Tag Archives: LA

SOUTHERN GOTHIC

  My dad is an avid treasure hunter as well; a collector of bark cloth, mid century lamps, and wall art. We often travel together on weekends in search of items to add to his collection + my inventory. Two years ago we headed for Louisiana’s oldest city (and former set of Steel Magnolias), Natchitoches.

 Typical us, we had no prior knowledge of what the city had to offer.  The charming downtown was your typical ‘old town’ – 3 or 4 square blocks of 2 story brick buildings and cobblestones. Only this downtown also had a waterfront. And a lot of greenery. Impressed with how green Natchitoches was, we opted to take a scenic drive.

 What followed were miles upon miles of beautiful farmland, namely fields full of pecan trees. And when I least expected it, there it was. The most haunting sight I’ve ever seen, an old white home largely hidden behind a mess of trees and vines. I had to investigate.

 The driveway was empty. The surrounding grounds could be toured during business hours, which were since over. With the exception of a massive black bumbling bee hovering by the porch we were alone. Or perhaps not. I’m very sensitive to presences and felt watched the entire time. 

 Moments after leaving my dad suffered a mysterious affliction which caused him to lose most of the sight in one eye. Naturally, I think malicious forces from beyond the grave were the culprit. It’s as if they were saying ‘that’s what you get for snooping around’. Thankfully dad made a full recovery after wearing an eye patch for 3 months.

Upon my return home I researched this place of mystery. Magnolia Plantation was on the cutting edge in it’s heyday. Established in 1830, it was well equipped with many cotton gins and hundreds of slaves; who built a great fortune for the Le Comte family. It also stood atop an Indian burial ground. If that doesn’t set the tone for horror, I don’t know what does.

As  sensationalized as the Ghost Adventures episode on it was, they got a few things right. Magnolia Plantation is undoubtedly a very haunted place with a very brutal history.

The basement of the 2 1/2 story main home was used to cure meat, as well as discipline (aka shackle and torture) disobedient slaves. Escaped slaves were often hunted down, then returned and tortured. Once an overseer took slaves to the basement to torture them. Instead they tortured, killed, and cured him. The original ankle shackles used to detain slaves remain in the basement to this day.

The home has a designated ‘dying room’, where several residents and guests have died over the years. Including a Union soldier, who was slowly poisoned and went mad.

When Union soldiers overtook Natchitoches, they attempted to burn Magnolia plantation. The attempt failed, but they did succeed in shooting and killing an overseer at the doorstep. He’s buried on the property, and reputedly haunts the home.

Atypical masonry buildings housed slaves. Each building is subdivided into 2 sections, and each section housed up to 20 slaves. The buildings also housed up to 25 confederate prisoners at a time during the civil war. Many died from suffocation.

 Voodoo graffiti is found everywhere on the property. On the slave houses, the slave hospital, in the main home… even on Christian grave markers. Anthropologists studying the property found many voodoo related artifacts, much to the dismay of the local community – who’d rather downplay the negative parts of their history.

Hundreds of confederate soldiers are said to be buried on the property in unmarked shallow graves. The graves have yet to be found though.

With that said, Magnolia Plantation is considered one of the most haunted places in the south. I’d like to think the trees grow as they do because they hang in shame. Their concealment of the main home is their way of protecting us from the ugliest aspects of humanity.

I originally posted these photos on a personal blog, and had resized them to fit the dimensions of my layout. I regret not saving them in larger sizes and am sometimes tempted to go back and reshoot. But the little voice in my head tells me to steer clear. And little voices are never wrong.

SWEET SHOP SUNDAYS: SHOP SPANISH MOSS

This column was a neglected for a couple weeks due to some buying trips I took, so tonight I’ll attempt to make up for that by presenting you with a triple threat: Shop Spanish Moss, this weeks Sweet Shop.

Vowing to break free from from the 9-5 world, Suzanne Ford Carafano, her brother Chris and husband Vincent launched Spanish Moss Vintage in 2006. What began as a EBay shop catering to rock & roll fashion of the late 1960s – early 1990s has since expanded to a site that not only continues to stock vintage, but sells contemporary clothing which compliments this aesthetic.

 

Vintage kimonos, 60s babydoll dresses, and ‘Almost Famous’ style coats can be purchased alongside slashed up tops from Evil Twin, body con Style Stalker leggings, and crystal rings from Low Luv.

The cherry on top of it all is American Gold, Suzanne’s exclusive line of vintage inspired womens wear. Peek a boo bell bottoms in burnout velvet, fringe hem caftans, and calico floral minis are among her specialties. Each piece is made in the USA, and only high quality materials are used.

Shop Spanish Moss is a well designed site, which is easy to navigate and features gorgeous editorials by Andrew Kuykendall. The matching blog and magazine add plenty of inspiration too. Peruse them and you’ll instantly know this trio not only love, but live for what they do. No wonder they have fans in high places such as Daisy Lowe, Krystal Simpson, Erin Wasson, and Charlotte Kemp Muhl.

FUCK YOU, AND PRAISE THE LORD

DJ Howie Pyro of Intoxica radio fame, during his teen years as the bassist of 70s punk band the Blessed. A great guy with great records. And great style, eh?

SWEET SHOP SUNDAYS: SHOP BARDO

What this hidden gem on Etsy lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Ladies and gents, make yourselves familiar with ShopBardo, this weeks Sweet Shop.

Vintage designer labels. Antique bird feather earrings. Masonic belt buckles and fine leather jackets. These ladies like their vintage rare and exquisite, just as they are.

Here’s a brief interview I did with Summer Harrison, one half of this dynamic duo:

ShopBardo are: Summer Harrison (an accessories designer who studied at Otis) and Sophia Casanova (a professional model).

We started our Etsy shop because: We want to make the world more dreamy.

My favorite of our items is: The Vintage 1970s Alex & Lee fantasy surrealism necklace. A Rare, one-of-a-kind ‘passementerie’ (French or Italian for ‘passing of the cord’) necklace by California artists Alex & Lee, signed “Alex & Lee, Love and Peace.”

I love vintage clothes because: They’re fun! Clothing had soul then….the fabrics, construction, everything was better quality. So much of what is out there today as far as new clothing goes is made in China. Now wearing a piece of vintage clothing is a luxury, and it’s rare that someone else would be out in the same thing as you.

We don’t care about designer labels so much, but we are deeply knowledgeable about them as they can be a great reference for finding what you like. The fashion industry is fast paced, and vintage clothing is art meant to be worn, not hoarded by collectors. It’s important to mix old & new clothing.

My best vintage scores have been: An Ossie Clark snakeskin jacket, the vintage 70s Fiorucci snakeskin & metallic platform heels someone just purchased from our Etsy page for their Shoe Museum in Moscow (we still have a similar pair left!), and all of the beautiful Masonic hardware we have in shop from the late 1800′s; they’d be great for a jewelry or hardware designers reference of gorgeous new finishes.

My dream is to one day own: Everything ALAIA.

My fashion muses are: The spirits that we talk to, Strawberry Switchblade, and Kate Moss. She likes a lot of good vintage British boutique clothing.

When I’m not working or shopping, I’m: looking for the magick.

A true connoisseur, I tell ya. Haute hippies and disco dollies take note; ShopBardo won’t stay undiscovered long.

MARNIE WEBER

Los Angeles based performance artist, sculptor, collage maker, director, and costumer. This gal rocks my world!