Category Archives: stories

Twelve things I wrote for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune in 2016

 

Breaking news: Gertrude’s begonias are blooming. Since I started writing home and garden features for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune last January I’ve been privileged to interview and tour an eclectic mix of homeowner’s and renter’s spaces. I’ve covered everything from a charming 400 square foot apartment in the Warehouse District to a grand 10,000 square foot Old Metairie home. Writing about beautiful houses is a delight; not only am I constantly inspired by other people’s beautiful spaces, but I get to meet interesting people while doing it. Here are 12 stories I wrote last year– most of them are house tours, but not all of them. Click on the headline to read the full story.

 

Would you like a poem with that? Buy a pizza, get some poetry at New Orleans restaurants

Pizza and potholes don’t have much in common (although they both tend to be round), but this month (April) they serve as gateways for youth poetry during National Poetry Month.

Big Class, a nonprofit volunteer-run organization that helps kids ages 6 to 18 with writing skills, started the Pizza Poetry Project in 2014.

 

Grieving widow finds joy in decorating chic dining room 

Coletha Tucker needed to bring a little joy into her life nearly three years ago so she hired Whitney Jones of Whitney J. Decor to help her revamp several rooms.
Tucker’s husband Alan had just died of cancer. “I got tired of coming home to the same thing. It was miserable,” Tucker said. Hiring Jones proved to be a mood elevator.

 

How to clean up glitter, the bane of all post-Carnival cleanup efforts

After the last piece of king cake has been consumed and the costumes are packed away, there’s still one tiny reminder of the Mardi Gras season that lingers and lingers. Glitter — the bane of all post-Carnival cleanup efforts.

Traces of the sparkly stuff can be found everywhere: hardwood floor crevices, car upholstery, that favorite hoodie worn to every parade. Glittery dust bunnies can lurk under beds and in corners months after Mardi Gras.

 

From ho-hum to hip: A cosmetic spruce-up breathes new life into a Harahan home

Heather Smith’s mid-century modern house in Harahan is a study in the transformative power of paint and plants.

Smith moved into her two-bedroom, two-bath house in May 2015, two days after selling her beloved Nashville Avenue shotgun, where she’d lived for seven years. The reason? Smith went through a divorce in January 2015 and, after living in the same two-mile radius for nearly 20 years, she was ready for a dramatic change and a new project.

 

Honey, I bought a house: Wife surprises husband with serious fixer-upper

The day Elaine Vigne bought her Gentilly Woods home she told her husband she was going shopping, but she didn’t specify what she planned to buy.

“He thought I went shopping to buy a dress,” she said. “He was like, ‘I thought you went shopping today?’ I said, ‘I did. I bought a house.'”

 

Filled to the brim: A Metairie man’s unbelievable German beer stein collection

Open the door to Randy and Jean Smith’s Metairie home, and you’ll instantly be inundated with beer steins thanks to Randy’s 450-piece collection.

The space feels like a biergarten; steins cover nearly every flat surface of the couple’s living room. A medieval tapestry hangs over a cognac leather sofa, German-themed decor decorates the walls, and ceiling beams have steins dangling from hooks. Randy, an affable man with a white handlebar mustache, even looks like the type to collect beer steins.

 

A cozy Creole townhouse in the midst of the French Quarter action

Guy Williams knew he belonged in New Orleans the moment a stranger asked him for a bite of his pastry.

Williams, who grew up in Tennessee and lived in Manhattan for many years, was in need of a change. He found himself sitting at CC’s on Royal and St. Philip streets with a cup of coffee and a pastry when the quintessential Crescent City magic happened.

 

Mother’s Day gift idea: portraits from six New Orleans artists

In this Instagram world, the gift of a portrait on Mother’s Day can feel old fashioned, which makes images of her favorite people — or pooches– that much more special. These photographers, painters and illustrators offer styles ranging from classic to quirky. 

 

Plant-loving Metairie resident transforms courtyard into private oasis

If you’re looking for “the best kept secret in Metairie,” then look no further than Richard Bienvenu’s backyard courtyard — at least according to him.

Bienvenu and his girlfriend of 14 years, Diana Eubanks, transformed a once “dump” of a courtyard into what could easily pass as outdoor seating at a trendy eatery. In fact, the owner of Quarter View Restaurant (located next door to the couple’s home) jokingly said, ‘How many tables do you think I can fit out here?’

 

Worldly influences, local art reflects Gentilly renter’s interests: Cool apartment style

The two-bedroom Gentilly house that Charle Washington rents with her boyfriend, Max Lapushin, is filled with work by local and up-and-coming artists, from letterpress posters by Amos Kennedy to framed yarn work by Pottspurls.

“As a local creative, I know how much people appreciate you supporting them, and I love art that has a story,” said Washington, who runs Shop Charle, a vintage clothing pop-up shop. “I almost never paint a space,” she added. “I cover it in framed artwork because the last thing I want to do when I move is paint over it.”

 

House tour: former schoolhouse filled with hand-me-downs with history

Journalist Helen Rowland once wrote, “Home is any four walls that enclose the right person.” For Hattie and Corey Moll, that quote rings true. They’ve been renting their two bedroom double — an 1854 former schoolhouse in the Riverbend area — for only two months but it feels like they’ve been there for years.

 

First lady of fashion: Michelle Obama through the years

First Lady Michelle Obama has brought her own brand of class and grace to the White House. We reflect on some of her most iconic fashion moments of the past eight years.

 

Catahoula: Winter issue in stores now, accepting spring submissions

Defend New OrleansA little zine news for ya: Catahoula is now in stores! That’s right, you can pick up the winter issue at Defend New Orleans on Magazine St. in the Garden District or at Crescent City Comics on Freret St. The current issue features “Allons,” a story (written by yours truly) about what it was like growing up with a swamp for a backyard. Print copies are $8 (plus tax), but you can also pick up a digital copy for a measly $2 by clicking here.

