Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm going back someday, come what may...

Well look what happened there. I promised you a week of New Orleans-themed posts, and then I disappeared. Sorry about that. Chalk it up to a recent unpleasant ongoing ability to keep my head above water. (No pun intended.) Now, shall we get back to NOLA scents as promised?

Yes. I think so.

So let's talk a little more about Lagniappe Oak Perfumery. Though Jazzelle is my favorite, it only barely beats out a few other scents in the line that I feel deserve a little Gulf Coast love.

One is from the Renaissance Florals set. Sweet Olive is described as "Southern magestic [sic] charm" is described as follows: "This ancient floral is a mystical mélange of Gardenia, Honeysuckle and Magnolia with a dash of Apricot."

First of all, I love the use of the word mélange. I don't know why. It just rolls off the tongue nicely. Say it: Mélange. FN1.

Sweet Olive is a sweet floral, but not overly fruity. I do get a little apricot, but on me the note isn't overly strong. I've tried it several times, now,, and this scent seems particularly weather sensitive. There are days where Sweet Olive lies on my skin like a kind of edible flowers and fruit flesh flavored candy (usually on cooler days), but on hot days like today it has a supple green quality, like fat glossy leaves and velvety flower petals reminiscent of the touch and feel of both gardenias and magnolias. The honeysuckle takes a backseat to those two big white flower notes, which sort of duke it out for prominence when the thermometer hits 80+ F. Don't let that fool you, though, there is a nice green note that arises from the interplay that is vaguely olive to me, though more toward the olive grove than to the edible olive end of the spectrum. On the whole, quite charming, and I think feels light and youthful.

Another fav, this one from the Heirloom Collection, is Lilac and Lace. A "romantic floral of yesteryear," Lilac and Lace is described as follows: "Known as the 'Blue Persian Jasmine' for its spicy, ethereal perfume of the past. Lilac represents the first emotion of love in the Victorian language of flowers."

Do you like a good soap lilac? How about one that smells like your at a spa, and you just finished a mud bath so you have this vague scent of rich mud still hanging around you, and now you're getting a massage in a room lightly scented with lilac oil while you occasionally sip at a thick espresso with just a hit of chocolate overtones? If that sounds good to you, then you've hit the jackpot with this Lilac and Lace.

My only complaint about these two is that the EdT on both is on the weaker end in terms of length of time on the skin, capping out at four hours. If I were going to purchase either, I'd probably splurge and go for the parfum spray.

Books & Movies

Dear reader, if you haven't read Chris Rose's 1 Dead in Attic, you are missing out one of the most heartwrenchingly beautiful pieces of nonfiction writing in the last decade. Seriously. This is the insider's account of Katrina, the before, middle, and hope for an after. I've read it twice, and I could read it again and still find new ways to be both heartbroken and hopeful.

In the same theme, I'm going to recommend Trouble the Water, the 2008 documentary film produced and directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal. It is a truly moving insider's look at Hurricane Katrina, and won the grand jury prize for best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

For an almost overwhelming, but more completist view of Katrina, its aftermath, and the opinions of those deeply involved, the history of the levees and more, you can't beat Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. At 255 minutes run time in four parts, it is best viewed over a few weeks. I saw it as part of a lunch series hosted over 5 weeks at my law school, followed by a discussion of the ways in which the law had failed the people of Louisiana and how we might be able to help use the law to make the region whole.

For a documentary that focuses more on the environmental devastation, I recommend Hurricane on the Bayou, a 2006 documentary film that focuses on the wetlands of Louisiana before and after Hurricane Katrina, and demonstrates why wetland restoration is needed for the survival of every living thing in the region.

And last, but perhaps most tear jerking, a documentary about the untold story of animals facing Hurricane Katrina, Dark Water Rising: Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues. Whether we are talking about terrible wildfires burning trapped herds of cattle alive in the west, or the abandoned and neglected pets in the wake of the housing crisis, we should never forget that suffering isn't limited to humans in times of catastrophe. FN1.

NOLA songs of the day

Two personal favorites. First, "Blue Bayou," by Roy Orbison. (I also really love the Linda Ronstadt rendition.)

Second, in honor of Lilac and Lace, I offer you Nina Simone's "Lilac Wine." Like "Blue Bayou," it doesn't reference NOLA in specific, but in my mind, or more appropriately, in my heart, both belong there, notes winding their way along the back streets with the smell of warm white flowers blooming, unseen, but everywhere.

Keep checking back for more scents related to sweet New Orleans, along with music, movies, and a drawing in this homage to that sweet city that dwells in the warm lowlands of my heart.

Until then, laissez les bon temps rouler!


FN1. Are you saying it? Good. Now we're both talking to ourselves, and I have company in my insanity.

FN2. My cat, Papaya, a frequent model on this site, was a rescue from Riverside, California during the housing crunch. When I adopted her, she was the size and weight of a 5 week old cat at 10 weeks of age, had a bad chest infection, and was so severely dehydrated she could not cry. She was part of a litter from a mother cat who had been abandoned by her owners when they lost their home, and as the runt, Papaya simply was not getting enough to survive. I am pleased to report she is now a healthy, happy two year old and possibly the most spoiled cat I have ever owned.


Melissa said...

I'm loving your posts on New Orleans! Now that it's cooling off here in Mobile, AL, I think I'm going to try and make it over there next month. Thankfully as the weather cools, New Orleans loses some of the "stink" that settles over the city like a black cloud of funk. Besides, I'll have some free time since I'm one of many who lost their job at the newspaper. We're in the exact same boat as the Times Picayune. It'll be interesting how things turn out because right now it's total chaos. I only have about 3 more weeks left and I still haven't figured out how they're going to transition to the new company. So yea, I'm thinking a trip to the Big Easy might be just the answer to my loss of a happy place.

Diana said...

Melissa, that really sucks. I still read the Times-Picayune online, all the way out here in Portland. I feel like I get better sense of what's happening in the region from them than from the Houston Chronicle, my old hometown paper. (I miss the days when Houston had both the Chronicle and the Post, and we actually had more than one point of view in local print media.) I'm sorry to hear you've lost your job; it's tough out there for everyone, and despite my general loathing for my current employment, I know I'm lucky to be employed.

I know what you mean about the 'stink,' but I have to confess, as a perfume-y type who loves lots of weird smells, that I also kind of love that heavy, thick smell of rotting peat moss and hot, wet air. I remember the first time I was far away from home and drving back, when we crossed the Red River from Oklahoma into Texas, I turned to my uncle and said, with quite a bit of surprise, "I think...I think I can smell the ocean." He just smiled, inhaled a deep breath, and told me that yep, I was smelling the mingled smells of the gulf, that you could smell it for hundreds of miles. It was briney and dirty and salty and rank in a particular way that will always be familiar and beloved by me. That said, I hate the damned heat, so I support your decision to wait for a little relief. Who wants to walk around on vacay in weather that feels like a suana?

Thanks for reading!