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We viewed the Doullot Steamboat Houses in New Orleans; they were built in 1905 and 1913 (the first for river pilot, civil engineer, and shipbuilder Captain Milton P. Doullut and his wife, Mary, and the other for their son Paul). The homes are octagonal with, via SAH: “porthole-type openings; broad galleries reminiscent of riverboat decks, draped with double strands of wooden balls strung on steel wires; an enclosed belvedere resembling a pilothouse; and twin metal smokestack chimneys.” They’re right by the water, so in case of flooding, the first floor of each is made of ceramic tile. Drone view here. Also: a half-tester in a bedroom of the first home once belonged to Faulkner.
Christie’s has a piece on Robert Frank’s photography and especially his The Americans work (book with introduction by Jack Kerouac here on Bookshop); Walker Evans was his mentor. If you’ve studied photography in/of the South, you likely know his piece Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1955. Christie’s is presenting it in the October 6 photography sale…it’s property from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, sold to benefit collections care, and has an estimate of $30k-50.
Also included: Robert Polidori’s Orleans Ave New Orleans piece from post-K, 2005. If you’re wondering, here’s how that property is looking more currently.
Listening to the Art Bust podcast on the Toyes of Baton Rouge and forgeries of Clementine Hunter works. I was on the excellent, excellent Zoom presented by the Friends of the Cabildo in April, Clementine’s Imitators: the FBI’s Investigation of Clementine Hunter Forgeries. Looking forward to finishing these:
The original Huey Long headstone at the Louisiana State Museum, from a 2016 visit
28 years later, when Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby killed New Orleans native Lee Harvey Oswald, the funeral home tasked with overseeing Oswald’s burial told gravediggers they were preparing a plot for an old cowboy named “Bobo.” There were so few people in attendance that members of the press were asked to serve as Oswald’s pallbearers.
In contrast, the funeral and burial services for Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, Sr. are believed to be the largest ever held for an alleged American assassin.
A Tim Kerr mural in Birmingham
At Under the Radar, Tim Kerr Self Taught, published by Don Giovanni. It includes visits to Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers, the Orange Show in Houston, and Joe Minter’s African Village in America. The publication date was set for August but it looks like the book is still in pre-order.
From the Austin Chronicle:
…”visionary art” being a term Kerr prefers to “folk art,” which he finds reduces the importance of the spiritualism and visions inspiring these people’s work – accompanied by photographs he took of those artists’ workspaces, as idiosyncratic and as defined by their aesthetics as their artwork. The photos are taken with toy cameras or old Polaroid units, to achieve the same messy, scratchy, uneven-yet-gorgeous look of Kerr’s paintings. Accompanying the book: a soundtrack by Up Around the Sun. It’s all of a piece.
Super random section.
University Press of Mississippi has just released Fiddle Tunes from Mississippi: Commercial and Informal Recordings, 1920-2018
Is it just the lighting, in this NYT piece? Tomatoes this pink don’t get sliced and certainly not featured, they go on the windowsill or better, left on the vine to get right with the L-rd
Norman Rockwell’s My Mother (Soldier with French Woman) newly acquired, available at M.S. Rau
How to Design a Moon Garden at Modern Farmer and of course what should be included: the night-blooming cereus. Thinking of Welty’s Night-Blooming Cereus Club, and what one lady there in Jackson had said — wince — about what the flower looks like the next day: “like a wrung chicken’s neck”
Just in principle, I’m anti-paying $37 for tees, but if I were to, it would be for this retro Disney Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
Recipe reminder: mint julep slushie
The cheese-pairing conveyor belt of offerings at Culture & Co in Nashville (think sushi train, I think) and these restaurants in Arkansas use a little train on an overhead rail for food delivery (via Atlas Obscura)
Deep-fried seafood gumbo balls at the State Fair of Texas
These two sentences in the NYT piece, Eleven Madison Park Explores the Plant Kingdom’s Uncanny Valley in its restaurant review on the now-vegan establishment: “In tonight’s performance, the role of the duck will be played by a beet, doing things no root vegetable should be asked to do. Over the course of three days it is roasted and dehydrated before being wrapped in fermented greens and stuffed into a clay pot, as if it were being sent to the underworld with the pharaoh.”
