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Octopus, Guns & Emeril’s, with a Touch of Lafayette


A group of friends sat around at Frogman’s Print and Paper Workshop one night and brainstormed a list of all the cliche student work subject matter we could think of. After about an hour, it did start to get personal! We decided to do a print exchange where everyone takes 2 items from the list and creates a print about it. Blake and I teamed up for this one, and we got “octopus” and “guns.”






At the end of last month, Blake and I both heard a story on NPR about the Exxon Valdez‘s final resting place. Sure, we would all think that after dumping oil all over the damn place in 1989, they would just retire that ship. But, no, instead they re-purposed it as a cargo ship that has lived under many names. At the end of last month, they finally decided to retire it. The Valdez‘s final name was Oriental Nicety, and it was going to be sold off for scrap metal.

Since Blake and I have started work on this print, however, India has since refused the ship access to the scrap yards. Their Supreme Court has ruled that the Nicety “cannot enter a scrap yard in the western state of Gujarat until its owners can prove the tanker has been cleaned of mercury, arsenic, asbestos, residual oil and other potential contaminants.” So, as of now, it is just $16 million dollars worth of junk waiting for its fate to be decided in court.

In the meantime, Blake and I decided it would be the perfect theme for our Octopus and Guns print to give the Oriental Nicety nee the Exxon Valdez a proper send-off with a 21 gun salute from Octopi with gas pumps. We also included some crabs to scavenge scraps from the ship.




We spent this past weekend in New Orleans. We arrived in town and stayed with our friends Barbie, London and Dave. We had some impromptu tacos and quesadillas with Barbie, London, John, Jess and several neighbors who were passing by. The next morning we set off for the studio early and spent about 8 hours there working on our print, start to finish.

We took a long lunch break during the afternoon with our friend Sandy to get some lunch at a new-ish nearby resturant called Refuel, in the riverbend. It was delicious! Sandy had grits and black beans, which turned out to be a stellar combination.

Blake had Migas: Eggs Scrambled with Crunchy Tortilla Strips, Pico de Gallo and Melted Mixed Cheese Served with House-Made Smokey Chipotle or Ranchero Sauce, House-Made Black Beans and a Tortilla.


I had the Pulled Chicken Salad: House-Roasted Chicken, Feta Cheese, Hashed Green Apple, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato on a Bed of Organic Mixed Greens.


After finishing our prints, we went with Barbie and London that night to the famed Emril’s. Barbie’s husband, David Slater, is the executive chef there, below only Emeril himself.


IMG_3004 copy

We had an excellent time. We tried some new wines and ate way too much food including fried calamari, a prosciutto tasting plate, mussels with rice grits, barbeque shrimp with mini drop biscuits, lobster (my first time trying it!), and what seemed like the entire dessert menu! We had to put a stop on all the food that was coming up because we were all too stuffed! Otherwise we would have also been knee deep in hanger steak and quail and who knows what else. Dave was really sweet to show us the food, and we really had a great time there with Barbie and London.


The next day, Blake and I took their great dane, Gris, for a walk. Then London made breakfast since it was mother’s day: “Love” toast and eggs. We got on the road again shortly and headed not back to Baton Rouge, as you might expect, but straight to Lafayette. Okay, perhaps not STRAIGHT TO LAFAYETTE. We had some FroStop, in honor of their repairing the rotating light-up root beer float sign to its full neon glory.




Then, we were on our way to visit our friends Carol and Howard at their wonderful home in the Lafayette countryside, a patchwork of sugar cane, swamps, and Carol’s florid gardens.


We wandered about the yard and then had a lovely dinner with Howard’s mother, brother and niece consisting of breaded baked shrimp, rice, buttery green beans and some kale/bok choy with onions and garlic. Howard’s mother contributed a delicious angel food cake with raspberries on top, and Howard had cut up some fresh watermelon, also.


In addition to our eats, we tried a fascinating bit of fluid known as Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale made in Portland, Oregon. What a strange concoction! It tasted of woody smokes with a touch of Maple, and the last listed ingredient is “free range coastal water,” whatever that means. At first sip, we all went “agh!” But it grew on us and actually turned out to be quite quaff-able.

1964 Lotus Elan

After stopping by Howard’s backyard garage to say “hello” to the gorgeous green 1964 Lotus Elan he was restoring for a friend, and saying adieu to Carol’s sweet herd of swamp cats, we set off on the windy back roads in search of the Interstate home. Just remember it’s all alternating Lefts then Rights. Or was it Rights then Lefts? In any case, we made it home somehow after another completely packed weekend covering the bases on everything we’re going to miss about South Louisiana.


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