My love affair with New Orleans began as a small child. From my first home in Gentilly, I could walk to Pontchartrain Beach, I moved to the St Thomas Housing Projects, then to the uptown district where I lived on State street, Annunciation, Prytania and 4th Street where I lived in a shotgun house in which the aromas and smells wafting from the neighbor’s home became part of my environment. It was a life of change and varying experiences that allowed me to see New Orleans through many different lenses. My only constant was the city itself.
My longest stay at any school was at Marion Abramson Senior High. There I developed lifelong friendships with some amazing women. These women, my chosen family, have remained a major part of my life over these past 40 years.
Although our lives have separated us for most these years, with me marrying the love of my life, also a native New Orleanian, having two wonderful boys, now men, and two adorable grandsons, these endearing, special women and I have managed to reconnect each year to nourish our relationship with New Orleans serving always as the backdrop. They are the impetus for my venture into bracelet design.
Last year, I wanted to have something special and meaningful to give to them during our yearly girls’ week. I decided to design bracelets for them. Although I was not able to pull it off in time, the project stayed with me and now has morphed into my designs reflecting this commonality amongst all of us, the amazing city we all call home.
Like no other place, NOLA is replete with symbols that speak to the heart of New Orleanians. If it is Monday, it is Red Beans and rice. If it is Sunday, the television is tuned to the Saints game. If you are on St. Charles Avenue, swaying back in forth, you are not necessarily drunk, you are riding the streetcar. If you are hearing music, it is probably Jazz. If it is spring, the music is playing at the Jazz festival. If a stranger is wearing a mask, no cause for alarm for it must be Mardi Gras. If it is Mardi Gras you are sure to be eating King Cake, standing in a crowd of people yelling “Throw me something Mister” and jockeying for position in order to catch those beads, panties, coconuts, doubloons, plastic cups, or moon pies.
This is the backdrop for my designs. “Hooked on New Orleans Bracelets” takes these symbols and transforms them into elegant reminders of all that we treasure about our home.