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new orleans

updated tue 27 mar 07


Francoise Melville on mon 18 mar 96

Hello all,
Yesterday afternoon we arrived home after our 11 days in New
Orleans. We flew there from Vancouver via Dallas and had wonderful weather
all the way. Alas, after three days, some horrible Arctic front from
Canada caught up with us, and we experienced the coldest weather in New
Orleans for 34 years - well below freezing. Nevertheless, dressed in
flimsy summer clothes, plus a long-sleeved local sweatshirt purchased for
the occasion, we braved the cold outside and spent the next ten days
walking, eating, walking, drinking and more walking round and round the
so-called French Quarter and beyond. The French Quarter is indeed very
picturesque, but a misnomer. It was entirely burnt down and rebuilt by the
Spanish who occupied New Orleans from 1762 to 1803. Both the Spanish and
French street names have been retained, but the only French I heard spoken
was that of a young woman who sold me a T-shirt in the French Market. She,
like me, was born in Paris, and told me that Louisiana French has all but
died out, being spoken, but not written, by only very few elderly people who
do not live in the quarter. A lot of Spanish is spoken by the immigrant
population who must feel quite at home in their surroundings. We visited
many restaurants, some very good like the Cafe Royal on Royal Street and the
House of Blues, some rather poor - Irene's Cuisine comes to mind because
apart from unexceptional food, there was a most condescending young waitress
(sorry, I don't recall the new name for these persons - is it food
attendant?) who said things like 'It is our policy to issue only one bill
per table' (we were two couples sharing the same table). A good and
reasonably cheap restaurant was La Peniche off Esplanade Avenue. It was
the only place able to serve us with a carafe of house wine as opposed to a
bottle or a very expensive glassful.
We made a big mistake over accommodation so be warned. Never book
into an unseen guesthouse or bed and breakfast establishment for more than
two nights. We did, it was well-situated and the room was spacious but
run-down. The second-hand, but by no means antique furniture was falling
apart except for a very magnificent more than king-sized bed. The
kitchenette, complete with non-functional dishwasher, contained not one
single dish, pot, pan or cutlery, and we did not get any for two days. The
'continental breakfast' consisted of lukewarm coffee, orange juice and a
greasy croissant every day - no butter or jam. This particular
establishment, found through the Internet, was called the Quarter Esplanade
Guesthouse and was by no means cheap. In fact the room cost exactly the
same as one at the Hotel Richelieu which one of you kind clayarters
recommended, and which was a far superior lodging place for the same money
($95). Well, we were stuck there for the duration being told that we would
have to pay for the room unless they could immediately rent it out to
someone else, a rather unlikely proposition. This was a real shame because
it prevented us from visiting Baton Rouge, Lafayette or anywhere else in
Now for the pots! Claypeople do not seem to frequent the French
Quarter, but I did manage to find one very pleasant young black potter
selling his wares in the market place. He told me that he had only been
potting for about four months; this was evident from the heaviness and
thickness of his cone 10 stoneware pieces, but the glazes and designs were
really very promising. He told me he used a Lockerbie kickwheel and was
experimenting with terra sig. Later, I walked into a store called 'Crafty
Louisianans' and saw a few very attractive slab-built teapots on display,
and asked where I could find the potter who made them. Her name was Gail
Paradise and it so happened that she had just come into the store, so I
talked to her. She told me that the teapots were just her 'bread and
butter' and that she had some sculptures in a gallery a few blocks down
Royal Street, so I walked there while the other three went for coffee. I
liked Gail's almost life-sized female forms, especially one of a pregnant
woman called 'Yesterday's Dream, Tomorrow's Reality' done in textured clay
with a manganese/copper matte glaze. The next day (still below freezing)
we all took a streetcar down Magazine Street to another gallery with Gail's
work and that of one other potter. Most galleries seem to specialize in
paintings and prints, and along with the wonderfully spontaneous jazz bands,
street artists abound, painting both portraits of tourists and buildings and
adding colour to the general scene. We ventured further along Magazine
Street and actually found two working potteries. The first was run by
Casey Willem assisted by Allison Johnson. Allison was really sweet - she
does functional stoneware and also gives classes on the premises, which are
clean, large, light and airy. There were four wheels, two Brents and two
Pacificas. I aked her which she preferred, and although she liked the
Brents, she thought the Pacificas even better. She liked both the foot
pedal and the easily removeable splashpan on the Pacifica. I , too, use a
Pacifica and agree with her. Allison has the most amazing hands, she is
completely double-jointed and finds that very useful for potting. Best of
all, she likes teaching and I saw that she had a large mirror placed behind
each of the four wheels. She told us to go and see the next pottery along
the street, totally different in style, and we did. Again the premises
were spacious with an ample showroom in front. Charles Bohn (MFA) of the
Shadyside Pottery only does raku. He claims to be a good businessman and
makes a living from it. He kindly showed me his two fibre-lined top-hat
type kilns, and assured me that he only had a one percent loss of his
pieces! All his fairly large bowls seemed very perfect, most had a fairly
shiny surface with a lot of copper. In one corner of the showroom was a
lot of functional pieces by another local potter whom I did not meet. There
were sieves, orange-squeezers, creamers and bowls all glazed with what
appeared to be Reynold's Gold Metallic or a very similar recipe. This
made me wonder because I use that glaze quite a lot on non-functional
pieces, small sculptures and ashtrays. The recipe for a ^6 glaze is as
follows and I got it from the Clayart Archives:

Reynold's Gold Metallic (modified slightly to my taste)
Alberta Slip 49
Ball Clay 4
Manganese Dioxide 36
Copper Carbonate 8
Cobalt Carbonate 3

My question is: Can this type of glaze be used for food and drink
containers? I never have because I thought the manganese and copper
content to be way too high to be safe, but after seeing those
orange-squeezers and creamers, which were very well-made and were apparently
good sellers, I wonder.....any comments will be much appreciated.
Well, so much for the trip to New Orleans. Two days before we left
the weather changed again - bright sun and temperatures in the 70s. We
went aboard the 'Flamingo Casino' boat which actually left the dock for a
little cruise along the meandering Misissippi while I won, YES, WON , $200
on a quarter machine! The perfect end to an interesting vacation.

Francoise, hoping not to have bored y'all, but many of you did ask me to
tell you about our trip.
Indalo Pottery
Port Edward, B.C.

Penny Swanson on tue 19 jan 99


I am going to New Orleans next week. Any potteries, galleries, etc. that
are a must see for a potter?



Penny Swanson
Burnaby, B.C. Canada

bea pix on sun 16 jun 02

any clay spots in and around new orleans (if i can get there by bus
or train--no car!) that i shouldnt miss? i will be there last week in

zoe altmann on sun 16 jun 02

>if you happen to stop by the french market by the french quarter there's a
>small pottery shop there. it's at the beginning of the market (the small
>indoor shops). the owner's really nice and will probably lead you in the
>right direction from there. sorry, i forgot the name. hope you have some
>light clothing! drink a hurricane for me!

From: bea pix
>Reply-To: Ceramic Arts Discussion List
>Subject: new orleans
>Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2002 08:42:39 -0500
>any clay spots in and around new orleans (if i can get there by bus
>or train--no car!) that i shouldnt miss? i will be there last week in
>Send postings to
>You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
>settings from
>Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at

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Julie Milazzo on sun 16 jun 02

I like the advise that Zoe gave, but please have the
Hurricane after you've checked out all the pottery, or
you'll never remember it. Also, avoid going into
tourist trappy shops after you've been drinking. Those
Mardi Gras masks sure look mighty appealing after a
stint at Pat O'brien's. My mom and I headed down for a
vacation there one year, and, as lightweights, each
decided to try a Hurricane. Looks and tastes like
Kool-aid, how bad can it be, right? Next morning, we
packed up to go to the airport (oh yeah, don't drink
one the day before flying, either...), and our room
was covered in masks. We must've bought twenty apiece,
and had no recollection. Maybe it was the glitter...
have a great trip, enjoy the Hurricane and the
beignets, and hope you see some great pots! Jules

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Jose A. Velez on sun 16 jun 02

>any clay spots in and around new orleans (if i can get there by bus
>or train--no car!) that i shouldnt miss?=20

NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) has a very good collection of ceramics =
and glass. It is worth a visit. In addition there are several good =
galleries in Magazine St that normally have works from local potters.

Regards, Jose A. Velez

Merrie Boerner on sun 16 jun 02

Talented potters are mass producing on Magazine Street !
Two of my favorites are ;
Pots A Lot ......Alex and Cindy Williams....3823 Magazine and
Hands In Clay.....Allison....4100 Magazine
I'd say, start "Uptown" (that would be up St. Charles and away from
downtown) and visit Handsinclay and PotsaLot.....those two studio/galleries
will keep you busy.....and the people are so nice and
can pick their brains for hours.....get recommendations on where to eat, and
what to do....maybe even see some pots fired in the Hog Chain Groundhog Kiln
: )
There will be some George Ohr pottery (including tiny, handmade stilts,
signed and priced at $50) in the antique galleries on Magazine, and a huge
collection of Newcomb pottery.
So often visitors think the best attractions are in the French Quarter
and on Bourbon street....wrong ! Go at a neighborhood
bar.....try music at the Maple Leaf......If you must do something downtown,
eat lunch at "Mother's" on Poydras, go to the aquarium, or the D Day Museum
, or walk through the above ground cemetery (as seen in "Easy Rider").
Enjoy the trip !
Merrie in Mississippi

tenet on fri 30 jan 04

I will be New Orleans in March and would like to visit several clay related
places. Anyone have some suggestions?

Phil Davenport
Garland TX

mel jacobson on mon 26 mar 07

i am keeping a file on any suggestions people
have for hotels, information, and general ideas for

some of you may want to give educational presentations
in the clayart room.
let me know.

from: mel/

Clayart page link:

Mark Issenberg on mon 26 mar 07

Mel, I have a bag of deer tails in the freezer that need to be cleaned , a
friend gave them to me, any way I would like to do a deer tail brush
workshop in the Clayart room. Also was thinking about bringing six mugs ,wet, and
doing a pulling handle demo

Lookout Mountain

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Megan Mason on mon 26 mar 07

In a message dated 3/26/2007 8:31:02 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

Mel, I have a bag of deer tails in the freezer that need to be cleaned , a
friend gave them to me, any way I would like to do a deer tail brush
workshop in the Clayart room. Also was thinking about bringing six mugs
,wet, and
doing a pulling handle demo

Lookout Mountain


I'll bring all the bamboo you can use ,any size, and can help with the
brushes also.


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