It’s October so if you have a little in your home, it’s time to read Robert Bright’s Georgie books again
The late Wehrner von Braun’s MCM home in Huntsville is on the market
The Walk of Life Project cracks me up, proving that WOL is the perfect song to end probably most movies. Also, I’ve thought this forever: couldn’t all movies have at least one Phil Collins song? I’m not even a Phil Collins fan, but it feels accurate
The 10 Best Off-the-Grid airbnbs you can Rent in Texas, at Inside Hook
Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, hosts this walk-through of The Met’s ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ exhibit and at 1:40 speaks on Adeline Harris Sears’ “Tumbling Blocks” quilt begun 1856 in which she asked people she thought ‘important’ across the US for their signatures on white silk, and incorporated 360 of them them into the piece. It was the inspiration for the design of the overall exhibit.
Carlisle Floyd, who wrote the 1955 opera “Susannah” passed away this week in Tallahassee. He received the National Medal of Arts in 2004 and in 2008 was named an honoree of the National Endowment for the Arts lifetime achievement in Opera. From the NYT:
The son of an itinerant South Carolina preacher, Mr. Floyd grew up with the music of the South: revival meeting hymns, square dance fiddlers, rollicking country hoedowns and folk songs. He wrote them into many of his operas, whose plots were largely derived from classics of literature, featuring social outcasts and narrow-minded neighbors who ostracized them.
Joe & me, last year, all masked up
Saving the Artwork of the South: Deep Investment, and a Drone at the NYT on Joe Minter, and the Gee’s Bend quilters
“We’re treating this as an archaeological site,” said Eric Courchesne, the university’s geospatial services manager, who has overseen drone flights capturing its dimensions — top-down; a view from within the space; and how the installation relates to the neighborhood. A second phase includes filming a walk-through narrated by Minter and cataloging of the artworks, all to go live on a website.
“G-d’s looking down, like the drone,” Minter said. “I want him to see the progress and be able to say, Well done.”
We had two casual sukkah parties four hours apart at our home last weekend and that was crazy fun but also kinda exhausting. Here are some pics of my pre-everybody setup for both:
Steele Orchard, Cullman County AL, 2020
Apple Butter Builds Community in Appalachia in the Johnson City (TN) Press
As the apple sauce mixture is added to the kettle, so is a special family heirloom, used as long as any Horton family member can recall. It’s a 1901 coin bearing a scar from an errant hatchet. It’s in the possession of Jody’s aunt, and it’s tossed into the kettle not as a good luck charm but rather for a very practical reason. Because of the sugar content and the heat of the fire, apple butter can easily scorch. The coin, kept constantly moving by the wooden stirring paddle, prevents that.
Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body: The Work of Ramell Ross at the Ogden October 23 – March 27, 2022:
Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body also actively connects Ross’s practice to the historic trajectory of artists inspired by the mythology of Hale County, Alabama. His work builds on – and adds new layers of complexity and experience to – iconic works like James Agee’s seminal 1941 book, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” which featured photographs by Walker Evans, and to artists like William Christenberry, who immortalized Hale County in his paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures across several decades. Ross arrived in Hale County over ten years ago to teach photography and workforce development, and shortly thereafter began documenting the county, state and its people.
Willie Burgers, Hartselle AL earlier this summer
A visit to the Las Vegas Nobu in 2015
an Elayne Goodman from the Attic Gallery
Our sweet friend Lesley Silver who owns The Attic Gallery in Vicksburg is celebrating 50 (!!) years in business this weekend.
homemade Frito pie
So much love for small-town grocery stores, this one in Arab AL
a stop on the Natchez Trace earlier this year
America Magazine runs an excerpt from W. Ralph Eubanks’ A Place Like Mississippi (here at Bookshop / here at Amazon / signed at Square Books), Why has Mississippi Inspired so many Great Writers?
an ivory billed woodpecker on display at the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, from a 2016 visit
Not even a ‘bird person’ but sad to see that the government has put the Ivory Billed Woodpecker on the extinct list, even though it was seen in Arkansas the mid-aughts.
