Laissez les bons temps rouler, mes chers!
New Orleans was once the capital of the French colony of Louisiana and you can see from the architecture to the art how much this still has an influence on NOLA today. It’s also the birthplace of jazz with great little clubs laced throughout the French Quarter. Just a little further in the Faubourg Marigny neighbourhood, is Frenchmen Street, where you can find the best, in my humble opinion, jazz, funk, blues and country and western music clubs.
Tucked into this wonderful sound mosaic is the Frenchmen Art Market. It is a small alley packed end to end with tables of local artists and their work. It comes alive at night, covered in fairy lights. Enchanted by the evening I couldn’t help but buy a few goodies there.
Vieux Carré, or the French Quarter, is the historical district of New Orleans. It is host to many art galleries. Quite a few are more or less artist co ops. Le Jardin is one of the more popular ones with a variety of local art, ceramics and jewelry, you go through a narrow corridor filled with art that leads you to one of the many courtyards in the neighbourhood. Other artist cooperatives are the Dutch Alley comprised of 25 local artists. It will be celebrating 14 years in business as of November 2017. It is staffed by the artists themselves, giving unique insight to the work presented there. It is located next to the French Market (an area with street vendors) just down the way from the ever popular and delicious Café du Monde!
Zèle on the popular Magazine Street doesn’t consider itself a coop, but a multivendor Art market. It is filled with one of a kind items as well as original paintings and prints. It is in a permanent retail unit and houses over 100 local artisans.
Another cute little store that I enjoyed was Skull Paradise. Owned by a local art couple, they design and make most of their cards and prints. You guessed it, the main theme is, wait for it...skulls! They also had on offer the cutest little shrines, with mini skeletons in fun themes and my favourite, Frida Kahlo shrines. Of course, I couldn't resist a Frida!
I loved talking to all of the different artists. I learned so much about what influences their work and how they are able to market themselves, to showcase their artwork. I had such a great time and can’t wait to do it again!