POSTED Sun. Oct 5, 2014

Creative Culture

New galleries galvanize Decatur St
Sarah Ravits

“Gradoux” is a Cajun French word meaning “substance of mysterious origin.” It’s a fitting name for Jennifer Fairclough’s gallery on Decatur Street, which is situated in an area that is surprisingly quiet, despite its location just steps away from Frenchmen Street, near Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny.

The gallery popped up in January this year without much fanfare, but the minimalist, intimate space, which currently hosts a mixed-media sculpture installation by Thor Carlson, offers a thoughtful respite from the bustling nearby hotspots – and is, hopes Fairclough, on its way to becoming one itself.

Another refreshing component: The art world can be highly competitive, but Fairclough and her neighbors, Scott Edwards of the eponymous photography gallery and studio, and Keristien Rackham, owner of Gallery Twenty-One Fourteen, share a vision of turning their respective establishments into a cultural, synergistic hotbed for aspiring and established artists and patrons.

Curtis Knapp, an award-winning photographer, graphic designer and illustrator whose portfolio includes portraits of Madonna, REM and David Byrne, manages and curates exhibits at Gradoux and spearheads many of its collaborations. His experience is vital to the developing scene.

“We want to bring some life to this area, beyond just the bars on Frenchmen Street. The galleries are bringing art and more culture in this direction,” he says, giving Edwards credit for being the “first person to break the ice around here,” three years ago.

Fairclough quit her job working in a retail store on Magazine Street in order to pursue her longtime dream of opening Gradoux. Rackham’s gallery, which is managed by photographer Bruce Drinnon, opened the most recently of the bunch in July. “I think these galleries are grouping together nicely,” says Knapp. “Right now we have bars and music [in the area] which is good, but to also have art here broadens the audience, and it broadens their selection.”

Each gallery in the neighborhood offers its own slice of life. “We don’t do the same art work, even though we have some of the same media of artists,” says Drinnon. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t promote each other.”

Edwards remains photography-based; his gallery hosts both local and regional fine art photographers. “As of now, I have about 30 different artists that I’ve shown, and that number grows every few months,” he says. He curates five shows a year; on Oct. 11 he will showcase works by Florida-based still-life photographer, Anna Tomczak. “She does these incredible one-of-a-kind Polaroid dye transfer pieces onto watercolor paper,” he says. “It’s really beautiful stuff.” Tomczac will also be in town hosting a workshop on Nov. 7-9.

At Gradoux, Faircloug says, “The majority of our artists are local, or they have strong ties to New Orleans. I would describe the art we have here as elegant but provocative. Sophisticated without being pretentious. Personally I tend to favor three-dimensional things that have beautiful forms but are also functional. However, we have had all mediums: photography, screen prints, ceramics, paintings and cast-iron sculpture, just to name a few.”

Across the street at Gallery Twenty-One Fourteen, one can find works by eight local mixed-media artists, including Ti-Rock Moore, a mixed-media specialist whose work is provoking and haunting, exposing painful racial and political issues. Her work includes a life-sized coffin covered in razor blades. Hanging above the coffin is another piece: a cross made out of a battered American flag.

Scribbled across the flag/cross in Sharpie are racial epithets and words pertaining to the Civil Rights movement and Jim Crow; the piece is topped off with a mounted iPad that repeatedly plays 11 seconds of footage of former President Bush telling former FEMA director, “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie.” Around the corner is a wall of psychedelic black-and-white illustrations by Senan O’Connor.

“There are so many good artists in this city that are undiscovered or are just starting their careers,” explains Drinnon. “And we want to be a springboard for that career, so we’re trying to showcase the different kind of contemporary local art.”

Continues Fairclough: “More galleries is a good thing, because rather than competing with each other, we’re building a destination to buy art.”

While Edwards considers the area to be in some ways an extension of the St. Claude Corridor (he frequently hosts events on the Second Saturdays of each month), the group is also set on making their area a destination in itself. Their most recent high-traffic night was Filthy Linen Night in late August, an event started by Kate Gaar of the Frenchmen Art Market in 2013 – a playful nod toward Julia Street’s “White Linen Night” followed by Royal Street’s “Dirty Linen Night.” (Each event is held on consecutive Saturdays in August.)

On Oct. 2, the owners met to form the Marigny Arts District Association, which they say will help to continue and unify their mission of becoming an arts destination. Other members include the nearby Frenchmen Art Market, Hyph3n and Downtown Art Gallery.

Among other projects, the newly formed group is preparing for Prospect.3, the international contemporary art biennial that starts on Oct. 25.

Gradoux Gallery
2117 Decatur St.

Gallery Twenty-One Fourteen
2114 Decatur St.

Scott Edwards Photography
2109 Decatur St.

Image of Gallery Twenty-One Fourteen courtesy of Facebook. Image of Ti-Rock Moore’s art courtesy of Sarah Ravits. Sarah is a managing editor at Renaissance Publishing.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Dec 14, 2018


Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 10, 2017

Creative Culture

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

On May 12 the New Orleans Museum of Art will fling open its doors for Masquerade: Late Night at NOMA, a costume party replete with float builders, mask-makers,…....

POSTED Dec 23, 2016


Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Happy holidays, y’all. We hope you find plenty to occupy you during this busy Christmas weekend, but if you find yourself having a small, quiet moment, or just…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook