virtues of the dead, but the classic taste of the living. In its very appearance, it is a “City of the Dead.” Its streets, intersecting each other at right angles; the neat little edifices constructed for the last home of humanity; here and there overtopping its neighbors, and glittering with the rich gildings of the crucifix or with some magnificent escutcheon; the splendid railing which encloses some of these mansions, and the willow trees, scattered over the ground; all these together with the surrounding wall, unite in impressing one with the idea of a miniature city.

The handsome shelled pavements, the neatness even of the most humble tombs, and the great variety of pursuit and of nativity, as indicated by the epitaphs, renders this cemetery an attractive resort at any time. Here you may walk for hours, sympathizing with Hervey [James Hervey] in all the florid beauty of his “Meditations” [“Meditations Among the Tombs”]; and in a thousand circumstances, you can find even richer themes for reflection than those suggested to his mind.

All Saints Day (Nov. 1), is observed at this place with great éclat. It is several years since we first beheld the scenes usual on this festival. Never shall we forget them. The thought that then, fifteen, or twenty thousand people, leaving their occupations to spend a day in company with the remains of beloved associates or relatives – to cherish the remembrance of their virtues, and to decorate their tombs with garlands and evergreens – presented before us the affections of the human heart in an aspect they had never assumed before. It was a species of beauty of which we had indeed heard – we had read of it in the pages of inspiration, and in the philosophy of heathen sages; but never had out perceptions grasped even the outline. It was reserved for the simple, the unostentatious, the affecting incidents of All Saints Day, to delineate, in brilliant colors, the features of a great truth as eminent for its beauty as it is important in its relations. – The Daily Picayune. November 1, 1838.

An article from 1842.

An article from 1842.

 It was a time to take collections up for orphanages. Typically, orphans were dressed up and trotted out to stand in front of the gates. Nuns and orphans were positioned at almost every gate holding wooden plates for visitors to drop money into. Sometimes the children rang a bell or beat the plate with a stick to attract attention. Benevolent Society Tombs also took offerings usually for specific orphanages. They would borrow an orphan or two to stand by their tombs for greater effect.

Letter to the editor from 1872.

Letter to the editor from 1872.

 It was a popular time for peddlers and vendors who set up outside of the cemetery gates. “L’estomac mulatte,” a flat ginger cake dented on the sides and sometimes covered with white or pink icing was a popular treat – so were pecan pralines, “calas,” a rice cake, apples, popcorn, and candy. Balloons and toy skeletons on strings were sold. Florists were booming as were saloons where men usually retreated to enjoy “La Biere Creole,” a Creole beer made from the juice and pulp of pineapple.

peddlers Killing a lizard was hazardous. Children were warned not to kill lizards in a cemetery or they would be dead in a year. According to the superstition if they did it on All Saints’ Day it would bring their end much quicker.

An illustration from 1894.

An illustration from 1894.

You can hear my interview with Poppy Tooker HERE.

Poppy and I standing in front of Jean Galatoire's grave.

Poppy and I standing in front of Jean Galatoire’s grave.

Enjoy and Happy All Saints’ Day!

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Tales from the Crypt & Deep Sea: Marie Laveau’s Tomb and the Evening Star

I am VERY excited about my lecture “Tales from the Crypt & Deep Sea: Marie Laveau’s Tomb and the Evening Star” at the Louisiana Humanities Center (938 Lafayette St) this Thursday, October 29, 2015 from 6pm to 8pm.

Here are 10 reasons why you need to go to this amazing lecture.

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1. Because it coincides with the release of my article on the sinking of the Evening Star for Louisiana Cultural Vistas. I  discovered the Evening Star when I was researching James Gallier for my first book Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names. Numerous accounts mentioned that he died in the 1866 shipwreck but there was no other explanation. After doing some digging and realizing that nothing was written about it – I hit the archives. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the ship contained the notable and the notorious. When the ship left New York harbor on September 29, 1886 it contained dozens of prostitutes handpicked by some of the New Orleans’ most powerful madams, a French Opera Troupe, and a Circus Company. The ship sank in a hurricane with only a few dozen surviving. Some of those survivors drifted in the open sea for five days, many who died and were tossed to the sharks. It was later revealed that the Evening Star employed “scab labor,” many with no experience who worked just for their ticket. But others claim that the ship sank not because of the hurricane or inexperienced crew but that God sank it because it was “loaded down with iniquity.” 99% of this article comes from primary sources. I submitted it to Louisiana Cultural Vistas last July but because it was WAY over its word count, they held on to it until they had room. I elected to wait instead of making major cuts. I am extremely proud of this article and thrilled it is now available.

