Over many years of trial and error, and actually reading spammy emails, I have a few recommended sources that have saved me a lot of money on traveling.Read More
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Cat and Milk Studio news, and anecdotes from artist, Caroline Devereaux. Illustrations in progress and sales and discounts on commission portraits are posted here.
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I can remember being a little kid -- maybe 6 or 7-- and seeing pictures of New Orleans. It looked downright magical: architectural details forming an ornate backdrop for happy people celebrating and playing music. From the limited portion of Baltimore I'd seen, urban living was synonymous with poverty and gloom. Growing up on stories of affluent Eloise in Manhattan, I was fascinated by New Orleans' apparent joie de vivre that didn't rely on money or circumstance.
At age 32, I finally discovered that childhood fascination was well-founded. A few weeks ago, I attended the wedding of two friends in the Marigny neighborhood, and took an additional couple of days to see the sights in the French Quarter and beyond. We visited Congo Square, (a particularly powerful place to stop and consider as America once again chokes on the bone of racial prejudice). We saw Marie Laveau's grave, the [supposed] resting place of the Voodoo Queen; we ate po' boys at the French Market and beignets at Cafe du Monde. We visited the Ninth Ward and walked along the levees that gave way to a catastrophic national nightmare in 2005. We strolled by the shot-gun houses in Bywater and the mansions in the Garden District, shopping and eating our way down Magazine Street. Of course, we ducked and dodged through the crowd on Bourbon Street, taking care not to spill our oversized Daiquiris.
Huge props to an application I downloaded to my iPhone called City Walks: New Orleans Map and Walks by GPSmyCity.com, Inc. It isn't a free-- I splurged and paid $4.99, I believe. It was hugely helpful in maximizing tourism potential; we could view sites around us or look them up by interest and then map the most efficient routes.
By the end of 5 days in Nawlins, I tell you, I was more exhausted than I was after 30 days in Europe and Morocco! The locals we met were friendly, unpretentious and proud of their city. I can understand why! NOLA is a colorful mash-up of French, West African, Spanish, Caribbean, Native American and so many cultures; the exuberance of a people who appreciate their history is infectious.
When you don't have a job, you can't complain about not having enough time. And yet, that is what I tell people when I explain why I haven't read a book cover-to-cover in about 4 years. However, since I have subscribed to Audible.com, I actually do have literature injected into my life, especially on days when I'm just caulking and painting the living room or sketching.
Lately I've been listening to Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe. It was recommended in a 10-hour lecture about the history of London that I really enjoyed. Defoe was a little kid when the Black Death visited London, but he writes from the perspective of a grown man who stayed in the city throughout 'the distemper.' As you can imagine, it's chock full of grisly and harrowing descriptions of plague victims, but he also gives account of how the city government and population formed hasty policies to try to contain a huge, deadly disaster. It must've felt like the end of the world. It's interesting to hear the same questions laid to Ebola in 2014 as where made of the Bubonic Plague in 1665.
"It may be proper to ask here how long it may be supposed men might have the seeds of the contagion in them before it discovered itself in this fatal manner, and how long they might go about seemingly whole, and yet be contagious to all those that came near them. I believe the most experienced physicians cannot answer this question directly any more than I can ... it may lie dormant in the spirits or in the blood-vessels a very considerable time."
But calamities, no matter what year, tend to bring people together. Ebola and the associated hysteria hasn't produced these affects in America. It seems that conservatives and others are no closer to recognizing the humanity of Africans than they were before 'the distemper.'
"Here we may observe and I hope it will not be amiss to take notice of it that a near view of death would soon reconcile men of good principles one to another, and that it is chiefly owing to our easy situation in life and our putting these things far from us that our breaches are fomented, ill blood continued, prejudices, breach of charity and of Christian union, so much kept and so far carried on among us as it is. Another plague year would reconcile all these differences; a close conversing with death, or with diseases that threaten death, would scum off the gall from our tempers, remove the animosities among us, and bring us to see with differing eyes than those which we looked on things with before. "
View of downtown London from Franks Cafe (a bar on the top of a parking garage) in Peckham. Would've stayed here longer except it was darn chilly.