Changing of the Guard

What an adventure it has been! But now the time has come for us to start a brand new adventure.

This afternoon we handed off our beloved live-in work of art to a new owner and “curator”—Nancy Gunn.

In an interesting twist of fate, we’re about to become nomadic, wandering North America for the next couple years in an RV. On the other hand, for the last several years Nancy has been wandering the globe as a producer for The Travel Channel and The Amazing Race.

So our roles will reverse. While our wanderlust kicks in, she’s ready to stay in one place for a while.

And we can’t imagine a better place for her to have chosen than the Sweet Olive. Nancy hails from Virginia, but first came to New Orleans for graduate school at Tulane, and is delighted to be returning.

We think Nancy’s warm personality, infinite patience—and baking skills—will ensure that this very special B&B becomes even more so.

The last nine years have been an amazing experience for us. We’ve had the privilege of hosting folks from all over the world, and all walks of life. And we’ve made some lifelong friends along to way.

Thanks to all of you for making this an amazing chapter in our lives.

This is not farewell, just au revoir. We hope that you’ll follow along with us as we write the next chapter on our new blog: FabulousFifthWheel.com

Dale, Dave and new innkeeper Nancy

Dale, Dave and new innkeeper Nancy

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Calliope Carolling

From our front porch you can hear the calliope from one of the paddle wheelers on the river playing carols. Very cool. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays y’all!

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Free Christmas Concerts in Treme

St. Augustine Church

St. Augustine Church

We’ve always been big fans of the Christmas Concert series that takes place at St. Louis cathedral throughout the holiday season. Now the series also has performances at St. Augustine Church—the oldest African American Catholic church in the United States—the first three Saturdays in December. First up is one of our faves, John Boutte on December 1.

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Food Fun in the Marigny

There’s been a fun flurry of activity on the dining scene in our neighborhood, including relatively new vegan options at The Wandering Buddha and O! Vegasm—in a city where that cuisine was once hard to find. Maurepas Foods, Kukhnya at Siberia Bar, Satsuma Café, and several more spots have lots to offer omnivores, all within a few blocks of us. Read all about it HERE.

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Our Neighborhood on the Radar

So this appears to be the year that our groovy little neighborhood has been discovered by the national press. From Travel and Leisure: The newest version of hipster bohemians are found in the Marigny area, a historic neighborhood with colorful architecture and good spots to sample the city’s top-ranking bar scene, such as the Hi-Ho Lounge and Mimi’s in the Marigny. (Both just a couple blocks from us.)

Read the whole thing here.

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Prospect.2 in the Marigny

We’ve been gradually making the rounds soaking up the amazing art that the neighborhood is currently infused with during Prospect.2. Among the installations cross the street from us in The New Orleans Healing Center is one that explores the intersection of Blackhawk Helicopters and Haute Couture. You’ll get it when you see it. Around the corner, one of our neighborhood coffeehouse/galleries has its walls covered with gigantic sheep. I’ve always thought sheep were cool. Here they are paired with Super Heroes. Even cooler. A bit further down the street, the entire University of New Orleans St. Claude Gallery has been taken over for an installation of fencing. In this case white neon fencing inspired by wrought iron. Very Zen. There’s more on the show HERE.

