New Orleans Toile: Backstreets
is a peek into my New Orleans and its citizens incomparable lust for life. The toile is about the city of New Orleans today and the way we live. Our lifestyle is literally an art form as New Orleans exudes decadence, beauty, opulence, and decay in a one of a kind culture filled with character and soul.
Growing up in New Orleans, the music, architecture, culture and lifestyle encouraged my creative spirit from majestic French Quarter architecture to the colorful streets of the Treme and from traditional Jazz Funerals to celebratory Second Lines, Preservation Hall and Mardi Gras Indians; our vibrant culture is unmatched. This toile translates this exotic lifestyle by highlighting these slices unique to our city’s culture.
Rolls are 24″ wide and 21′ long and retail for $200.
An in-stock and easy way for you to paper your world.
The material is slightly transparent, so be sure to paint the wall white before installation. FlavorPaper EZ Papes are as easy to take down as they are to put up: the material is water strippable for easy removal. (Eco-friendly, PVC-free, FSC certified, 10% recycled content, mold and mildew resistant, ultra smooth 24” wide wallpaper. Class A fire rating.)
PS We can also print this on a number of Type II materials, textured, etc. Those are priced by the square foot and would be set up specifically for the intended wall. Best to contact flavorpaper.com for a custom project.
Preservation Hall is the most personal imagery in the New Orleans Toile because it’s my cornerstone to New Orleans culture. It’s my favorite jazz haunt, where live jazz pours out of its intimate music-soaked walls, showcasing a musical legacy dating back to the origins of jazz itself. New Orleans is justifiably proud of her living tradition of musical invention. Pres Hall is both my living room and temple, where I go on dates with my husband, entertain clients and celebrate holidays with my best friends and children. A portion of the sales from the New Orleans toile will be donated to the Preservation Hall Foundation, (where I sit on the advisory board) whose mission is to “Preserve, Perpetuate, and Protect traditional New Orleans Jazz” – something I hold dear to my heart.
“Preservation Hall. Now that’s where you’ll find all of the greats.” — Louis Armstrong
JAZZ FUNERAL in front of ARMSTRONG PARK & CONGO SQUARE
We celebrate life in New Orleans, even at funerals, where musicians play traditional dirges (slow hymns) in the streets, while we dance behind the body pulled by horses. In the 1800s, New Orleans’ Congo Square (dubbed, Armstrong Park) was a cultural center for Afro-Caribbean music and dance. New Orleans was more liberal than most Southern cities, and on Sundays, African slaves gathered to sing folk songs, play drums and dance the Bamboula. The lively parties were recounted by a Northern observer as being “indescribable… Never will you see gayer countenances, demonstrations of more forgetfulness of the past and the future, and more entire abandonment to the joyous existence to the present movement.”
Second line is a term that relates to jazz funerals. The “first line” was the family, and the “second line” refers to those of us who follow the band just to enjoy the music and dance. “Second Lining” is another quintessential New Orleans art form, in which we strut and twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air. It’s like a jazz funeral without a “body.” Second lines are part of the cultural heritage of New Orleans with brass bands leading the way. They’re organized by benevolent organizations and clubs dating back to the 1880s and typically take place on Sundays throughout the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
ST LOUIS CEMETERY
Elegant, walled cities with above ground tombs were a practical response to New Orleans’ below sea level geography. The unabashed display of ruined finery (tombstones) tell the story of our ancestors and frequent epidemics. I’ve been infatuated with cemeteries since I was a child; maybe because there were mysterious “miniature houses” (tombs) in my backyard. They were another magical kingdom. I’ve drawn Baron Samedi, a loa of the dead from Haitian Voodoo to pay homage to Marie Laveau, the famous Voodoo priestess (and hairdresser) from the 19th century who is buried in St Louis cemetery just outside the French Quarter. New Orleans Voodoo, unlike that in Haiti was dominated by women.
MARDI GRAS INDIANS
Secret Society, Tribal, Craftsmanship, Colorful Artistry, and Attitude: Need I say more?!
The idea of letting loose and embracing traditional African music and dance is a backbone of the Mardi Gras Indians’ practice and culture. Since the mid-19th century, Mardi Gras Indian “Tribes” have been parading in New Orleans in their elaborate handmade suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel. Beads, feathers, and sequins are integral parts of a Mardi Gras Indian suit; weighing more than one hundred pounds and costing thousands of dollars in materials, the elaborate bead patches depict meaningful and symbolic scenes.
King Zulu and Black Mardi Gras Parody Parade
In New Orleans, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday will always be the most important day of the year. Zulu, a Social Aid & Pleasure Club, is the first parade on Mardi Gras day. We wake up early, fill our flasks and ride our bikes into the Treme to catch their famous painted coconuts and watch the Mardi Gras Indians greet one another under the 1-10 (highway.)
JACKSON SQUARE / CABILDO
When I was between the ages of 3-6 years, my father lived in the lower Pontalba Apartments, one of the most historically and architecturally significant structures in New Orleans overlooking Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the (baroque) Cabildo. Adorned by artists, street performers and musicians, Jackson Square was my playground, where I’d feed (and chase) the pigeons, dance to the rhythms in the air, meet the characters of the city and then visit my mom in her needlepoint shoppe: The Quarter Stitch. This square was my backdrop.
Royal & Orleans (An intersection in the French Quarter with Queen Pelican)
While the Pelican is our state bird, the Pelican in this scene is (symbolically) me, sitting on my favorite corner in the Vieux Carré, the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. I’ve humanized her and made her regal by placing a crown on her head. We New Orleanians love to dress up and have theatricality in our blood. The Queen Pelican is standing on a corner that features French and Spanish Colonial, Greek Revival, and Neo-Classical architecture all in one corner, and I love them all.
Pleasure seeking pursuits, such as drinking has always been a favorite topic of conversation and way to pass time in New Orleans. On Friday afternoons, I meet friends in the Quarter at the Napoleon House, an architectural relic where I love the ambiance of the crumbling plaster exterior, peeling paint and the dark patina interior.
I added a Hurricane (cocktail) and Absinthe dispenser to the bar for fun, although a local would know these two cocktails are not served at The Napoleon House. Instead, they serve up their famous Pimm’s Cup.