Friday, October 24, 2008

Of pimm's cup and banksy's

So, on Tuesday, Colin and I attended a surprise engagement shower for my public health buddy Sammy. Her roommates, Joe and Meroe, planned the whole thing quite carefully, and the bride and groom to-be had no idea we were all lurking in the backyard ready to pounce. At the appointed moment the unsuspecting victims were lured outside and into the festivities. After that, all the guests spent a pleasant evening hanging out in the garden, eating appetizers and drinking pimm's cups. The weather was lovely, the setting pleasant, and the company congenial. the garden had been decorated with tea lights in paper bags, and looked quite romantic. The only thing that could have possibly spoiled anyone's evening was the fact that the neighborhood cats tried to pounce on us. (The Marigny is FULL of cats, and these particular cats had ringworm). Colin and I of course enjoyed shooing the kittens away from the food, so we had a great time.

I was also pleased to continue to expand my repertoire of alcoholic beverages by sampling the Pimm's cup. The particular recipe we imbibed was a mix of the Napoleon house Pimm's cup and the Town hall Pimm's cup with slight alterations. (1 part Pimm's No.1, 2 to 3 parts ginger ale and garnished with a cucumber slice). It turned out quite tasty, but still carried a punch.

Colin and I were also able to view wonderful outdoor art on Tuesday evening, quite by chance. Recently, the Times Picayune reported that several outdoor paintings had appeared across the city, and were being attributed to the graffiti artist Banksy. (You can see photos of the New Orleans instillation here ). We had both read the article, and found the included photos of the street paintings profound, inspiring both joy and sadness. On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Banksy was able to capture some of the truly emblematic symbols of the hurricane while provoking new thoughts on the tragedy. His work was so politically astute, so relevant, and perhaps best of all, exceedingly local. For example, one of his paintings features the grey ghost, a New Orleans figure (in) famous for removing graffiti. Other very local insights include a walking jazz band wearing gas masks, and a small child flying a refrigerator kite. (The refrigerator, with its rotting food smell, was one of the most visceral results of Katrina). We were able to veiw one of the city's Banksy's while we were driving around the Marigny, looking for the address where the surprise engagement party was being held. While trying to find a one way street going the correct direction, I saw a Bansky and shouted out to Colin to stop and let me out to take a photo. It was the painting of a young girl using an umbrella to fend off the coming storm, only to be soaked by the umbrella itself. Some have suggested that the umbrella is a metaphor for the levee system, designed to provide protection, but which ultimately was a leaky umbrella itself.

After the party I convinced Colin to take a small detour on our way home to see the other Banksy I had accidentally run into a few days earlier. This one I had encountered while walking from the downtown Tulane campus to the LSU's Health Sciences Center for an appointment. I had just turned a corner on my route, when I walked past an abandoned building with a painting of Lincoln with a granny cart on it. I believe that this painting is supposed to represent the displacement and homelessness that many New Orleans residents have faced as a result of Katrina.

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