15 Minutes Magazine - The Magazine of Society and Celebrity

Celebrating Our 17TH Year!

Official Magazine of the Next 15 Minutes



Tim Boxer

Nina Boxer

[ New Orleans ] [ Beijing ] [ Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina ]
[ What To Read: Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture and Race in the Big Easy, New Orleans en Plein Air, New Orleans Classic Seafood, and Rand McNally: The Road Atlas and Travel Guide 2009 ]

In the Sculpture Garden

Weíre jazzed youíre here

Shopping in French Quarter

French Quarter balcony

Besh Steakhouse

Bananas Foster at Brennanís

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

Iron gates at NOMA

The Big Easy Pulsates
With Music, Art, Food

EW ORLEANS is back in the business of luring visitors with a vengeance. Katrina in August 2005 failed to deliver a fatal knockout to the cityís No. One industry, tourism. Recovery projects reportedly costing $100 million, financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is fueling a rebuilding boom.

Convention business is creeping back, according to the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. The year before Katrina, 977,829 room nights were sold. In 2007, some 589,000 room nights were sold. This year expect more than 636,000.

Hollywood has sent a bit of its glamour to the Crescent City. Take a stroll in the fabled French Quarter and youíll see several celebrity homeowners. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie share a luxury nest here. Francis Ford Coppola has a home on Governor Nicholls St.

On the corner of Governor Nicholls St. and Royal St. stands the home of Nicolas Cage. "Thatís the most haunted house in New Orleans," Bonnie Warren said. Cage maintains a second domicile in the Garden District.

Believe it or not, Bonnie is familiar with the spirit side of the Big Easy, having lived in the French Quarter for 14 years above the Moss Antique Shop. Once she got up in the middle of the night, suddenly aware of a presence in the room. "I turned and noticed the indentation of a manís body in the bed next to me," she said. "I found out it was the ghost of a priest named Father Roquette from the 1800s."

Our visit to the Crescent City consisted of art and antique hopping. There are so many museums to explore, among them the National D-Day Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art. See them all at www.NewOrleansMuseums.com.

Board a streetcar in the French Quarter and it will bring you to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), located at City Park.

"We were blessed," said NOMA director John Bullard. "Because we are above sea level, only one sculpture was damaged in the outdoor Sculpture Garden. The rest was easily cleaned. But there was $2 million damage to the garden."

The Sculpture Garden and its reflecting pools showcase 50 masterworks including Claes Oldenburg, the greatest pop art sculptor, as well as Robert Indiana, Henry Moore, Rene Magritte and others.

A tour inside the museum gave us tremendous joy. NOMAís permanent collection numbers more than 40,000 (whoís counting?) worth $240 million. Its strength lies in American and French art, photography and glass, plus African and Japanese art.

One gallery is devoted to the works of Peter Carl Faberge (1846-1920), master jeweler to the czars. The photography collection of 7,000 images features gifted Louisiana photographers. See much more at www.noma.org.

Dr. Richard Gruber, director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, welcomed us to his charming palace of Southern art. Whatís really delightful is Ogden After Hours, a series of music programs on Thursday evenings. www.ogdenmusueum.org.

At the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), executive/artistic director Jay Weigel said the building used to be a warehouse. In fact this neighborhood was Bumís Row. An influx of artists transformed the area into the Warehouse District, brimming with galleries and studios and creative activity.

CAC, which showcases modern pop art, devotes a room to a young artist in Indonesia, Eko Nugroho. Itís a space designed to contemplate the vision of an individual spewing venom for America. I found his not-too-subtle project loathsome. He accuses the U.S. of terrorism. This is not art, but propaganda. Then again, this is free speech. And thatís why his work can be displayed here without riots in the streets. Itís the spirit of New Orleans. www.cacno.org.

Where To Stay

228 Poydras St.
504 533-6522
This luxury hotel, and adjacent casino, in the Business District is conveniently within walking distance to the French Quarter, where we spent most of our time. There are a variety of six restaurants. Enjoy the dramatic art works displayed in public areas as well as in the private rooms.

Where To Eat

New Orleans is rated among the three best cities for food, along with New York and Paris. With 3000 eating places to indulge in this unique cuisine scene, you can choose Creole, Cajun, seafood, vegan and other cooking styles.

