Beyond Bourbon Street
We take the road less traveled and explore a city with a reputation for more than all that jazz.
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By now you’ve probably done some of the typical tourist things in New Orleans: ridden the French Quarter in a carriage, been beaded at Mardi Gras, walked through the glass corridor at the Audubon Aquarium, got dizzy on a Bourbon Street hand grenade and seen the live leeches at the Pharmacy Museum. Now it is time to dig a little deeper, and venture out of the Quarter to see some of the town’s other delights.
The Art of Dixie
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp Street, ogdenmuseum.org) is a great showplace for regional artists who may be outside the fine art mainstream but are always worthy of a view. Eccentric visions abound, like the dreamlike photographs of Josephine Sacabo, Ersy’s Lilliputian wood and brass fantasy constructions and the mythical paintings of George Valentine Dureau. A recent show brilliantly combined the swamp depictions of rhapsodic watercolorist John Alexander and expressionist painter-printer Walter Anderson. The complementary yet distinct visions set each aesthetic off in relief yet provide a context for each. Each show at this place is something of a revelation. Glass artist Andrew Brott and his wife, Kellie Grengs, operate BrottWorks out of their home studio on Freret Street (brottworks.com).
He creates one-of-a-kind glass sculptures, hangings and functional light fixtures for high-end buildings. Brott’s commissions have placed his work as far away as the Dominican Republic, Solana Beach and New Jersey. He also leads visitors in glass workshops; a visit comes with a PowerPoint presentation on how BrottWorks is helping to bring the formerly crime-ridden Freret corridor into commercial viability. Think you know the work of French Impressionist Edgar Degas? Not until you visit the Degas House (2306 Esplanade Avenue, degashouse.com). The four months he spent at his brother’s home in the Esplanade Ridge neighborhood produced “The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans” (1873), perhaps Degas’ earliest great painting. Plus it’s also a bed and breakfast and great place to hang your hat and absorb local culture.