Because I lived in New Orleans in the years before I became a Beverly Hill-ian (no one really says that), and we spend a great deal of time there during the summer and holidays, I definitely have some yeas and nays on things to do in the Crescent City. I originally published this list on BeverlyHillsMom, but felt it needed a little updating.  Not too much has changed, but now there are much better online resources for me to grab for the update.

Good Neighborhood over view Map you probably barely have time to explore the French Quarter (aka Vieux Carre’), The Central Business District (aka CBD or Warehouse District). the Garden District and Uptown. I have lists for other areas but no one ever has the time to do everything I want them to. You may find that you love one particular area and you can spend your whole vacation exploring it!

I always stay either at the Omni Royal Orleans or the Windsor Court. I always have, since I was five. Old school New Orleans service, fantastic dining, fun cocktailing, super secure and accessible. Always ask for a balcony room!

Great map of New Orleans restaurants ( see list of favorites below):

Map of what I think are the best points of interest in the French Quarter. There IS life beyond Bourbon Street.  

Great map for walking in Garden District – try Commander’s Palace for lunch or Casamento’s before or after your walk. Be sure to note Colonel Short’s Villa, an historic Irish Georgian antelbellum mansion located on the corner of Prytannia and Fourth Streets. It was beautifully restored by my dear friend, who lived there with his husband for over two decades. 

Good Listing and map for the Magazine Street galleries and shops, the most unique gifts, art and antiques will be here. A couple of my faves on the list are Cole Pratt Gallery  and Mignon Faget.

Good guide to walking tours of New Orleans cemeteries

Museums at Jackson Square with terrific exhibits including a costume collection of evening wear and Mardi Gras finery. Did you know that more evening wear is sold in New Orleans than anywhere in the world? Our men know what time to wear which tux, and ladies still wear opera gloves and evening gowns to the balls.

Museums and art galleries in New Orleans are fabulous and aplenty. I think I’ll have to make a an entire separate post about them. 

Listen to radio station 90.7 in your room and check listings for music around town. GO SEE LIVE MUSIC in the small venues! If WWOZ is telling you about it, it’s worth checking out. Support this amazing jazz and heritage organization by donating during their pledge drives. (Hint: you can get your VIP Jazz Fest tickets by donating – keep an eye on the website for their drive dates. 

Off the hook fabulous hats and perfumes way up at the end of the streetcar stop – the best milliner in the USA! Make an appointment and let Miss Yvonne et cie fix you up.

The Audubon Zoo and Park are wonderful too! I still marvel at the ancient oak trees with Spanish moss. Hint: the loop around Audubon Park is one mile. You can play golf there too! 

Best taxi – seriously, this matters I took a ride down the freeway one night with a drunk and blind idiot from the airport I should’ve taken a United Cab. I know, I know, we all use Uber a lot now, but those guys at United are old school locals who will get you the hell there and will know how to not get stuck in a parade.

Do indulge in your inner wierdo and get some costume stuff! 
Fifi Mahony my very favorite for real girls and wanna be girls! Tons of outrageous wigs, makeup, jewelry, and cool Quarter cats to help you find the fierce inner you

The most counterculture clothing and shoes will be found at the end of Decatur Street near Esplanade. I usually buy at least one thing around there each trip to treat my inner Goth.

French Quarter Food:

Note: I am sort of old school here. I only have so many hours to put all that food in me, and these are my ultimate don’t miss

Acme Oyster Bar great po boys, seafood baskets and shucked oysters

Bayona best gourmet cuisine -tell Regina and Susan I sent you. I booked reservations there in their fifth year. I might actually ask for my old job back, I loved it there so much.

Brennans, Mr B’s Bistro, and Palace Cafe’. Seriously, all the Brennans’s places are our faves to drop in for lunch and some real proper New Orleans service. 

Galatoires – Best creole seafood – go for Friday lunch – they don’t take reservations; just get there as early as you can and wait for a table – try to get table downstairs

Cafe du Monde is the ONLY place to get a beignet, the creole donut, with cafe’ au lait and great site for people watching too.

Southern Candymaker Best pralines in town!

French Quarter Cocktails ( keep in mind you can get them in a go cup and walk around, or stay and soak up some atmosphere):

The Carousel Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone fun to sit and spin at the bar, or people watch from the windows

I always stop by Napoleon House for a Pimm’s cup cocktail which is very refreshing on a hot summer day

Pat O’ Brien’s Don’t have the hurricane you might throw up, but it’s fun to sit in the courtyard by the flaming fountain and have a party pic made. There’s also have a great piano bar

Stop at any daiquiri joint you might pass, they help beat the heat, just keep in mind they are much more powerful than you think – it’s like Jamba Juice with 151 proof! best to have these while moving around.

Central Business District Food:

Emeril’s Great restaurant from Emeril LaGasse eclectic –

Mother’s Killer po boys and best gumbo in town (the ONLY gumbo in town, really)

Willa Jean – I discovered this industrial design cafe during the pandemic and I now have cravings for their entire menu, especially the pimento cheese with fried saltines and the black & white cookies

Uptown / Garden District Food:

Casamento’s best po boys, fried crab claws and shucked oysters uptown

Commander’s Palace – another Brennan family Nola institution – great brunch; try the turtle soup – great cemetery across the street

Franky and Johnny’s great juke joint WAY uptown awesome poboys, onion rings, daily specials and alligator pie!

