I start my day walking my dog, Joe, through the French Quarter. It reminds me so much of Paris, with the smells of coffee and car exhaust and food cooking! I love the early morning hours, when the stores get their deliveries and every little business is getting ready for a new day. We welcome about 11 million people into our city annually - tourists and tourism is such a huge part of our lives. But in the morning hours, it's just residents, bustling around as the city wakes up. The French Quarter is a wonderful community, and a diverse microcosm of our glorious city - the 'gumbo mix' of all sorts of people sharing space together.
I walk to work, about 9 blocks from where I live - both in the French Quarter. I stop at Matassa's, our local grocer, and get coffee or an energy drink and see what their daily special is if I'm getting lunch for the work day. It's always friendly - it's a family owned business and it's just visiting friends as we get our sundries. One of the cashiers brings her baby to work, and he will be in his playpen a few feet away from the checkout counter.
I go to my studio and open up around 10. I'll ready my emails and news headlines and horoscopes. I tidy up the gallery space if it needs it, and sweep the sidewalk. There's an indian ritual I read about years ago, about sweeping your sidewalk daily to sweep out bad energy and welcome in good energy so the sweeping is important to me.
I don't go to lunch, since it's just me in the shop. I might order food if I didn't bring it, and sometimes my shop neighbors and I will order food together and share it - maybe pizza or lebanese food from the local mom and pop cookeries.
I usually paint in the afternoon into the evening, so dinner is not really a ritual. (I only eat one 'meal' a day and then just snack on cheese and wine, typically). People stop by my shop to visit all day long; Peter, the 80 year old street musician, stops by daily with his dog, Bentley. Andrew is a local photographer that lives around the corner, and he stops by to visit in the afternoon. My little dog, Georgie, loves him, so he'll sit in one of my yellow club chairs and let her snuggle. It's very social - there’s usually someone sitting in a club chair, or if it's slow, we will drag chairs out on the sidewalk in front of my studio and listen to music and drink wine and socialize with neighbors.
My dog Joe loves his long evening walks. We will walk down to the banks of the Mississippi River and watch the boats and barges go by, or stop by Harry's Corner and get a beer and he gets dog treats and a big drink of water. My dogs are all well mannered and go to the bar with me or a group. There is a bar called Cosimo’s (owned by Matassas, the grocer I mentioned) and in the back room they have old couches and pool tables, so if I am meeting people to shoot pool, Joe will lay on the couch - and get petted by everyone!
Weekends are about work - NOLA businesses are tourist driven, and most everyone I know works on the weekend because that's a big time for business. But work never feels like work - I put on my work apron and paint, and in between painting I talk to customers about art, or sell art, and there is always a friend or neighbor hanging out visiting. On Sundays I stop by the church and light 2 candles (one for me and one for my daughter) before I open my studio.
High Brow Ritual
I try to go to Paris every other year. It's one of my favorite cities on the planet, and it nourishes my soul in ways I can't explain. I've been renting the same studio apartment for years, when I go, from a lovely couple I met in the late 90's.
Low Brow Ritual
I love to go to thrift stores and garage sales. It's not a ritual, but I look for fun objects for my etsy store and cool old clothes.