“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.”
― Sylvia Plath
Found by a photobooth, Molly’s At the Market, French Quarter, New Orleans
After they had communicated with each other, after having found each other, only over the waves of the internet – the two of them finally flew from each coast, West and East, to meet in New Orleans. It was like finding a long-lost sister… or an unimagined lover, or both. They spent the evening in a French Quarter bar drinking frozen Irish Coffees and gushing at each other. After texting and Skyping so much, years worth – they worried that there wouldn’t be anything left to say to each other… but the opposite was true. So many truths, so many secrets… even a few sweet, sweet, lies.
When they finally kissed in the photo booth behind the bar it was like a jolt of static electricity.
But what did they really know about each other? What do any of us.
“Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
“Yes, every once in a while.”
“Do you know that in about thirty- five more years we’ll be dead?”
“What the hell, Robert,” I said. “What the hell.”
“It’s one thing I don’t worry about,” I said.
“You ought to.”
“I’ve had plenty to worry about one time or other. I’m through worrying.”
“Well, I want to go to South America.”
“Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”
“But you’ve never been to South America.”
“South America hell! If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same. This is a good town. Why don’t you start living your life in Paris?”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
“My sculpture is kinetic, meaning that it moves. The elements are derived from nature, and I borrow natural elements — wind, water, magnets — to set them in motion. The rhythms are influenced by infinite variables: the points of balance, the normal frequency of each form, the interruption of the counterpoise. I juggle, juxtapose, and adjust to achieve the dance or pantomime that I want. Then the sculpture takes over and invents a fillip of its own.”
“Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
The Guardian Horton Humble 2017 Louisiana, Welded Steel Poydras Street
The Guardian is a giant figure, a hybrid of a man and a bird, standing for the inhabitants of a great city. It represents a creature activated by fear capable to rise up each time humanity doubts its own powers to overcome injustice and inhumanity.
Across Poydras and down a few doors from my son’s apartment is the Le Pavillon Hotel – originally named the Denechaud, then for generations was the De Soto Hotel. – which boasts an ornate entrance with huge classical statues flanked by massive Corinthian columns. I loved the contrast with the modern sculptures scattered along the median of Poydras.
From my son’s apartment pool, look up, I could see the bleached white back of a statue on a wall against the sheer drop down to the street. I found out this was a sculpture at the Le Pavillon’s pool. I was oddly fascinated by this – and one day want to visit.
The pool at Le Pavillon, from TripAdvisor. You can see the sculptures against the wall. The blue-gray building with vertical windows behind and to the left is my son’s apartment building.
“Black Butterfly” is an abstract aluminum sculpture completed four years after John T. Scott was awarded the MacArthur Genius Award. Scott’s work frequently displayed themes related to African-American life, particularly the rich Afro-Caribbean culture and musical heritage of New Orleans. See this sculpture on Poydras Street at O’Keefe.
“Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”
― George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
Opening & Closing Fritz Bultman Bronze, 1975 Poydras Street, New Orleans
Looking at the photo I took, I had a hard time making sure I had the title and sculptor right. Photos online looked so different. I realized that the sculpture looks completely different from various angles.
Now I need to go back. I need to go back, walk around the sculpture, and look at it from all sides. Shame it’s in the middle of a street – I’ll have to risk it.