Brigtsen’s – Frank Brigtsen still cooking up serious creole recipes – I took a delicious cooking class from him a couple of summers ago – make that appointment at Yvonne LaFleur, then go manger at Frank’s

Camellia Grill – old school short order counter service with amazing waffles and burgers. 

I actually LOVE to talk about New Orleans, so if you have a question for me, just send me a note, and until then –  Laissez les Bontemps Rouler!

 

Now that I devote all my professional time to art, part of that is submitting my work to juried exhibitions. Typically this means applying to exhibit, then taking actual paintings on the road, but Covid made things very different last year. I must admit that I’ve been so ensconced in working on new pieces that it actually slipped my mind that I had applied to the Fusion Art 7th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Exhibition last year. I’ve just discovered that I was a finalist! I’m really pleased to have been included in the group, as I feared not being able to show in person would be catastrophic to my new endeavor. This small victory is a great start! Thank you to the jurors for this milestone by your recognition of Orange Citrus with Pink! Click here to inquire about the piece.

 

 

You may have read the story about our unintended but blessed quarantine in Mississippi on the last post at BeverlyHillsMom. True to form, I am carrying on BHM’s tradition of taking forever to write about my projects!

Once I got over the shock that we’d be able to stay put for a while, I got our respective workspaces together, mine being the garage that has now evolved into my own little art Shangri-la with unfinished pine walls. After condo living for years, it was so amazing to open the door and be able to smell the fresh cut grass or watch the rain, pet the neighbor dogs who drop by and now know I have treats. At some point along the way, my former roommate from college came to me and brought the William Butler Yeats poem you see in the *slide show* above. He said that he really liked what I’ve been doing with my work, and he’d like to see what I’d do with that poem and a couple of myths and motifs, including the Tree of Life, a snake, and would I please use my style with local flora and fauna? I was thrilled to say the least and got busy creating what will now and forever be known as Asp Yggrasil.

I researched the tree of life. I researched trees and wisteria, the caducei, resurrection ferns, and took a turn down Norse mythology to find that there’s a very beautiful symbol for the tree of life, which immediately took its place on the background as a stencilled motif, and as the layers of the canvas dried, I drew and cut resurrection fern, wisteria blossoms and leaves, the golden asp (which, as it turns out, is quite Greco-Roman, not Norse, but aesthetics rule), a thick-as-a-tree-trunk wisteria vine, and some pretty golden butterflies. Next  comes the decoupage, then the painting of the ephemera. This process of painting layer by layer goes on until it’s finished. When that is varies – it just happens. 

We had a little toast to our past, present and future at the unveiling of the piece at my collector’s fabulous historic cottage. I gifted him a small print of his piece which also serves as his signed certificate of authenticity, and his piece is registered in my official body of work. We further documented the blessed event when acclaimed photographer Ann Madden dropped by to take the photos of us in front of the mantle for which Asp Yggrasil was conceived. I have to say that this was a JOY to do. I found I really enjoyed taking the collector’s choice of themes and finding the story in shape and color. A huge thanks to collector Estus Kea for taking this maiden voyage with me – may this be the first of many collector collaborations for Alexandra90210!  Send me a note if you’d like to know more about how you can commission your own work of art.

*You can see most of the process documented in the slide show above – click the small arrow on the right. Hover your cursor over the the bottom of each photo to see a description of how Asp Yggdrasil evolved.

 

 

I don’t know if everyone is like this, but lately I am heavily reflecting upon how I spent the pandemic.

Making Art.

In between washing my groceries and looking for paper towels, then running down roof repair contractors.

 

With all that reflection, today I give you ART ALL YEAR

From March 2020 to June 2021, in my Bay Saint Louis garage (now fully equipped artist’s studio), I created two dozen or so original pieces of art on canvas titled Indigenous Ephemera . My best coping mechanism has always to use my creativity, so I was humbled and encouraged by the response to the work during this fearful and uncertain time. I went through the pandemic and two hurricanes communicating online with fellow creatives, art enthusiasts, artists, designers, and gallerists, and the community vibe was always “stay positive”. For that I am so grateful.

 

From my desk in Beverly Hills, I have been thinking of how I might commemorate that time, and ultimately I want the the art to be the memory. For this, I humbly offer the FIRST limited edition art print subscription, available NOW until March 1st, 2022 or until all fifty of the edition are sold, whichever comes first. The favorites were evident to me by collectors, comments and kind words sent in private messages. Taking my four most popular works, I have selected a “moment” from each one and worked with my fine art printer to deliver luxe 8″ x 10″ prints on very fine 11″ x 14″ art paper. The first of the four art unboxing experiences will be sent to your be-gifted the first week of December (it’s okay if your be-gifted is YOU), and three more will be delivered as the seasons change. Every element of this offering has been designed with heart, hand, and the love of art and luxe.

The first delivery is a moment from Dragonflies on Banana Leaf I. In March, July, and October of 2022, the print selection will be a surprise! Shop before December 6th to save $50 and get free shipping!