Spring is here!
In New Orleans there’s nothing subtle about the transformation of seasons. There’s no delicate green bud rising from the frosty ground. Suddenly there’s lots of sunshine, birds singing, greenery, and lawnmowers. It’s pretty impossible to remain indoors during this time of year. In our neighborhood of avid gardners, everyone is crouching over their gardens working on what will quickly become a lush display.
There are some fun day trips to take. Besides a brewery and 5 star restaurants, Abita Springs is now home to the quirky UCM Museum. Founded and run by artist John Preble and his family it is truly an unusual travel destination. Be sure and take the kids and anyone else who has a love of the surreal and off-kilter. The museum is an assemblage of many interesting and unique things. In particular a series of large kinetic dioramas created by Preble, with such themes as Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, and a tornado hitting trailer park. These unusual creations have been featured in the Folk Art area at the Jazz Fest.
The infamous Wall of Shards will also delight you. The UCM (which could stand for Unusual Collections and MiniTowns, You See ‘Em, or whatever else you come up with) also has a great gift shop filled with items you won’t find anywhere else. It’s the place to go for unique and unusual presents.
UCM is not all fantasy and frivolity. It has a serious side as well, as it also houses the Northshore Art Academy, which offers a curriculum in art led by many prominent artists.
UCM is open 10-5 everyday except during what they consider a major holiday. For further information call (985) 892-2624. They also have a website which is full of information. http://ucmmuseum.com/ Preble considers the site a work in progress too, and so far it must contain at least 100 pages. Admission is still just 3 dollars.
Fast becoming an off-the-beaten track tourist destination, the 2001 Convention of Alternative Cartoonists gathered at the UCM for their annual meeting. What better recommendation than that?
Another highly recommended museum visit to make is right in our own neighborhood, The New Orleans Museum of Art. Many shows are held there well worth spending some time looking at and thinking about.
For a destination that combines being outdoors with ecological soundness, there’s the wonderful Crescent City Market, sometimes referred to as the Green Market. They are in operation Saturday mornings 8-12 on the corner of Magazine and Girod streets, and Tuesday mornings at Uptown Square. The Saturday market is a great place to take the kids. It is also a block or two from the Children’s Museum and the New Orleans School of Glass, where the public can visit the production studio to watch the fascinating process of manipulating molten glass in immense furnaces to create glassware.
Ecologically speaking, it makes sense to shop from local farmers. Everyone benefits, including Mother Earth. The farmer is supported, and we the consumers get food that is extremely fresh, locally produced (as opposed to trucked or flown in), and in many cases organically grown as well. It’s the best kind of situation — everyone wins!