Nude Woman Playing A Slide Trombone

“The statue was of a nude woman playing a slide trombone. It was entitled, enigmatically, Evelyn and Her Magic Violin.”
― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., The Sirens of Titan

Sculptures, Poydras Street, New Orleans

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What the Hell, Robert

“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.”
“I’m serious.”
“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

Running of the Bulls, New Orleans

Change Is Only Possible Through Movement

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Art of Seeing

Octet
Lin Emery, Louisiana, 2014, Polished Aluminum
Poydras Street, New Orleans

In the City of New Orleans there is a fantastic arrangement of sculpture along Poydras Street. Walking down and back from my son’s apartment to the Running of the Bulls I took photos of a few of them that I’ll share with you.

“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.”
—-Lin Emery

The Key and Guardian of the Gate

“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

In the City of New Orleans there is a fantastic arrangement of sculpture along Poydras Street. Walking down and back from my son’s apartment to the Running of the Bulls I took photos of a few of them that I’ll share with you.

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.
—Horton Humble

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.

The Guardian
Poydras Street
New Orleans

Black Butterfly

“Hundreds of butterflies flitted in and out of sight like short-lived punctuation marks in a stream of consciousness without beginning or end.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Black Butterfly
John T. Scott, Aluminum, 1996
Poydras Street, New Orleans

In the City of New Orleans there is a fantastic arrangement of sculpture along Poydras Street. Walking down and back from my son’s apartment to the Running of the Bulls I took photos of a few of them that I’ll share with you.

“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.

Stay Open, Forever

“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.

Cycling Through a Blast Furnace

“Just as the Mediterranean separated France from the country Algiers, so did the Mississippi separate New Orleans proper from Algiers Point. The neighborhood had a strange mix. It looked seedier and more laid-back all at the same time. Many artists lived on the peninsula, with greenery everywhere and the most beautiful and exotic plants. The French influence was heavy in Algiers, as if the air above the water had carried as much ambience as it could across to the little neighborhood. There were more dilapidated buildings in the community, but Jackson and Buddy passed homes with completely manicured properties, too, and wild ferns growing out of baskets on the porches, as if they were a part of the architecture. Many of the buildings had rich, ornamental detail, wood trim hand-carved by craftsmen and artisans years ago. The community almost had the look of an ailing beach town on some forgotten coast.”
― Hunter Murphy, Imogene in New Orleans

Every year during the New Orleans Writing Marathon I make a point of crossing the Mississippi River on the Algiers Ferry. This year a group of poets decided to walk through the French Quarter and make the crossing. I’m no poet, but the rules aren’t too strict, so I tagged along.

I love riding the Ferry, though I have done it more than a few times. The Algiers Ferry moves cars, pedestrians, and cyclists from the dock at the foot of Canal Street across to the town of Algiers on the West Bank. Even though you are going from the Eastern half United States to the West, due to the twisting river the boat actually goes sort of in another direction. There is something about crossing the Mississippi, though I always think of the ferry as the spot where John Goodman’s character committed suicide in the series Treme. If you’ve ever seen the film Déjà Vu this is the ferry the terrorists attack.

The day was incredibly hot and humid and we maneuvered our route to the ferry to use as much shade as possible. The trip across is two dollars, cash only, no change – I always take a stack of ones and quarters with me when I go to New Orleans for the ferry and the streetcar.

Saint Louis Cathedral from across the Mississippi River at Algiers Point

Two women and a dog In the middle of the river on the Algiers Ferry.

On the Algiers side we went to a trio of spots to write. First was breakfast at Tout de Suite Cafe, which was very good. Right next door was the excellent cafe/coffee shop Two Birds, One Stone – they had a back room full of pinball machines and big tables, a perfect place to write. The young owners were very accommodating to our group – I want to visit again and recommend you do too. I wrote snippets of text at both, then we walked on to Congregation Coffee Roasters for a third stop. I decided to churn out a poem, since that was what everybody else was doing.

Rented Furniture

A worshipped monolith
made of translucent plastic
red and stained
a machine of fire and water

A cylinder, a totem
raised on a dias of wood
life that needs washing
escape and revelation

We didn’t make the payments
and they took the furniture
when we were gone
and returned to find
an empty room, with
only a bong on a wooden
wire spool table

It was still fairly early, but some of the others had to get back to do a radio broadcast – everybody piled back on the ferry for the trip back.I was distracted by two bike share rental bikes at the ferry terminal and, checking the map on my phone, discovered there was a bike trail on the top of the river levee on the Algiers side – so I opened the app on my phone and unlocked a bike – deciding to go for a ride.

New Orleans Bike Share Bike

The New Orleans bike share bikes are built like a tank, and as heavy as one – but the city is flat so that doesn’t cause too much of a problem. It took me a minute to find the control and downshift so I could climb onto the Levee and the swept handlebars took some getting used to. But soon enough I had it all in control and was moving down the smooth levee trail.

I rode south (or more exactly, downriver – the Mississippi curves) for a few miles, down past the Naval station. It was fun – the view of the river and giant ships and barges on one side – the picturesque streets of Algiers on the other. The path sort of petered out and I rode back, past the ferry station and upriver to the giant double bridge… the Crescent City Connector. That was about seven miles and about all I felt up to, so I rode back to the ferry and parked my rented bike.

It was a lot of fun, but there was one problem. It was so hot. It was like riding through a blast furnace. There was no breeze at all – no cooling relief coming off of the river. The top of the Levee is very exposed, not a bit of shade. The burning sun, the boiling air, and the famous New Orleans summer humidity made for a sweaty, exhausting ride.

I was so worn out that when I made it back across the river I was lazy and took a streetcar through the French Quarter (still had a dollar bill and a quarter) back to where we were meeting. A long day, a hot day, but a nice time.

Can’t wait to go back.