Sunday, September 19, 2010

On the B-list in wonderland

From Tom Strider's Wonderland series.
Have I mentioned that I work in the French Quarter too? At a real job, in a real office on Chartres Street. I love walking to work and every morning I see something new on these old streets. But workweek routines can also get, well, pedestrian. In true Lower Quarter Rat fashion, days and days drift by before I see the other side of St. Peter Street except to visit my money and sweet Ephyania at the Whitney Bank Morgan Branch. 

This Thursday was different. I left work early, walked home to fetch the car, and headed out for an evening on the town way, way uptown.

First stop was an open house at Audubon Charter School in Carrollton, where both my sons are in the French language immersion program and mooching a first class education from the French taxpayers. Lucien's eighth grade class has been reading 19th Century French literature. From Madame Carole, their teacher, I learned of Lucien's keen interest in the later works of Guy de Maupassant -- especially that period when the writer’s end-stage syphilis had so infected his brain that he shifted from the droll ironies of everyday life as major themes, to tales of fantasy and unspeakable horror.

Beaming with fatherly pride, I drove down St. Charles to meet the Gal Pal and take in Tom Strider's new show, "Wonderland," at the Collins Diboll art gallery at Loyola. The show consists of dozen or so magnificent caterpillars in oil, and some larger drawings of same. The paintings get even better on close view. The surfaces have a curious crackling feature that reminds you of the tiny hairs on a caterpillar’s back. Beautiful, intriguing work. Well worth a visit.

We wound up at the packed opening of Salu, the new "small plates" restaurant and wine bar in the 3300 block of Magazine Street. The food was fabulous, the wine flowed, the joint jumped. But l felt somewhat chagrined to learn that I hadn't been to the opening at all. There had been a soft opening at Salu several weeks ago "you know, to get the buzz going," as one of the organizers told me when we hit the sidewalk.
Opening night at Salu
My Social Status was laid bare at last: "B-list, second-tier city." I am not as bothered by the situation as you might think. It's probably like warming the bench for the Zephyrs, I imagine, watching the game from the dugout, kibitzing with you folks now and then. Play is more intimate here in the minors, and more fun. 

We said good night. I bought a Klondike bar for the drive back to the Quarter and was home and in bed by 11 o'clock, pretty much as always.                                          
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Tom Strider's paintings are on view through October 21 with "Couples," a portrait series by Carol Leake.                             


  1. Sounds like a great night out. There's nothing wrong with being a B-lister. It's like waiting for the kinks to get work out as opposed to buying first-generation anything. It's always right the second time.

  2. 'Twas fun, Red, I never let my inferiority get in the way of a good time.

  3. Arturo - your posts always make me wonder why I'm not living in NOLA. So inviting. And written like a native.

  4. Thanks, Arturo. Wish you would sojourn here more often. Perhaps when your friend and my sometime neighbor, B.R., is in town. He's also friends with a featured character on this blog, the Gal Pal.

  5. It is good to have a productive routine to break! It always seems like you are doing something interesting. And as for A or B list, Ronnie & I are happily NO listers.

  6. Beg to differ, you guys are A+++ on my list!

  7. Found your blog, saw the picture from Salu's opening night and thought "Huh. I was sitting at the table to the left of where that photo was taken." So err, nice running into you, sort of.

  8. Christy, thanks for stopping by Calliope Street. Please say "Hi" next time in the real world now that we've met, well, sort of...

  9. lol... this post made me laugh out loud! (not at you but with you of course) i moved one month ago from uptown (octavia & st.chuck) to the warehouse district. because of my location and obsession :) with food and wine, i'm out a lot.
    heh heh.. i find myself sneaking out to my comfy cozy loft everytime. ;-)

    i used to be such fun... lol