This was a fun article, Still Rockin’ ‘n bowlin’ in the Times Picayune about the famous Rock’n Bowl, Mid-City Lanes Bowling Alley/Bar/Dance club. It’s where I used to party in high school. Yikes…! We listened and bowled to some great bands there, including Charmaine Neville, Aaron’s sister. Glad to know it’s still going strong and that John Blancher, the owner, intends on expanding the concept to a new location — the old Helm Paint Store on Earhart near Canal. It will be bigger and better and when his current lease runs out in 2010, he’ll have the option of choosing one or both locations. A lot I imagine depends on the economy and hurricanes. Fortunately, they escaped the effects of Katrina or “the storm” as New Orleanians refer to it.
What makes this article interesting and art worthy is it epitomizes the New Orleans way of life — making something standard even more fun — and the mural artwork of Tony Green is located inside. Little did I know. He was my parents’ neighbor for a while and I showed some of his artwork in a previous post after I went back home for a visit. Rock a bowl just celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. Way to go! It’s the place to visit if you want to know where the natives venture and hopefully, it will be up and running by the time I return to New Orleans, maybe this Spring.
Being an artistic city, there are many public murals in New Orleans, however, here are just a few to highlight.
I was unaware of these, having never been to Ralph’s on the Park until recently (view up close versions if you take the virtual tour on this link). These murals located in the downstairs dining area are painted by Tony Green, a very talented artist and musician, who happened to be my parents’ French Quarter neighbor for a time while they had their condo across the street and since he visits Venice, Italy annually, he knows my cousins — small world, indeed. These capture an era gone by but still alive with New Orleanians’ eternal party spirit. The contemporary Creole cuisine, by the way is fabulous!
As an aside, another restaurant to recommend (and there are countless exceptional ones in New Orleans too many to mention) would be Herbsaint (check out the murals that I missed seeing). It’s a New Orleans staple but I had never eaten there. My good friend Shauna and I took the afternoon to experience their fine cuisine and I thought it most fitting since the Louisiana Legislature had just voted the Sazerac (made with Herbsaint) as its official state cocktail.
I love this realistic clarinet mural that I see almost every time I venture downtown. It’s painted by Robert Dafford on the side of the New Orleans Holiday Inn Hotel and makes the best use of the non-punctuated, elongated horizontal wall space and again, captures that New Orleans living-life-to-the-fullest spirit by referring to its music.
There are many more but I’ll mention one other, the Luzianne Tea Mural near Camp Street, downtown. I was in a rush so I couldn’t stop to take a picture this time but I was able to find it on Dogbert10’s Flickr images of iconographic New Orleans’ Neon signs and locations. I love this for its realism and its unexpected location — in a parking lot.
New Orleans murals continue to fascinate and delight the visual senses.