What is Catahoula? A labor of love, mostly. I’ve been wanting to make a print zine for about three years, and after graduation I felt the need to tackle a new creative project.

Since the first zine only featured my words and art, I want to open the spring issue to writers and artists eager to share their own work. Interested in submitting your work? I’m looking for short stories, personal essays and poems (2,000 word max), photography and original artwork.

The theme is “wander.” From travel to day dreams, I’m leaving this wide open to interpretation. Anyone can submit; you don’t have to live in Louisiana.

Send me your best work to christy@slowsouthernstyle.com with the words “Catahoula Spring Issue” in the subject line.  Please send artwork as a JPEG or TIFF file and everything else as a Word document. Deadline is March 20.

 

Catahoula Zine

 

Catahoula Zine

Catahoula Zine

I’m excited to announce a project I’ve been working on called Catahoula; the first issue of this quarterly zine features words and photography by yours truly. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a zine for several years, so I am ecstatic this project has finally come to fruition.

The first issue features “Allons,” a story I wrote this past summer about what it was like to grow up with a swamp for a backyard. I grew up in a typical Westbank subdivision, but my experience was slightly different than my neighbor’s thanks to the proximity of my parent’s house to the levee. Living next to the swamp was fun, but it wasn’t easy. Snakes, armadillos, wasps, and a slew of other animals constantly invaded our home and yard, and the threat of hurricanes was ever present. Growing up in this environment really shaped the person that I am today: someone who yearns for the outdoors and tries not to place too much value on material things since you never know when a storm might take them away. I haven’t lived on “the other side of the river” for 15 years, but I try to make it to Barataria Preserve, the location the essay centers around, at least twice a year. All but one of the photographs (the squirrel photo was shot at Audubon Park) were taken there.

Order a print or digital copy of Catahoula through MagCloud by clicking here. Print copies are $8.00 and digital is $2.00. I’m also giving away two digital copies of Catahoula to two lucky readers. Leave your email in the comments section for a chance to enter. I will pick two winners at random. Winners will be contacted early next week.

The People I Know: Thomas Fewer

Thomas FewerThomas Fewer

 

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Truth is, I haven’t felt inspired to post much lately. I have a few good excuses for my blasé attitude towards blogging: I lost permanently misplaced my camera in July, which really sucked. I had dreams that it would magically turn up on my doorstep, but when that didn’t happen I just had to make peace with my idiotic mistake. I’m also smack dab in the middle of my last semester (!!!) so all of my efforts are going into school at the moment. Excuses, I know, but I finally broke down and got a new camera and lenses, the whole shebang, which has given me a reason to update.

One thing I enjoy is making portraits. I’m a decent photographer, but I want to be a good photographer, so I got this idea to start a portrait project for a little fun and practice. I hope you look forward to meeting some people I know on the blog in the upcoming weeks. To kick this thing off I’m featuring someone who might look a little familiar to you– my husband, Thomas.

 

HOW WE MET

I met Thomas two months before my 21st birthday. He had just moved down to New Orleans from Ohio with David, a good friend of his. We both worked as waiters at a high end, grand dame restaurant in the French Quarter. In fact, we all worked there: David, Thomas, myself, my brother Chris, and Ruben, my brother’s now partner of 13 years. I had a self-imposed rule that I should never date a coworker, but we started hanging out as friends and the relationship quickly escalated. William, Thomas’s best friend, told him “That’s the girl you’re going to marry,” and he was right. We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 11.

 

WHAT HE DOES

Thomas is a licensed counselor. He runs his own private practice, The New Orleans Counseling Center and is part of Magna Carta, an improv comedy troupe that performs every Saturday night at Playhouse NOLA. So go see him and tell him I sent you. (True story: I also told myself I would never date a psychologist in fear they would constantly analyze me. So the moral of the story is throw all of your dating rules out the window.)

 

WHO HE IS TO ME

I won’t get too gushy on y’all, but I don’t think there is a better partner out there for me. He’s funny, supportive, remembers to feed the cats (that’s a big one) and gives me the space I need when I’m not my best. When you’ve been with someone for 14 years, you’ll have lots of moments when one (or both) of you are not your best. A dose of patience, humor, and gratitude for one another helps you get through the tough times. Oh, and he also lets me have the last bite of ice cream and knows that I like to hike in front of him when we go backpacking. He tells me we should be buried together holding hands, I joke that I only signed up for “till death do us part.” Here’s to the next 14 years.

Flash Nonfiction: Guts And Glory

   Guts and Glory is a flash nonfiction story I wrote just as a writing exercise. It captures the spirit of childhood summers spent next to the swamp. I hope you enjoy it.
Guts And Glory
 
       “They look like sin dipped in misery,” Mom said. We called them katydids, science calls them Romalea guttata. They invaded our yard in biblical proportions; their bodies shined like freshly cooled lava.

         “I think they’re pretty when they flap their little red wings,” I responded.
The black grasshoppers copulated on our front yard at dusk, sometimes sneaking into the garage like lusty teenagers. One sweat soaked evening me and my brother invented our own pest control with Dad’s golf clubs- katydid hockey.
“Take that, sucker!” Chris yelled as a katydid skidded into the storm drain.
“Yeah, Chris, yeah!” I screeched with delight. Thick yellow guts painted the pavement like a Passover door. We stayed out until the mosquitoes launched an aerial attack, their needle noses drilling the napes of our necks. We were unaware that our game was a grasshopper massacre; our consciouses only existed in those fleeting moments of sunlight. We forgot our insect graveyard, oblivious to it until it was safe to resume our game the next evening. 


katydids
Bastards.
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