Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Memories of New Orleans

I knew I had this tiny sketchbook, but couldn't find it for years, until I delved into one of my numerous messenger-bag briefcases and found it just last week. I had it with me when I went to New Orleans in 2003, and I did this drawing, in brown Pitt ink pen, of a commercial building on Magazine Street which housed "Charbonnet and Charbonnet," an antique shop. The building has an interesting projecting balcony on the second floor that goes all the way around the basic rectangular structure. One person I showed it to suggested that the building, which may date from the 19th century, was built to house a brothel and that the ladies of the evening would display themselves on the balcony to attract customers.

According to my Web search (what did we do before this?) Charbonnet and Charbonnet closed the New Orleans location in 2004 and they moved their shop to Bay St. Louis, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I remember traveling through this sleepy resort town on my way eastwards from New Orleans. In 2005, Bay St. Louis was ground zero for Hurricane Katrina, and most of it was destroyed. I don't find anything about Charbonnet and Charbonnet after that, though Bay St. Louis is bravely rebuilding.

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