Chauvin Sculpture Garden

10 11 2009

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From a useful website:

Little is known about the reclusive Kenny Hill, a bricklayer by trade, born around 1950. In 1988, he settled on some property on the bayou in Chauvin (pronounced show-van), Louisiana—population 3,400. Hill pitched a tent as his home and, over time, built a small rustic home that demonstrated an interesting use of space and attention to detail. Then, in 1990, without explanation, he began transforming his lush bayou environment into a fantastic chronicle of the world as seen through his eyes.

Less than a decade later, more than 100 primarily religious concrete sculptures densely pack the narrow, bayouside property. The sculptures are a profound mixture of Biblical reference, Cajun colors, and the evident pain and struggle of the artist’s life. Most figures—black, white, male, female, child, or solider—are guided, supported, or lifted by seemingly weightless angels. The unique angels, some inviting passage, others prohibiting, vary from blue skinned, bare-footed, and sightless to regal celestial figures clad in medieval garb with the black boots of the local shrimp fishermen.

AG and I visited here this past weekend, and my first reaction was: “this is what happens when you don’t have an editor”. But it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise near the “end of the line” in southern Louisiana. I also have to give a shout out to Annie Miller’s Sons’ Swamp Tours and Bayou Delight Restaurant, both outside of Houma. The former was pleasant and reasonably priced, and the latter was just an obscenity of southern Louisiana cuisine (i.e. fried food “porn”: fried alligator, crawfish, frogs’ legs, boudin balls, shrimp, etc.) I recommend the “Cajun Platter”. See below for more pictures of the sculpture garden.

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14 11 2009
Jonathan Prejean

The new priest at our parish was at Houma during Katrina (he’s a Franciscan, hence the relocations). He remarked that it was actually quite difficult to be a priest in a hurricane area, since you had responsibility for Church documents being stored and waterproofed, protecting the building itself (boarding up the windows and whatnot) when everyone else who actually had experience doing such things was busy doing it with their own property, attending to the spiritual needs of people on the verge of death or great loss, and then at the very last, you had to make sure that the Blessed Sacrament was evacuated as well. And he had to do it all during the worst hurricane in living memory for that area. It really gave me some perspective on just how incredible the work that priests manage to do in these impoverished areas suffering from natural disasters. I’m thankful for them.

Apologies for rambling so far off subject. I will say on the subject of Louisiana cuisine that you can eat healthier food and live longer, but then what would be the point of living longer? 😉

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