Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This And That: Zulu Queen Desiree Rogers, Peace, Oprah Folding, French Cafes

My desk top is cluttered with images that I collect as they interest me. I'm a visual person, so I guess I'm kind of a glorified caption writer of sorts. I like to find pictures, and then find a story around them. I've been lost in the black hole that is Google Images for more hours than I want to own up to.
Pre Katrina New Orleans is really coming along. The service that delivered the New York Times is finally back, so after a small lapse of three and half years, I am getting my paper delivered again. There is nothing more satisfying than reading The Times in hand, and tearing out articles that pique my interest.
Friends and the hubs also send me things, and this morning the darling man sent me a very nice story from our local rag, The Times Picayune.
President -Elect Barack Obama has named a New Orleans woman his Social Secretary! Desiree Rogers, a former New Orleans Zulu queen and daughter of the late city councilman Roy Glapion Jr., was named incoming White House Social Secretary on Monday.
Desiree Rogers
photo from The Black Socialite
which fails to mention that Desiree is from New Orleans
from an old family with an esteemed Creole name of Glapion
dating back to the origins of New Orleans.
Marie Laveau the famous Voodoo queen
is part of the Glapion family too.

The White House Social Secretary is responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of official social events at the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States.
Queen Zulu Desiree

The Social Secretary is head of the White House Social Office, located in the East Wing of the White House Complex. The Social Secretary plans events ranging from those as simple as a tea for the First Lady and a single official guest, to dinners for more than 200 guests.
Letitia Baldridge Social Secretary to the Kennedys

The Social Secretary works with the White House Chief Usher to coordinate domestic staff and with the Chief of Protocol of the United States, an official within the United States Department of State, to plan state visits and accompanying state dinners. The Social Secretary works with the White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office in the production of invitations to social events. The Social Secretary works on both the non-political functions of the presidency and the political, coordinating events for the President, the First Lady, and senior political staff. The White House Social Secretary serves at the president's pleasure and is appointed by each administration. (from Wikipedia)
The president's pleasure! How perfect that Ms. Rogers was the queen of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club!
When we first arrived in New Orleans there were so many things to learn.
I saw signs on buildings around town using the words" social aid and pleasure club" and asked my trusty guides Sabina and Aaron and Eddie what it all meant HERE.
The first time I saw Zulu parade on Mardi Gras, I was astonished by their appearance. What is up with black face and coconuts?
I learned that anyone of any race can put on black face and toss coconuts and ride in Zulu (for the price of the ride and buying all the trinkets and beads to throw).
There are alternate parallel universes here in New Orleans, that on a bad day smack of vestiges of vintage Jim Crow, but on a good day are the choice of how the people choose to party.
We are so proud of Desiree Rogers, and for her family! Maybe it won't be just another Tuesday in the White House, when Mardi Gras rolls around!

Another thing that's on the desk top, are some pictures having to do with the 50th anniversary of the peace sign.

The symbol was created by the designer Gerald Holtom. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Holtom was a conscientious objector in World War II. On 21 February 1958 he designed the Nuclear Disarmament logo for the first Aldermaston March, organised by the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, Easter 1958.
The logo was not copyrighted, and was available for use by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, also founded in 1958; it later became known in the wider world as a general-purpose peace symbol. The design was a combination of the letters "N" (two arms outstretched pointing down at 45 degrees) and "D" (one arm upraised above the head) of the flag semaphore alphabet, standing for nuclear disarmament.
I was about the age of the baby being carried in this photo, when the peace sign was invented. As a young high school and art school student, it became a part of my visual vernacular.
This book (from whence I got these photos) would be a wonderful Christmas gift HERE

Barney's in New York had Simon Doonan do up their Christmas windows again this year, and he has chosen the peace sign annivesary as his muse.

Barney's also has a treasure trove of merchandise like this pillow, and a Fornasetti plate commissioned especially for the occasion.

The next thing on the desk top, is the news that the magazine "O At Home" is folding. The New York Times reports: In a statement on Friday, the company said, “We have decided to consolidate the editorial content of quarterly spinoff O at Home back into the flagship magazine.” Much of the magazine’s staff will move to another Hearst publication, Country Living, including the editor in chief, Sarah Gray Miller, who will take the same post at Country Living.
And speaking of folding, apparently the French cafe as an institution in France is in deep trouble.
Universally know and beloved as an icon of France so popular that it is imitated all over the world, they are closing down in droves as the habits and customs and economy of France changes. You can read about it HERE
Pretty soon we will only have replicas, and photos in books to remind us of this once great and seemingly enduring way of life.
These images are by Carla Coulson of Carla Loves Photography
Carla is a very talented and gifted photographer, and she has a new book out now that shows her beautiful and special back story of Paris. It's only out on amazon UK and Canada, and hopefully soon amazon USA will offer it too.
Below is a random photo from my clipping file of a French cafe. It's a classic for sure, a neighborhood kind of place where you could have a coffee or an aperitif, and a cigarette.
Cafes in Paris (and Buenos Aires) are always such a go-to solution for inexpensive and tasty food at any time of the day or night. Havens for readers and journal scribblers, as well as meeting places and extended living rooms for cramped city dwellers, they have been a boon and mainstay for over 100 years. It's sad to think of them going by the wayside in France of all places.
Okay, the desk top has been cleared off for now! Enjoy your day...
...and to paraphrase the great Don Cornelius with something I say to end our tango classes: Peace, Love, and Tango!!!!


Renée Finberg said...

you are too cool.

what a fantastic post !!!!!
and true. true. true.


Fifi Flowers said...

Aah... I would love to sit all day in a French cafe and paint and drink cafe creme! Dreaming!
ENJOY your week!

Ocean Hammock Residents said...

Oh, VV! What a great post. I've learned so much and it's only 7:15 AM. Never knew about the peace symbol - but now I know I've got a few years on you!

In my recent trek thru the Riviera, Italy and Malta, I loved how ANY outdoor spot was never too small for a sidewalk cafe, even just a table or two. And I especially enjoyed seeing the platforms of tables erected in the streets along the curbs. I sure hope it doesn't go away!

Joanna Goddard said...

such cute photos! your blog is lovely :)

Ewa said...

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see you :))