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Femme, Femme, Femme: How France Helped New Orleans in the Aftermath of Katrina

femme, femme, femme at new orleans museum of art

OK. I got a French thing going right now. Yep, kinda Jonesing for the French. After spending a whole weekend in New York with a bunch of French people at a French Affairs conference and how impressed I was by the way they pulled it off without a hitch and did it classily too, I’m all up into the French right now.

Yes, I do have a French name and all, and I do live in a Frenchified city so maybe I’m a little biased. One of the things that I am grateful to the French for is what they did for New Orleans after Katrina.

I gathered from my conversations at this thing in New York last week is that the French still feel a lot of affection for New Orleans. It being a former colony and all, they still sorta claim it for their own, les cousins louisianais.

And that’s a good thing because after Hurricane Katrina they sent millions of dollars in aid to the city and to lift our spirits they created an art exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art entitled Femme, Femme, Femme.

Only the French would think of doing something like that, only the French truly embrace the concept that art is as important to life as eating, breathing and working. So they put on this dazzling exhibition of art masterpieces around the theme of women.

From museums all over France they collected this wondrous artwork, 85 pieces in all, and brought it to New Orleans. At no time in history did such an exhibition exist of bringing together all of these extraordinary pieces. Not even in France could one go to a museum and see this collection. It was only for a few months in New Orleans that this exhibition existed.

And let me tell you what a wondrous show it was. It was probably the best art exhibition I have seen anywhere and I’ve been to the Prado in Spain, and the Louvre in France.

There was something about this showing that was so deep, so moving. Rather than just a collection of masterpieces as you’d see in any museum, this exhibition had the purpose of uplifting the spirits of a distraught and devastated people. I could tell that the pieces were selected with care and displayed in such a way as to have a positive impact.

And it did because I remember feeling good as I walked out of the building. I was filled with hope, possibility and a deep gratitude to those who had the idea to provide this beautiful addition to our city. I was deeply affected by it and I think I may have even had tears in my eyes.

For the last few days of the showing the museum was open for twenty-four hours and there was a constant line of people through the doors.

Leave it to the French who realize that, yes, it’s important to lend a hand financially but it’s equally important to contribute in a way that will lift the spirits as well. I made it a point in New York to tell any of the French I was with who had time to listen how much we in New Orleans appreciated what France has done and continues to do to play such an important part in helping to bring New Orleans back and making it better.

Please leave a comment. Tell me what you think


Posted in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Art, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life.

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