Saturday, March 16, 2013

Slippin' Southern at the SweetArts 2013 Bash

Gregory Morris of Slippin' Southern with models at SweetArts 2013 Bash

Yes, this picture is a little bit shocking.... but it's New Orleans y'all.

Two weeks ago we took a few minutes break from sign making to stroll over to our local coffee shop, New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. to get a quick cup of chicory coffee when we passed a house on the way that we love walking by because they often times will have two of the cutest French Bulldogs frolicking in their front yard. As you walk by them, they will walk along their fence with you and bark and carry on, they are just adorable!

Too Cute Bubble Girl who greeted us at the entrance to the Bash

Go-go Girl on the Dance Floor at SweetArts 2012
On this day, there was a man walking about in the yard, a Southern Gentleman to be exact. We sort of notice him the same time he noticed us so I pointed at the Frenchies and said something like, "We just love your doggies!"

In no time, the man came over and invited us up on his front porch to sit for a minute and he proceeded to tell us about the dogs, the house and little bit about his family. I explained that I had a wall art business just around the corner and I sold and shipped signs all over the world. It was like we knew him all of our lives. The conversation was warm and friendly. And the Frenchies filled in any awkward moments in the conversation.

Couches for lounging during the Party
Finally, as the conversation ended, he walked us back out to the street and from his car, he pulled out an invitation to the SweetArts 2013 Bash that was to be held the following Saturday. We thought to ourselves, wow, what are the chances that we would bump into someone like Gregg Porter, a Co-Chairman of the SweetArts 2013 Committee? We were so happy to have met him and had this opportunity fall into our laps.

So anyway, long story short, we purchase tickets and attended Gregg's shin-dig the next Saturday. It was like something out of Batman meets Austin Powers movie. Held of course at the CAC (Contemporary Arts Center) building where they are currently featuring an exhibit called Beyond Beasts, featuring props from the motion picture Beasts of the Southern Wild, sorry, I have not seen this movie but the props were amazing.

DJ Matty spinning the best tunes at SweetArt 2012
The party scene went something like this.... Ashley Longshore's film performance piece starring Nissa Teissier is going on in one corner. Local print shop artists are creating on-the-spot mementos and poem relics while you wait in another corner. There's Mystic ponies featuring swamp inspired aerial & dance performances in another corner... there's lots of corners in this place.

Once inside the main party room there were hundreds of guests, all in suits and party attire, dancing and cocktailing the night away, at least for three hours.

There was also a burlesque trapeze act spinning above the heads of the terrific DJ Matty, DJ Bunny & DJ Lingerie who spun tunes that were the perfect mix for such an eclectic mix of Hollywood meets modern art crowd.

At one point in the evening my wife, Susan stopped dead in her tracks and backed up against the wall and told me to do the same. It was if she had seen a ghost. The music was loud, and it was kinda dark. I thought she was getting sick or something. But then she pointed ahead of us and said, "Don't freak out, but, it's him!"  Who? I asked. Robert.... she said. Robert who? I asked. For the next minute or two we could not for the life of us remember his last name. I even grabbed another guy walking by us and asked, "Hey, what's that movie star's last name?" This guy said he couldn't remember it either. It was like everyone was under this spell of complete dumbness!

Gregory Morris, the Gountry Gentelman
I've heard of people blanking-out when meeting a celebrity and now I'm having the same experience y'all!

I looked once again, and then it comes to me, and it wasn't DuVall, it was Deniro. Robert was surrounded by folks who all were trying to get their pictures taken with him as he was trying to make his way through the crowd. Then, in a moment he was gone. I'm not sure how long he was in the room but it was brief.

Oh, by the way, the coat I'm wearing? It's a Slippin' Southern original design... A duck-tape covered vintage suit coat complete with Sharpie pens that we threw together so fellow party goers could draw, write and sign their names right on my coat. Let me tell ya, a great ice breaker at any cocktail party y'all.

I asked a lot of folks to sign it up until I had about three drinks... then folks started asking me if they could sign it. I had the art director from the movie Beasts sign it, and many people that I don't even know. Over the past week I have pulled it out of my closet, looked it over and have tried to decifer the inscriptions all over it.

Anyway, thanks Gregg Porter, for being such a warm host to us at your big shin-dig, we really enjoyed spending an hour on your couch at the party!

Gregory & Susan
Slippin' Southern

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mardi Gras is in full swing y'all!

Float from Cleoptra's 40 Enchanting Years Parade

Mardi Gras is in full swing y'all, however, New Orleans took an unprecedented week off from Carnival  to host the NFL Super Bowl XLVII last week. It was the 10th Superbowl ever hosted in New Orleans and the first after Hurricain Katrina. So, all parading paused on the West side of the Mississippi River. But now the good times are about to start rolling again this week. Here are some of Slippin' Southern's personal pics from the parades we attended last week...

