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My new painting, “I Dream of Napoleon House,” is finished and arrived today in New Orleans at the Carol Robinson Gallery.

Here’s a view of the progression starting in February and ending with the finished work this month.

Here’s the Story

John Marlboro and Herschel Edwin Goodwin decided to stop in one late evening at the Napoleon House. They were “around 18 years old” that night, if you’re asking. This was when 18 was the legal drinking age in Louisiana.

There was one waiter in the whole restaurant, which was actually okay because there so few customers and all of them were only interested in drinking. This same waiter was there every time these two stopped in. He always wore the traditional waiter outfit: white shirt, long white apron, and black pants. He had black horn-rim glasses. He was a no-nonsense kinda guy. Also, he was OLD — probably somewhere around 40.

John and Herschel were always experimenting with different drinks. This was for all intents and purposes their official extracurricular activity during high school. At Napoleon House they landed upon the bright idea of continuing the experiment by ordering Guiness Stout. Who drank that stuff, anyway? Nobody. Ever.

When asked “cold or room temperature” the buddies exchanged a quick glance with each other and piped, “Room temperature.”


Neither had ever had a room temperature beer unless it was by mistake. Neither had ever had a stout. They were in for a surprise.

An unusual thing about Napoleon House: they serve spumoni. Cut in that distinctive triangular-column shape that spumoni always comes in. I say “always” because I’ve only ever ordered it at one place — Napoleon House. And to my knowledge, that’s the way it’s served everywhere in the world.

The boys wrote poetry. Clarification: they wrote abstract poetry. This was their description for a poem started by one of them, then folded over and passed to the other to write the next stanza. The rule was that you’re not allowed to read what the other guy wrote. Just write your lines, fold the paper, and pass it back. This would go on for 3 or 4 passes. Then, the unfolding would happen, the poem would be read aloud. Laughter. The crying-because-it’s-so-funny kind of laughter. Repeats of their favorite lines. A swig of some VERY warm beer and a bite of DELICIOUS spumoni ice cream, and then they’d start another poem.

Here are two facts:

The bartender was “on his own time.” Meaning, it took forever to receive your order.

Nobody cared how long it took to receive their order.



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