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New in the Marigny

Grand Opening of the New Orleans Healing Center in Faubourg Marigny

Grand Opening of the New Orleans Healing Center in Faubourg Marigny

Brisk. It’s not a term we use to describe our weather much in New Orleans. But this morning was truly brisk, and energizing. Not that our Faubourg Marigny neighborhood much needed a weather change to be energized. We can hardly keep up with all that’s new and notable happening around us. Across the street the New Orleans Healing Center blossoms with a yoga studio, Voudou shop, fitness center, credit union, arts market, and a branch of the beloved local Maple Street Book Shop now open. Fatoush, the new Mediterranean restaurant around the corner offers a terrific menu of light Mediterranean fare…and even better, makes it’s own baklava everyday. We had an amazing vegetarian Korean meal the other night at the Wander Buddha a couple blocks away behind the HiHo Lounge. The young chef uses her mother’s recipes. The huge international art biennial Prospect.2 returns this month with cutting edge installations all over the neighborhood. And not only is our neighborhood now home to New Orleans’ emerging arts district, but its emerging performance district as well. Suddenly our historic hipster neighborhood isn’t a secret anymore. When Tripadvisor ranked New Orleans #7 among top US destinations, they actually mentioned Faubourg Marigny before the French Quarter. It’s a groovy time to be in the Marigny. sweetolive.com.

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Public Art in New Orleans

There seems to have been an explosion of public art in New Orleans after Katrina, including one installation we find particularly interesting, but easy to overlook. beadpole From our neighborhood near the river all the way to Lake Pontchartrain, a series of poles have been installed in the median of Elysian Fields Boulevard. On each pole is a blue glass “bead” that is positioned to illustrate the water level during the flooding after the levees failed. The bead on the pole nearest us rests on the ground, because our neighborhood escaped the flooding. The one shown here is about halfway to the lake—this bead was about three feet above the ground. The bead on the pole a few blocks further was over six feet.

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Something Amazing is Happening Just Across the Street

I’m working on a story for an upcoming edition of Country Roads Magazine (my day job) about the amazing place that’s opening up just across the street from us. Here’s an excerpt:

He’s head of a development company that specializes in reviving historic neighborhoods all across the U.S.

She’s a Vodou priestess with a temple in New Orleans’ bohemian Bywater neighborhood, who specializes in matters of the spirit.

They also happen to be a couple, and they’ve combined their disparate areas of expertise into a boundary-breaking effort to heal New Orleans.

“We were faced with sitting there crying about it,” recalls Sally Ann Glassman about those dark days after the levees failed on New Orleans, “or reaching into ourselves for an answer.”

For Glassman and her partner Press Kabacoff, that answer was to buy an old furniture store abandoned after Katrina, strip away the 1960s era façade to reveal its historic bones, and then adaptively reuse the 55,000 square feet inside to create The New Orleans Healing Center.healingcenter

Just inside the front doors of the once abandoned building there is now an open airy space where individual local artists and collectives will showcase their work. Off to the right is Glassman’s vodou shop, Island of Salvation Botanica. To the rear of the building are a grocery coop and a performance space operated by a local poet. Upstairs are yoga and dance studios as well as spaces for practitioners of various healing arts, a women’s collective, and a room deliberately left sparely furnished where anyone can come for quiet time to renew their spirit.

An organic restaurant, herbal teahouse, coffee and juice bar will occupy the adjoining building.

And still there’s room left over in the cavernous building for a credit union, fitness center, business incubator, travel agency, bookstore, florist and street university offering classes in everything from “French Immersion” to “Investigating the Paranormal.”

Oh, and did I mention that on the roof is the “Earthlab”—billed as “both a permaculture garden and land-based laboratory exploring, experimenting, and testing technologies that support pollution remediation, soul, health, food systems, integrated water recourse management and ecosystem regeneration.”

Much more to come on this story, we’ll keep you updated.

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We’ve Been Discovered!

New Orleans ranked seventh in Trip Advisor’s recent list of the top 25 US destinations. Here’s part of what they had to say about us: “The city’s walkable historic core, including Faubourg Marigny, the French Quarter, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Garden District, Audubon Park and Zoo and St. Charles Avenue, are flourishing anew and eager to welcome visitors once again. Whether for the jazz, the nightlife, the hopping gay scene, the food, the culture, or for that distinctive joie de vivre, it’s time to head back to the Crescent City.”
So you know what we find really cool about this? Faubourg Marigny is mentioned before the French Quarter. We’ve been discovered! It wasn’t long ago that only a handful of savvy travelers knew about our nifty little neighborhood.

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