610 Stompers at the Krewe of Carrollton Parade (These guys are GREAT!)

Parades run back to back on most days, that is if you are late to the first one, just wait, there is usually another right behind it. Each one has about 25 floats, a dozen marching bands plus Shriners on motor cycles or dune buggies, horse back riding clubs, dancing girls, police cars, fire trucks and well, you get the idea.

Masked Bead Tossers at the Krewe of Carrollton Parade
Some parades are at night and others are during the day. Most of the parades run north on St. Charles street. These are your larger, G-rated family parades. On the north side of town around Frenchman Street, you'll find the counter-culture, adult parades like the Krewe of Chewbakus.

Horseback Riders at the Krewe of Carrollton Parade
What is watching a Mardi Gras parade like? It's like the 4th of July? You take the day off, cook out, hang out with friends and then that evening, you go to your favorite spot and watch the fireworks? You enjoy the smell of good things cooking on an open flame, music and tons of people watching? Now add the element of Halloween and the New Years Day Parades.... It's kinda like that, but better.

Susan & Gregory Morris watching the Krewe of Carrollton Parade
Mardi Gras is not just one day, it's day after day after day from late January through February. Different locations, different parade routes, different Krewes. Each parade is unique and has it's own history and traditions.

Krewe of Cleopatra Parade Float
There are several ways to watch a parade. The most common is to watch on the street. This method will yield the most beads. More on that subject later. The other method is to watch from a bar balcony. This get's you above the parade so you can see more.

Krewe of Carrollton Parade

Most of the parades go East down St. Charles Street. That's the street that you always see the green New Orleans street cars going down the grassy median center, in the Garden District. 

More to come soon, stop back in a few days for more of Slippin' Southerns Mardi Gras report!

Krewe of Carrollton Parade

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carnival Season is almost here!

Mardi Gras Masks for sale at my neighborhood Walgreens
You know when a major holiday is coming up and you walk into Walgreens and walk down the seasonal isle to see things to decorate your home with? I'm sure in your local Walgreens right now, Valentines Day is the big thing, right? Well, that's not the case here in New Orleans. Valentines takes a back seat to Mardi Gras, also known as Carnival Season. The isles are filled with masks, t-shirts, and beads, beads, beads y'all!

Slippin' Southerns been here close to four months now and we are pretty settled in. We have a new apartment and a new shop in the city to make our wall art. We've lived through Halloween, Christmas, New Years. But that's just child's play compared to the party-storm that's brewing...

Mardi Gras Floats warehoused in Uptown
I recently passed by a couple of the large warehouses just blocks from our apartment that are housing some of the floats that will be slowly rolling down St. Charles Avenue in just two weeks. And let me tell you, they are amazing! They are so big and grand... it's breathtaking.

This all got me to thinkin'... So when I was out and about in the city this week, I keep asking everyone that I meet from taxi drivers to my neighbors around my shop on Constantinople Street, "Just how crowded is it going to get here during Mardi Gras?" The answers vary, but most agree that parking will be an issue and the crowds will be even a bigger issue. You have to decide which side of St. Charles street you need to be on the day of the parade. Since we are just a couple of blocks from St. Charles Street, we probably will close early on days when the Parades will be near our shop. Luckily, most parades are on the weekends but there are a few that are during the week.

The Mardi Gras Season goes from January 20th to February 12 or Fat Tuesday. Oh, and did I mention that this year, right in the middle of Mardi Gras, New Orleans is hosting the Super Bowl too?

Below is a photo of the front of our new shop with our big red gator over the door way. It's not real sexy... it's an old warehouse that Martin's Wine Shop used to own. In the true spirit of Mardi Gras, we've decorated our Red Gator with beads. The BURGERWOOD letters are a project I just finished for Burgerwood in New Jersey... check them out y'all!

Slippin' Southern's New Shop in New Orleans
I grew up about 4 hours from here, in Pensacola, Florida. I've never been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras season, except for one time in high school. I was in Marching Band with the Pace High School Marching Patriots and we marched in one of the parades. I have no idea which one it was.... I should check on that and get back to you on it.

More Mardi Gras Decor from Walgreens
Mardi Gras is big, really big y'all. It generates over a billion dollars in spending in New Orleans. There are 53 parades and the parade routes end to end would cover over 300 miles.

For more facts and history on Mardi Gras the best authority I have found so far is Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide. You can get to their on line guide here: AH's guide tells all about the history and the parade routs and dates on this site!

If you'd like to keep up with Mardi Gras events on your iPhone or Android, check out the local NBC affiliates app called "WDSU's Parade Tracker."

Stay tuned to this blog for the Parades that Slippin' Southern will be attending this year y'all!

If there's something you want to know or you want me to go check out for you... just ask!
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