Painting: Painting with Friends.

For a long time, I have wanted to do one of those Corks N Canvas classes. You go with a group of friends, sip champagne, and paint a picture. The picture can be of anything; some of the more popular items are fleurs de lis, Michalopoulos houses, street lamps, and streetcars. A friend of mine named Vinnie has been to quite a few of these classes; though they are not the “official” Corks N Canvas, it’s still the same premise. I’ve seen her  paintings and they always look so great.

Luckily, Vinnie set up a painting party with a friend of hers that throws the parties at her house. Fleur de Christi is the business that she set up in her house which includes all materials and her as the guide. On Friday, I went with Vinnie and three other work friends to paint a streetcar. None of us, besides Vinnie, has ever painted anything before, so we were all excited.

We started the evening by having dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito in Mid-City. Kurt and I ate there one time with his sister, Natalie, and I remembered how good the food was. I love Mexican food, so when the consensus was Juan’s, I couldn’t wait. Being a Friday during Lent, and me being a good little Catholic girl, I chose the crawfish pizza. Crawfish, roasted garlic, corn, and guacamole? Yes, please! As I’m excitedly awaiting for the pizza, our waitress returns to tell me they ran out of crawfish. Bummer! I instead chose the cheese enchiladas with whole black beans and yellow rice. Though probably not as good as the crawfish pizza would have been, the enchiladas were most tasty, with a great flavor and full of cheese and sauce. My friends had equally good food (according to them, at least), choosing burritos and nachos. And the portion sizes were very generous; I don’t believe any of us were able to actually finish our meal.

Angelo Brocato's Italian Ice Cream/Gelato


As I tell Kurt, my sister Dina taught me long ago that no matter how full you are, your dessert shelf will always have room on it; thus, we headed to Angelo Brocato’s Italian Ice Cream Parlor. I have heard of the deliciousness that is Brocato’s, but have never tried it. Being Italian, I was always leery. My dad was an Italian chef, I’ve been to Italy and had Italian desserts first-hand. Even though the Brocato family is Italian, I didn’t believe they could measure up to true Italian taste.

For the most part, I was right. My favorite gelato, which is the Italian version of ice cream, is stracciatella, which is basically chunks of chocolate in vanilla. The kind at Brocato’s, however, was more liked minced chocolate in the vanilla, so minced that the vanilla was basically grey with chocolate. Not the same. Instead of that, I got strawberry cheesecake gelato. While very good, it was not like the gelato in Italy. I didn’t try the other desserts, like the cookies or cannoli, but they did look tasty. One day Kurt and I will go back and try out some of the other delectable goodies they have and measure them against Italy.

We then headed over to Christi’s house to start our painting party. She lives in Mid-City, near City Park, NOMA, and the Fairgrounds. A perfect spot for plenty of great New Orleans activities that occur, in a beautiful, classic New Orleans house. All sorts of paintings were hanging around the house, most of them for sale. We all fell in love with a beautiful saxophone painting, filled with gold, silver, and copper abstract in the background. Another painting that caught my eye was a beautiful cherry blossom branch. All I could think of was how wonderful it would look at my reception! (Cherry blossoms are the theme of Kurt and I’s wedding.) At the table were the canvases, brushes, and paint all laid out, on a wonderful tablecloth splattered with dry paint. A thrilling sensation overcame me as I sat down in front of an empty canvas and a jar full of brushes. How could I, who has almost no artistic ability, be able to paint a picture as complicated as a streetcar?

Fleur de Christi painting the streetcar

Christi painting the streetcar as our guide.

Quite easily and with lots of fun, as it turns out! Christi stood at the head of the table and showed us step by step what to do on our canvas. I must’ve used about 10 different brushes for various things on my painting. The great part is that even if you think you mess up, it is so easy to just mix a little bit more paint and fix whatever bad strokes you think you made. It was incredibly rewarding to see something you create come to life before your eyes, a real sense of accomplishment.

Fleur de Christi streetcar in progress

In the midst of painting my streetcar.

We all had a lot of fun, and even though we were all trying to create the same piece of artwork, it was cool to see how our own personality would shine through. Each of ours were uniquely different. Even though the school year has been a kind one to me, I know some of the others had a few stressful situations to deal with, and with the end of school so close, we are all looking forward to that shining beam of light called summer that’s right around the corner. This painting class was a great stress reliever, one we are all anxious to try again. I’m thinking saxophone, ladies!!!

Seriously, if you ever want to have fun and paint a great picture in the process, give Fleur de Christi a try. A very good deal for only $35.

Fleur de Christi streetcars

The girls with our beautiful paintings.

Fleur de Christi streetcar

My masterpiece streetcar!

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