Friday, November 4, 2011

The French Quarter

From our hotel in the Business District, Terry and I walked to the French Quarter in New Orleans. As soon as we crossed Canal Street we were shuttled back in time. Ornate wrought iron balconies over hung the street. The buildings were old with ancient histories. We walked past antiques shops and Terry started to feel the itch. She wanted to shop. We walked into an old shop that sold vintage muskets and pistols as well as rare coins. We had been here many years ago and Terry had bought an old Spanish piece of eight silver coin from the Atocha. She had to look at the treasure again. She asked a dealer to open a display case.

I heard music down the block. Musicians were performing in the street. Terry and I agreed that I could get a sketch while she shopped. I found a spot in the shade and sat down leaning back against a drainage pipe running down an old brownstone. The sidewalks were made from large slabs of slate. Slowly a large crowd formed listening to the music. They blocked my view so I looked up around them drawing the architecture. A woman walking in front of me collapsed in slow motion as a slate slab shifted under her feet. Her husband offered her his hand to help get her up. She refused but kept struggling to get her weight up. He grabbed her under her arm pit and pulled. She was fine, I kept sketching.

The trumpet player was thin and emaciated. He thrust his hips forward when he played arching his back as he belted out the notes. When the set was over, he came up to me to see what I was up to. He let me know that they would be playing later that evening a block away on Bourbon Street. He asked me how they sounded, and I thought they sounded great. I was still throwing down watercolor washes as the musicians packed up their instruments and left.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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