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Music mural displayed for 1st time since Hurricane Katrina

NEW ORLEANS — A mural that covered the wall of a pioneering New Orleans bar is back on display for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. The 29-foot-long (9-meter-long) painting, which caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s, once covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music , an early haven for gay […]

via Music mural displayed for 1st time since Hurricane Katrina — National Post

Music mural displayed for 1st time since Hurricane Katrina
By JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A mural that covered the wall of a pioneering New Orleans bar is back on display for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.
The 29-foot-long (9-meter-long) painting, which caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s, once covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music , an early haven for gay patrons in the city. It’s by Xavier Gonzalez , whose work has been collected by major art museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Curators are celebrating with music Friday evening in the New Orleans Jazz Museum , where the painting is being shown along with the clarinet played by bar owner and bandleader Yvonne “Dixie” Fasnacht, who lived to be 101, and other mementos of the club.
In the painting, Fasnacht is shown as a small blue cherub hovering in front of Frank Sinatra. Gonzalez also depicted the Nat King Cole trio, trumpeter Louis Armstrong and bandleader Xavier Cugat.
Among the largest likenesses is jazz pianist Dorothy Sloop, whose nickname is said to have inspired Ohio’s state rock song — the 1960s hit “Hang on, Sloopy,” said David Kunian, music curator for the Louisiana State Museum and curator of the jazz museum. Painted just as large is movie star Dorothy Lamour, wearing a sarong and standing hipshot near singer Paul Robeson, who is shown in the epauletted uniform he wore for the movie “The Emperor Jones.”
The painting was autographed by some of its subjects, including members of the Andrews Sisters group and singer Johnnie Ray.
Wayne Phillips, another Louisiana State Museum curator, said Fasnacht apparently commissioned the painting soon after she opened the bar on St. Charles Ave. in 1939, since an October 1940 newspaper ad for the bar touted Gonzalez’ “clever mural caricatures.” The bar moved to Bourbon Street a decade later.

New Orleans Mural Restored
A detail of the oil on canvas painting Dixie’s Bar of Music is seen at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, Thursday, May 10, 2018. The 29-foot-long painting that caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s is back in a New Orleans museum. The painting covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music, a haven for gays during a homophobic era. It’s been in storage since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina but is now the focus of a new display at the museum in the Old U.S. Mint. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Police never raided Dixie’s, but when the city’s first gay Carnival ball was raided in 1962, “the story is that Miss Dixie just grabbed handfuls of cash from the cash register and went and bailed everybody out,” Phillips said.
Fasnacht didn’t advertise Dixie’s as a gay bar but it was known to be gay-friendly, her friend Peter Patout told NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune in an interview for her obituary in 2011.
“It was more a social center than it was a pickup bar,” patron and former Times-Picayune critic Frank Gagnard told the newspaper. “It was where gay people went to meet friends.”

New Orleans Mural Restored
A detail of the oil on canvas painting Dixie’s Bar of Music is seen at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, Thursday, May 10, 2018. The 29-foot-long painting that caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s is back in a New Orleans museum. The painting covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music, a haven for gays during a homophobic era. It’s been in storage since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina but is now the focus of a new display at the museum in the Old U.S. Mint. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Fasnacht sold the bar in 1964 and donated the painting to the museum in 1978.
The jazz museum was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and reopened about a year ago. The painting, undamaged by the storm, was quickly moved from a second-floor lobby wall to storage and rolled onto a cylinder.
Once unrolled, it had to re-stretched, retouched to fix cracks and flaking, and varnished — a $10,000 job. A museum patron donated the money.
Although museum records describe the painting as 35 feet (nearly 11 meters) long, it turned out to be 29 feet when measured, Kunian said.
The museum still has a Dixie’s mural mystery, Phillips said. He said two photos, one of them donated by Fasnacht’s family, show a painting behind a bar, but also in Gonzalez’ style. Nobody knows which of the two bars it was in, let alone what happened to it.
“I’ve never seen any mention of another mural, even in coverage of Xavier Gonzalez and his work,” Phillips said.

New Orleans Mural Restored
Visitors pose for photos in front of the oil on canvas painting Dixie’s Bar of Music at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, Thursday, May 10, 2018. The 29-foot-long painting that caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s is back in a New Orleans museum. The painting covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music, a haven for gays during a homophobic era. It’s been in storage since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina but is now the focus of a new display at the museum in the Old U.S. Mint. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Mural Restored
Visitors walk past the oil on canvas painting Dixie’s Bar of Music at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, Thursday, May 10, 2018. The 29-foot-long painting that caricatures more than 60 musical celebrities of the 1940s is back in a New Orleans museum. The painting covered a wall at Dixie’s Bar of Music, a haven for gays during a homophobic era. It’s been in storage since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina but is now the focus of a new display at the museum in the Old U.S. Mint. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Story Details

Date: May 10, 2018 11:32AM (GMT 16:32)
Slug: BC-US–New Orleans Mural Restored,1st Ld-Writethru
Headline: Music mural displayed for 1st time since Hurricane Katrina
Source: AP
Byline: By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
Notes: Eds: Updates throughout with further details, quotes and background. AP Photos LAGH101-104. With AP Photos.
Copyright: AP
Dateline: NEW ORLEANS
Words: 587

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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