Long  has a degree in studio art and did the cover for her books on Laveau and Lalaurie.

Long has a degree in studio art and did the cover for her books on Laveau and Lalaurie.

2. I will be doing this lecture with Carolyn Morrow Long! She is the author of Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce (2001), A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau (2006), and Madame Lalaurie, Mistress of the Haunted House (2012). This year she won first place in the Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism for her article about the Cracker Jack Hoodoo Store that was published in the Spring 2014 edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas. She has a degree in studio art and did the cover for her books on Laveau and Lalaurie. Her work is reproduced as cards and prints, which are for sale at several venues in town. Her research on Delphine LaLaurie (LCV article) and Marie Laveau (LCV article) is invaluable. I was very fortunate to have her check my work on Marie Laveau for my new book Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans. Although we have become email friends I am excited to meet her for the first time and beyond excited to be sharing a billing with her.

Marie Laveau's grave 2013.

Marie Laveau’s grave 2013.

3. You can catch us on TV! Carolyn and I will be on WWL TV tomorrow morning (October 29th) at 8am talking about the lecture.

4. There will be FREE pineapple-cilantro margaritas at the lecture from El Gato Negro!

5. There will be FREE chips and salsa at the lecture from Hola Nola Foods!

6. There will be door prizes including door  a complimentary walking tour for two from Haunted History Tours and a mousepad and drink covers decorated in skulls from Martin Welch Art, LLC — fitting mementos of an evening that promises to be both mind-expanding and spine-tingling.

7. A spooky centerpiece from Southern Costume Company will adorn the table.

8. You can also win a signed copy of A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau and  Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans.

9. Carolyn Morrow Long will be signing copies of her book.

10. I will be signing copies of my books!

The cover of my new book!

The cover of my new book!

WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR? Hope you can make it out! It’s going to be a fantastic time!!

P.S. AND IT IS FREE!

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Book Signing at 1850 House

In case you can’t make my Book Release Party, Saturday, October 21, at Treo from 6pm to 9pm, I will be signing copies of my book at the 1850 House that day from 1pm to 3pm.

1850 House in beautiful Jackson Square!

1850 House in beautiful Jackson Square!

 

 

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Dual Book Release Party!

My new book Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans is almost here! It will officially be available October 19th. WOO-HOO!

The Book Release Party is Saturday, October 24th from 6pm to 9pm at Treo located at 3835 Tulane Ave.

Treo is an art gallery and tapas bar and restaurant owned by my friends Pauline and Stephen Patterson who also own one of the best neighborhood bars in the city – Finn McCool’s Irish Pub. Pauline and Stephen contribute so much to this city and I am thrilled to have my book release party at their fabulous business.

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This book focuses on the biographies of people buried in St. Louis No. 1, St. Louis No. 2, and St. Louis No. 3. I feel like sometimes that people get lost in the grandeur of the cemeteries and forget to remember that real people are buried inside their walls. People who left a footprint on New Orleans – big or small. I hope it brings a greater appreciation for our city’s cemeteries. I will post more photos and bio on individuals I had to trim or cut from the book.

Outtakes are always fun!

An added bonus of this event is it will be a dual book release party! My dear friend Maggy Baccinelli’s book comes out the same day!

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Her book New Orleans Neighborhoods focuses on history, culture, and residents’ stories in an exploration of neighborhood identities from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. It was exciting learning about all of the research that went into her book – she could write a book about some of her adventures! My favorite was when she mopped floors just to get an interview! 

I am so happy that after months and months of walks around Audubon Park together, phone calls, text messages, impromptu meetings to talk/vent/complain about our books that we will finally be able to hold them in our hands. Together!

Event Invitation.

Come one, come all! We will have the courtyard for our festivities. Some music, some drink specials, and, of course, BOOKS!

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Yes, these two people actually wrote books.

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September Art Market

Art Market Season!

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I have been so busy finishing up my two books that I have not had time to do any art markets this year. I am excited to get back in the swing of things! Plus, I will be debuting new work from my book “Stories from the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans” that is due out October 19th.

I am very proud of this book – contains approximately 75 photographs – narrowed down from about 12,000.

Anyway, Saturday, September 26th. 10AM  to 4PM in Palmer Park, at the corner of S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne. I will be in the yellow section – No. 13.Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.04.39 PMHope to see some of y’all out!

 

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Gardening for the Homebrewer!

My very talented, very beautiful, and very fabulous sister, Wendy Tweten, just published a book! Gardening for the Homebrewer: Grow and Process Plants for Making Beer, Wine, Gruit, Cider, Perry, and More.

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This book would have been wonderful during Prohibition!!

Pick it up. It’s a great book, with beautiful photographs and loads of good information!

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