Twelve Months New Orleans August, continuing the series by Enrique Alferez
Twelve Months New Orleans August
This image is the eighth in a series of images by Enrique Alferez, published by Michael Higgins as “The Twelve Months of New Orleans.” Higgins published the illustrations in 1940. The image features an outdoor procession, part of the celebration of the Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi.
Alferez was born in Northern Mexico on May 4, 1901. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1927 to 1929. He came to New Orleans in 1929. Alferez made New Orleans his home. He took advantage of various Works Progress Administration grants in the late 1930s. Alferez created a number of sculptures in the metro area, particularly in New Orleans City Park. Additionally, he designed the large fountain in front of Shushan Airport (now New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
Alferez drew and painted, as well as sculpting. So, he included many New Orleans landmarks in the “Twelve Months” booklet.
The title/cover page of the booklet says:
A set of 12 Romantic
Displaying 60 local subjects
drawn direct on the plate
with pen, brush, and crayon
Printed and published by Michael Higgins
at 303 North Peters St
Seafood is the theme of August’s illustration.
Top Left: Pompano! Pompano en Papillote, A fisherman in a boat hooks a pompano, a popular gulf fish. La Louisiane Restaurant served the fish, baked in a parchment bag with crabmeat, garlic, shallots, butter, salt and pepper. Here’s Emeril’s recipe for the dish.
Top Right: Shrimp! Shrimp were popular long before crawfish dominated our cuisine here in New Orleans. Prior to imported crawfish and farm-raised mudbugs, those crustaceans were very seasonal. Shrimp, on the other hand, were the go-to shellfish. With white shrimp and brown shrimp seasons running for a significant part of the calendar year, Gulf shrimp are wild-caught and plentiful. Alferez suggests Shrimp Arnaud as an interesting way to enjoy them.
Bottom Left: Oysters! Oyster fishing in the Gulf was a different industry in 1940 than now. Climate Change, frequent hurricanes, and oil spills weren’t issues in Alferez’s New Orleans. While these circumstances challenge modern oyster fishers, the classic dishes continue on. Alferez suggests Oysters Rockefeller from Antoine’s Restaurant. The dish was created in 1889 by Jules Alciatore. Jules was the son of the restaurant’s founder, Antoine Alciatore. The dish was so rich, Jules named it after one of the richest men in the world, John D. Rockefeller. You can still get dem erstas at Antoine’s!
Bottom Right: This corner features a blue crab from Lake Pontchartrain, with a section of crab net in the background. Crab a la Broussard, from Broussard’s Restaurant on Conti Street. Lake crabs also endure challenges from climate and high water conditions.
Blessing of the Fleet
The central drawing for August features a priest blessing a shrimp boat. The caption reads:
Blessing the Shrimp Fleet
New Orleans is famed for its Creole
cookery, good eating
Three altar servers attend the priest. Two hold large candles. The third holds a aspersorium, the vessel holding the holy water. The priest dips his aspergillum in the aspersorium, then sprinkles the holy water over the boats as they pass by the dock. The fishing village turned out to wish their men well as they braved the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
See you for the ninth image in September..