When Amy Trahan, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service, checked a line next to the words “delist based on extinction” for the ivory-billed woodpecker, “I literally cried.” @catrineinhorn https://t.co/PFvHixq55I pic.twitter.com/n9C04JNgA9
— John Schwartz (@jswatz) September 30, 2021
Rural Studio Classroom, from a 2015 visit
Andrew Freear, director of the Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction’s Rural Studio, has been selected as one of eight new National Academicians by the National Academy of Design in recognition of his contributions to arts and architecture.
the Vega-Cal man, 2008
A little bit of history on the Vega-Cal man in Hartselle AL:
“…In 1991 she received a letter from Malcolm L. Wheeler, a Birmingham attorney and grandson of John. P. Beggs, the Iron Man Statue maker.
Beggs designed and made three of these statues before he passed away in 1923. One was located in Irondale, and the third one was in Gate City. His father came over from Liverpool, England, and was one of the leaders of the iron and cast-iron business in the early days of Birmingham.”
Crystal Bridges, 2014
Set in the middle of North Forest Lights next to Dale Chihuly’s Sole d’Oro sculpture, the North Forest Snow Globe Experience includes two and a half hours inside a cozy, see-through snow globe dome with lights and faux fur blankets, specialty food, cocktails, and a Snow Globe Concierge. Tickets to this snow globe experience also include entry to North Forest Lights and a shuttle pick-up to bring you to your snow globe upon arrival.
Cullman County AL Fair, 2020
From the NYT, Food Scholar, Folk Singer, Blunt Speaker: The Many Lives of Leni Sorensen An irreverent historian who gets her hands into traditional cooking, farming and crafts is finally, at 79, winning fame with Netflix’s “High on the Hog.” And she wants to clear up some things:
“Anyone who tries to tell you James Hemings invented mac and cheese is lying,” she said. “Any cook at the time who had studied French cookery could have been making this. It’s not a [expletive] secret.”
It’s like saying all the French people who immigrated either forgot or decided to never make it once they got here. She’s, um, not a fan of Mr Jefferson, or chefs who claim a spiritual grasp to another place generations away. She IS incredibly well-rounded food-wise. Canning. Growing. Raising livestock. When her mother married a man from New Orleans, he taught her Creole cooking. “He had some real fixed notions about gravy,” she said.
If one wanted to learn the art of canning, from her in her kitchen would be the place to do it.
Jo-El Sonnier playing Evangeline Special
Kenton Nelson’s “American Vernacular” a short piece on the books he loves and how they inspire his paintings at The New Yorker — and on his October 4 cover of the magazine, a nod to an F. Scott Fitzgerald character (Horace Tarbox) from “Head and Shoulders”
not a chain: Pizza Bar in Carbon Hill AL, 2019
…King examines her appreciation for the déclassé. We meet on this chain-filled stretch in Queens for exactly that: a night of tacky indulgence with a bang-bang-bang of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and the Cheesecake Factory.
…Still, King says, “Not as good as I remember.” Is any food you loved as a child ever as good when you’re an adult—or is it the memory that makes everything better?
PS: this should really be in the random section after all, but I’m up for it if you wanna email about how much bigger and better Hardee’s biscuits were in the 80s.
Wondering what Graceland Too is looking like these days? They’re fixing it up.
PawPaw Fruit and Sentimentality at the Tennessee Farm Table
The Mississippi Book Festival‘s talk with author Jerry Mitchell (Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era here on Bookshop / here on Amazon) and Lisa McNair, sister of Denise.
Rodrigue’s Blue Dog at the sculpture garden at NOMA, 2018
Wendy Rodrigue on George Rodrigue’s “Virtual Reality” at Country Roads
Emeril’s, from a 2014 visit
Looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home…catching up on whatever. Enjoying fall and spending time in the backyard. Hope you’re curled up on the sofa reading or watching something fun this weekend too. xoxo!