Downtown Living: October 2013
Places: LeMieux Galleries
For 30 years, LeMieux Galleries has more than fulfilled its mission to “unite seasoned collectors and new art enthusiasts with artists of the Gulf South” with owner Denise Berthiaume at the helm. Located on Julia Street in the Warehouse District, LeMieux Galleries has outlasted several “boom and bust” cycles in the art industry since it first opened in Algiers Point in 1983, exhibiting the work of Gulf South artists like photographer Brice Bischoff, painter Charles Barbier, photorealist Shirley Rabe Masinter and, more recently, sculptor Shannon Landis Hansen.
LeMieux Galleries will offer a new exhibition this month, the opening of which will be concurrent with the Contemporary Arts Center’s annual “Art for Art’s Sake” on October 5. During this annual event, galleries all over the city herald the opening of the art season and throw open their doors for an evening of art appreciation and revelry. LeMieux Galleries will be hosting an exhibit titled “The Immortal Charles Peale” by painter Kate Samworth from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Samworth inherited an interest in the environment from her father, who worked as a civil engineer. She studied at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and later earned her BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Samworth’s “narrative paintings respond to our impact upon the natural world” and feature landscapes drawn from both her imagination and memory. LeMieuxGalleries.com
Spaces: St. Joe Lofts
Only a block from the Contemporary Arts Center and the National World War II Museum, St. Joe Lofts is an artist community in the heart of the Central Arts District. The complex was created by Eric Beelman, whose original vision for the property — an entrepreneurial hub — went awry … in a good way. When he faced obstacles and setbacks, Beelman took a closer look at the buildings in the vicinity and realized that supporting local artists by offering them a Downtown haven was the more apropos route.
Now we can thank Beelman for creating sophisticated, elegant and modern living spaces offered at a deep discount to artists living in New Orleans. Not only is the complex a refuge for musicians, painters, chefs and writers, it provides the artists a place to network and a venue to exhibit their achievements. StJoeLofts.com
Eat & Drink: Root
Open for two years this coming November, Root is a restaurant seemingly created expressly for the Arts/Warehouse District. Chef Phillip Lopez is a culinary artist in his own right; he offers some of the most progressive and innovative cuisine to hit the Crescent City in centuries. Growing up, Lopez was an “Army brat” who experienced cultures and cuisines all over the world. He scored his first job working the kitchens of celebrity chef John Besh in restaurants such as Besh’s flagship Restaurant August. Lopez took the leap in 2011 to open his own restaurant, and Root has already received both local and national acclaim: it was voted “Best New Restaurant” by New Orleans Magazine, earned a four-bean review from the Times-Picayune, and was named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants” in 2012 by Bon Appétit.
Located on the corner of Julia and Fulton Streets, Root offers dishes both uniquely colorful and flavorful, with complex and interesting combinations like Cohiba Smoked Scallops with “chorizo dust” and black garlic fennel choucroute, Carrot Eggplant Curry with pickled mustard seeds and crispy tofu and for dessert, Blueberry Orange Blossom Clafoutis with Sour Cream Cardamom Ice Cream and Violet Blueberry Foam. The restaurant also features an excellent cocktail program, not to mention a variety of house-made charcuterie and sausages, perfect for late-night snacks. RootNola.com
Downtown Proud: Did You Know?
Sidewalk cafés bring activity to the street and are a welcome addition to the Downtown environment, promoting a pedestrian-friendly environment. Did you know that you must obtain a franchise agreement with the city to lawfully operate a sidewalk café in the public right-of-way? (MCS 146: 531 to 545). The requirements to operate a sidewalk café include minimum standards for pedestrian access. Standards like these are necessary to support a safe, walkable Downtown. Permits may be obtained from the Department of Public Works. nola.gov/dpw/permits