417 Royal St., French Quarter
504 525-9711
Famous for the best breakfast in town.

801 Chartres St., Jackson Square
504 568-1885
Once an elegant private home. Owner Rick Gratia offers contemporary Creole dining. Great Sunday jazz brunch.

209 Bourbon St., French Quarter
504 525-2021
Outstanding restaurant that earned many awards for quality and excellence.

Harrahís New Orleans
228 Poydras St.
504 533-6000
The Gulf Coastís top gaming destination offers excellent eating venues such as the acclaimed Besh Steakhouse; Riche restaurant, a French brasserie; and Bambu, an Asian fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese.

Who To Contact

New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
504 524-4784

New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & visitors Bureau
504 566-5011


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Focus On Beijing

Photos by Tim Boxer

HESE snapshots of a city in rapid transition are evidence of Chinaís climb to the heights of 21st century life and commerce. The urban skyline changes daily, reforming itself in brick and mortar, steel and glass. In the old part of the city, the ancient alleyways known as hutong, which attract their share of camera-carrying gawkers, are being razed to make way for modern apartment buildings Ė guaranteeing the removal of unsightly hovels, shanties, outdoor merchants as well as the curious tourists that such an ancient area long attracted. But thatís a small price China pays as it transitions to world class power. There is so much more for foreign visitors to see and enjoy in this New World of the Orient.

City skyline

Beijing Hotel lobby

Beijing Hotel

Tiananmen Square

Posing in Tiananmen Square

Mao Mausoleum in Tiananmen Square

Inside Forbidden City

Exercising in kindergarten

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Blue Ridge Mountains
In North Carolina

Photos by David Boxer

RECENT hike along the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina revealed spectacular panoramas that are now permanently preserved in my album of trips. For information and what to expect on riding up (or down) the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit http://www.nps.gov/blri/.

Downtown Boone

Elk Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain, Blue Ridge Mountains

Price Lake with Grandfather Mountain in the back

Grayson Highlands

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What To Read

Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture and Race in the Big Easy shows how New Orleans evolved to become one of the worldís most attractive tourist towns enticing visitors with Carnival, Mardi Gras, jazz, voodoo, gumbo and Bourbon Street. Kevin Fox Gotham, a sociology professor at Tulane, analyzes conflicting visions of rebuilding post-Katrina New Orleans. There is the view from above in which corporate interests threaten to sanitize the Crescent City of its past charm and rebrand it as a Disneyized city "devoid of authenticity and cultural value." There is the view from below, rooted in a romanticized and idealized conception of the past. Letís hope they donít turn New Orleans into a totally contrived tourist destination, but revive its authentic spirit which will attract even more visitors to celebrate its uniqueness. New York University Press, paper, 280 pages, $23.

New Orleans en Plein Air is the most magnificent "travel guide" that you will find. Phil Sandusky, a prodigious artist who teaches at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, has produced an amazing artistic record of the streets and sights of the Crescent City. Donít expect every little detail in his superb paintings of houses, sculptures and landmarks. He is not a realist painter. He achieves rich visual communication with minimal color patterns in his landscape paintings, just like a good poet who conveys thoughts with few select words. "Giving you too much to look at," her writes, "can only distract you from what is really important." What is important, sometimes, is exploring other qualities of the subject "like the effect of the sunlight, the kind of day, or the nature of the place." Pelican, 160 pages, 150 color illustrations, $35.

New Orleans Classic Seafood by local author Kit Wohl is a recipe collection of 45 signature dishes garnered from the cityís renowned eating places. Just try any in your own kitchen and before you know it youíll be on a plane to New Orleans to taste the original dish at these outstanding restaurants. Pelican, 96 pages, $15.95.

Rand McNally: The Road Atlas and Travel Guide 2009 is a must-have map and guide of the United States, Mexico and Canada. The first section of this oversize spiral book consists of large maps of every state in the U.S., every province in Canada plus Mexico and Puerto Rico. The second section features information such as attractions in major cities, hiking and scene gazing in the great outdoors, and national parks, dams and other wonders not to miss. Tips for Road Trips is a page full information about passports, traveling with kids or pets, and insiderís tips for north and south of the border such as "exchange rates are often more favorable at ATMs and banks than at hotels and stores." 256 pages, $24.95. www.randmcnally.com.


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