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Local Artist Paints Hope


Mixed-media artist Tami Curtis-Ellis has sold her artworks, which are based on the culture, history and nature of her home state of Louisiana, to patrons across the country. The Covington resident hopes one of her paintings, Hope Floats will be a hit across the country, although the proceeds won't enrich her personally.

The painting, inspired by the reactions and rescue efforts of people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, now is a poster and graces T-shirts as incentives for tax-deductible donations. Donations for 18-by-24-inch posters range from $150 to $550; T-shirts are $30. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity, and 25 percent to Craft Emergency Relief Fund, which helps artists and craftspeople.

"The visual interpretations that these creative minds gave to the South are not something we can allow to fade away," Curtis-Ellis says. "So much of my artwork has been inspired by being in the art and music community of the Gulf Coast. I can never repay all it has given me, but helping these artists get a leg up is a start."

The $150 donation will get you an unsigned, numbered poster and $300 a signed and numbered poster, both from the same 5,000-print batch. For a $550 donation, Curtis-Ellis will hand paint on a signed and numbered poster, which comes from a limited edition of 1,000. To donate to the fund and order a poster or T-shirt, log onto, call (985) 789-2214 or Life Impact Center at (985) 871-1100.

The artwork depicts a range of expressive faces, icons such as St. Louis Cathedral, a rescue helicopter, aspects of south Louisiana culture and more. Around the edge are the words "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," from Jeremiah 29:11 of the Bible.

Restaurateur Vicky Bayley, who owns Ohia restaurant on Lee Circle in New Orleans, and Barry Kern of the float-building Kern Studios, collaborated to turn Curtis-Ellis' painting into a float that carried first-responders during several Carnival parades (including Zulu on Fat Tuesday) and served as a salute to the spirit of Hurricane Katrina survivors. She says she created the painting to depict "the strength, courage and compassion I was seeing in the faces of residents all across the Gulf Coast." Art In the Park The Mid-City Art Market ( will return to the Botanical Gardens in City Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5 in conjunction with the reopening of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Organizers say the market will have live music to entertain shoppers as they browse through displays of local and regional artists' paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, pottery, glass, furniture, jewelry and accessories.

The market also will include an activity tent for youngsters where they will be able to create something artistic.

(book cover) First You Start With a Roux Roux To Do: The Art of Cooking in Southeast Louisiana, a cookbook published by the Junior League of Greater Covington, has won first prize in the "Home" category of the Writer Notes Book Awards and honorable mention among "Best Books 2004" from USA News. Recently it was awarded the 2005 Tabasco Community Cookbook Award -- Southern Region

The cookbook was first published two years ago to benefit the Junior League's community projects such as Hope House, YMCA, Career Closet, PRIDE, Art Carts, New Heights Therapy Center and Southeast Hospital. The book is in its second printing; look for it at local retailers, or obtain a copy from the Junior League at or by calling (877) 898-3989.

The Hope Floats poster by Louisiana artist Tami Curtis-Ellis - generates funds for Habitat for Humanity and Craft - Emergency Relief Fund. - TAMI CURTIS-ELLIS
  • Tami Curtis-Ellis
  • The Hope Floats poster by Louisiana artist Tami Curtis-Ellis generates funds for Habitat for Humanity and Craft Emergency Relief Fund.

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