Wednesday, March 2, 2011


One of the features of the French Quarter is the variety of shops that can be found there. The signs identifying these businesses are equally interesting.

Harry's Corner is described as a "comfort-able neigh-borhood bar a block off Jackson Square."

Just a few doors away on Chartres Street is the Trashy Diva. Over 15 years ago, the name was inspired by an article in W magazine about vintage starlets including Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield.

"The 'Trashy' part of the name of this clothing company expresses two different ideas. At the start, the idea was that found objects (aka some people's unwanted items--'trashy') could be made beautiful and and stylish. Another reason Trashy Diva appealed to the owners as a name was that it expressed an idea of an irreverent beauty--the girl who doesn't always follow the rules!"

"A popular store with a cult-like following," Second Skin features leather clothing, accessories and adult novelties.

Juan and Silvia Asturias moved from Guatemala to the U.S. in 1982. It is reported that "with $1200 she had left in her savings, Silvia bought a stash of jewelry from New York and set a table in the French Market, which in 1988 was more of a flea market.
The following year, Silvia and Juan were importing Guatemalan handicrafts.
Their success encouraged them to expand their selection to silver jewelry from Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Italy, Chile, and Russia.

Moving to a couple of food related references, we saw this sign in a bar for a local food item.

We then came across this display in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. It shows a long roll that has been autographed by George Rodrigue, the artist known for the "blue dog" paintings. I didn't take notes at the museum, so I don't know the details of story behind the reason for Rodrigue's signing the bread. It may have taken place at Galatoire's restaurant, but I'm not even sure of that.

On one of our walks around the Central Business District, we came across this structure. We saw the name New Orleans Orpheum Theater, but as we photo-graphed some of the features of the theater, we were unaware of its history.

Later, we learned that the theater was also known as RKO Orpheum. The Beaux Arts style theater, designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, was built in 1918 and opened for vaudeville in 1921.

In 1979, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition, but it was rescued and underwent a $3 million renovation.

It reopened in 1989 as home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, whose musicians prized the auditorium for its acoustical purity. The theater is an example of "vertical hall" construction, initially built to provide perfect sight lines and acoustics for vaudeville shows which didn't have the benefit of amplifiers or modern lighting.

The Orpheum Theatre was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina floodwaters and plans to restore it have not proved successful.

But according to a Times-Picayune article of July, 2010: "The shuttered, debt-ridden Orpheum Theater has a new owner who says he is in the early stages of transforming the 1921 vaudeville house into a 1,500-seat music venue to showcase local talent and host big-name, touring performers."

One more sign of New Orleans' recovery.

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