New Orleans House Project

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Of Red Lights and Cities of the Dead

This week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching involved some log cabin therapy.  I never get tired of the soothing work of sewing strips around and around until I've made a useful sized block!  I don't start with a plan, I just pick up some scraps and start sewing.  Sometimes I get traditional light and dark blocks, sometimes I just get random color and pattern.  They all make me happy!

This week's happy, scrappy house block relies heavily on my collection of red and black prints.  I initially thought of doing the main body of the house in the black and red cat print, but I decided I really didn't need a "cathouse" for my quilt.  

A bit of history here:  New Orleans had a legalized red-light district for about 20 years prior to World War I.  One of the more famous proprietors of "The District" was Josie Arlington, who at one time owned one of the most lavish sporting houses, known as The Arlington.  Josie was quite a successful business woman, and built an elaborate tomb for herself in Metairie Cemetery.
Most New Orleans graves/tombs are above ground and are often called "Cities of the Dead".  Josie Arlington's tomb was built of red granite, and was said to have an unearthly red glow on certain nights.  There are lots of stories about who the young woman represents and even stories that tell of the young lady wandering the cemetery at night.  Josie is no longer buried here, as her family had her body moved when the tomb became thronged by tourists.  

Leaving things on an upbeat note:  jazz funerals are another New Orleans tradition.  On the way to the cemetery, the band will pay somber hymns, but once the body is laid to rest, the band plays celebratory music to honor the deceased's life.   

Now that your toes are tapping, do wander over to Angela's Soscrappy blog to see what other red scrappy inspiration has happened this week!


  1. Oh really cute; I have that cat print in beige and black --love it in reds hugs, Julierose

  2. Ha Ha red cat house. Love the bit about the red lights and the cities of dead.

  3. Thanks for another tidbit of history!

  4. Great log cabins and another terrific scrappy house block!

  5. Lovely log cabins and I really like the fussy-cut red house. Love, Love, Love the link to I'll Fly Away, I want that one played at my funeral (family knows the songs already on my list), thanks for sharing the wonderful link!

  6. Another fun history lesson, some fun log cabins I just love and another fun house - love those cats. Fun, fun, fun!

  7. So, were you a history teacher in a past life? I love checking your blog because I always learn something new (and pretty darn neat!). Love your log cabins, especially that cow in the middle. A cat house.......too funny.