Goin’ ‘Cross My Mind: Contemporary Self-Taught Artists of Louisiana
One of the last surviving French colonial residences in the Mississippi Valley, Madame John’s Legacy recently underwent restoration and reopened to the public in late November, 1998 with an exhibition of Louisiana folk art and another that explores the landmark’s long history.
Entitled Goin’ ‘Cross My Mind: Contemporary Self-Taught Artists of Louisiana, the folk art exhibition consists of more than 70 paintings, drawings, sculptures and mixed media pieces from a recent donation to the Louisiana State Museum by New Orleans collectors Dr. Kurt Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen. The exhibition highlights the work of Louisiana artists who work outside of the mainstream of the traditional art world. Untrained and often using unconventional materials, these artists work from a personal vision inspired by their culture and environment.
Among the artists represented in the exhibition are M. C. Jones of Shreveport, James P. Scott of Lafitte, Sister Gertrude Morgan of New Orleans, David Butler of Patterson and Prophet "Royal" Robertson of Baldwin. Sculptors Cyril Billiot, Ivy Billiot, Lorraine Gendron, J. Scott and Herbert Singleton are also featured.
A new exhibition located on the ground floor of Madame John’s Legacy traces the history of the site through its eclectic array of former inhabitants. The installation reflects new research by museum staff as well as the findings of a recent excavation undertaken by the Greater New Orleans Archaeology Program of UNO. The project was designed to update earlier archaeological studies and to learn more about courtyard use, conditions of urban slavery and domestic habits of colonists.
Named for a fictional character and inhabited by a succession of personalities that included a colonial matron, a governor’s son, and the family of a pirate, Madame John’s Legacy is a rare example of residential architecture common in New Orleans in the 1700s.