14 August 2009

Hair of the Blue Dog

Greetings from the Crescent City! I'm Kevin Smith, a long time acquaintance of Paul and an avid fan of his blog. While I am jealous of his vacation time, I'm happy that Paul finally took a much needed break, and I'm sure that he's enjoying the sun and solitude of Cat Island.

I've been struggling with a topic for my guest post; I'm not a designer, and while I would be happy to add to the cocktail threads that have been running through the blog, Paul has seen me consume enough hooch during our friendship that I fear he'd stage an intervention upon his return should I begin ruminating about liquor. Actually, I'm not as nervous about an intervention as I am of having terrible stories of my escapades published for the world to see. So I decided to write about the latest stop on my adventure, New Orleans.

I've been in New Orleans for two months, having moved from St. Petersburg in search of adventure, debauchery and fun. The city has provided all of these things and more, and each day I leave the house wondering what I'll encounter next. Will it be another jazz band parading by the front door in a second line for some recently deceased? Will I see Mr. Okra, the gentleman who drives this truck around the neighborhoods, selling produce that he vends via loudspeaker?

Will it be throngs of drunken tourists slinging back hurricanes and hand grenades as they weave through the Quarter? Or will it be the sight of everyone sweating like a whore in a church because of the brutal heat and humidity of the dog days on the Delta?

One sight I'm guaranteed to see on a daily basis is a picture of the Blue Dog. Much like the Fleur-de-lis, the Blue Dog is an image that permeates the city.

George Rodrigue is a Cajun artist who created the Blue Dog. Its image is based on the legend of the Loup Garou, which a story about a savage dog who would steal children that local parents used as a threat/warning/deterrent for misbehaving children in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana. The Blue Dog gained national attention in the early 90's when it was used as part of an Absolut ad campaign (hmmm, looks like I can weave a liquor mention into the post after all), and Rodrigue has created other images to support Katrina relief, remembrance for 9/11 and other social causes.

There's a great gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter that houses quite a few Blue Dog paintings and prints. I can't remember the name at the moment, but it's on the back side of St. Louis Cathedral. Rather than searching for the name online, I'll leave it to you to search for it when you come to New Orleans. Everyone should make at least one trip to this fascinating city--you will be charmed, overfed, appalled and delighted, as I am on a daily basis. Should you wend your way down here, stop by the Roosevelt Hotel and say hello--I'm in the Sazerac Restaurant, and any reader of this blog will be in awe of the renovations that have taken place in this legendary hotel, which Arthur Hailey used as the basis for his novel "Hotel". But that's a story for another day...


  1. I've been to New Orleans three times and you described my reactions perfectly in the words "charmed, overfed, appalled and delighted".
    "Arthur Hailey used as the basis for his novel "Hotel". But that's a story for another day... " tomorrow is as good a day as any!

  2. Thanks for the post Kevin, I haven't been back to NOLA in far too long. Maybe Christmas?

  3. Great post, Kevin. Wanted to add to Melody's sentiments (and yours) about my first time to NOLA's Bourbon St. The juxtaposition of a classically attired fine-art appreciating couple sauntering past a woman standing in a doorway, wearing pasties, and alternately contracting each of her pectoralis muscles to tease men in to her "establishment" was, indeed, appalling and delightful. Reading your post helped me finalize a decision to return to Bourbon Street this Labor Day weekend. Do you suppose I'll be delighted and appalled?


Talk to me!