I just returned from a creative retreat in New Orleans during All-Star Weekend and Mardi Gras. I'll admit I wasn't too excited about Nawlins based on a previous college experience but spending time with artist like Anahata Katkin, Flora Bowley, Alena Hennessy, Carrie Schmitt, Dara Troshane, Cathy Nichols, Melissa Moss, Shannon Sims, and Lori Portka is an opportunity I didn't want to pass up! I'm really happy I decided to go because NOLA definitely didn't disappoint. I was greeted right after landing with French horns playing When The Saints Go Marching In. This serenade set the mood for the wonderful week ahead!
We settled into our Airbnb near the French Quarter on Dauphine Street. This street was lined with candy coloured houses and lush foliage. It was such a treat to take daily walks and take in the environment.
I always made time to treasure seek, looking for interesting textures and color patterns in my surroundings is such a meditative practice. There's no better way I can think of to be present.
It seems impossible to live in this city and be disconnected from the heartbeat of the culture. The gumbo, the hospitality, the street music, the people all make New Orleans such a southern treasure to behold. During one night of our stay we dined at the delicious and delectable restaurant Peche. This seafood fare uses the tradition of live-fire cooking and features inspired dishes from South America, Spain, and the Gulf Coast.
I hear the roasted carrots w/ harissa aioli is divine ;) and do try the smoked tuna dip. Yummo!
We enjoyed watching the Southern University Band entertain us with not only a dramatic entrance but the blaring horns and simultaneous dance moves set a enthralling backdrop to the beautiful ladies in gold, who danced their way to our heart. If you haven't seen this band and the Dancing dolls live you are missing out!
This was my first time visiting one of the infamous New Orleans cemeteries. I had quite the adventurous walk before arriving at this location, which by the way I learned is the final resting place of Maddam Marie Loueau, a well-known Creole practitioner of Voodoo. But don't be scared. My grandma always said-- It is those that are still alive you need to be afraid of!
There's just not enough time to tell about all the wonderful experiences of Nawlings. I had the most amazing time creating art, eating too much, perusing shops, and mingling with the locals. The Mardi Gras parades were full of life and the city has so much to offer--especially for creatives. Maybe this might be the location of my first retreat? At only one hours flight from my city, NOLA will always be at the top of my list for quick getaways for sure!