Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Oh, angsty Augusts in New Orleans
1 : A violent storm.
2 : Tumult, uproar.
Verb. Tempested; tempesting; tempests.
-Repurposed antique glass doll eyes
-Contemporary glass beads
-Antique glass beads and stones
-Glass microbeads from the 1800s (Italian)
-Swarovski flatback stones
-Rhinestone cup chain (the Czech Republic)
-Vintage mother of pearl
-Vintage brass stampings
As Louis Armstrong so aptly stated, " What we play, is life."
Lord, what statement better captures the world famous "Laissez" attitude of New Orleanians that is backboned by the more unseen forces of storm season that make Big Easy livin, oh so damn hard.
This piece is a literal living prayer for those that were in the path of 2021 Hurricane Ida's furious winds and waters on August, 29, which was also another anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Betsy began embedding the beadwork to the form created by her partner, Scott Long shortly before our gallery manager lost power. The last text that Anastasia received before the darkness descended was an image of this pelican in early process sent by Betsy Youngquist.
Tempest stands as a reminder that the human spirit can triumph over nature's devastating acts.
When the terrifying ride of 150+ mph titan winds finally ceases and gives way to the silence, the feeling of guttural grief, stagnant numb dread, and fragile drifting chaos after a storm like this passes through you is hard to put words to. New Orleans has an ubiquitous and eternal presence in every genre of art and in every person who has ever visited her. She is redemption incarnate. She is our city, and we are forever hers. With great fortune, our Myth Gallery was carried safely by angels through Hurricane Ida, completely and divinely unscathed.
Our gallery manager's home in the French Quarter was ultimately destroyed, an unexpected rarity for this high ground, deemed uninhabitable by FEMA. She is now a happy resident of the historic Treme neighborhood but her recovery process and reclamation of normality has been an arduous year long process.
The spirit of the pelican is commonly associated with the virtues of humility, sacrifice, generosity, and unity. They are loyal and dependable. They may hunt, but never in a brutal way. They take only that they need. The state of Louisiana honors her French heritage in the Fleur de Lis, a common state symbol resembling the outstretched wings of the pelican. The brown pelican is the Louisiana state bird. The pelican has also been a symbol of piety and charity within the Catholic Church since medieval times.
Tempest is a pelican born of a storm in honor of those affected by hurricane Ida. She is a symbol of rebirth, resurrection, and perseverance. New Orleanians have an incredible ability to rebuild and find grace in the hardest of circumstances.
We have hope and community on our side as we enter this soggy anxiety inducing period here in the tropical paradise we call New Orleans. We know that we have come back to life many a time before to celebrate and share with our whole souls again, these surreal stories of life on Earth; it's what we always do. We must quote someone who has always said it best,
"You wanna do some livin' before you die.
Do it down in New Orleans."
Photography by Larry Sanders.
We won't bow down and we are as ever, NOLA ready.
However, we hope our next hurricane is in a tall glass.
A Prayer for Our Swampy Souls:
May the waters from the snowy mountains bring health and peace to all people.
May the spring waters bring calm to you and may the rains be a source of tranquility to all.
-ATHARVA VEDA, CIRCA 200 B.C.
View more of Tempest, Betsy & Scott's largest pelican creation to date, here.