On our honeymoon, 34 years ago last month, Gregory and I stood on Conti Street looking at the line of people wrapping around the corner to get into the then red hot K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen Restaurant (which sadly closed in 2020), and said to each other "If we could ever make a living and live here in New Orleans we will do it." By late 2012, both retired from our long careers in advertising; we brought our 2-year-old business, Slippin Southern, here to NOLA. Now 11 years later, we not only have our studio in Uptown making all our great wooden products, but now the Gallery in the French Quarter offers something totally different!
This was actual labor of love, two years in the making--we've looked at 20+ commercial properties here in the Cresent City, and a focus change from Uptown to the French Quarter, trying to find a retail location that was perfect for our business. We wanted that classic New Orleans style, super high ceilings, historic, great site, and when this one came up with a courtyard at 612 Toulouse Street, it threw it over the top for us. We wanted to be in the heart of what has become the New Orleans French Quarter Art District. New Orleans has a very vibrant art scene, and it is only getting better. Locals and tourists alike thirst for it keeps it strong and alive. We finally decided that the best place was where our existing customers were probably staying too in the Quarter would be the best location. We wanted to be a part of French Quarter events like Satchmo Summerfest, French Quarter Fest, and of course, Jazz Fest. Plus, it gives us a base camp to enjoy all the fun and happenings!
Gallery Before--Did I say it was all purple before we painted it for a whole weekend. Tate is a Painting Goddess! Gregory spent a lot of time on a ladder through all of the reno.
The demo and the reno come first before the art can go up on the walls with all spaces. I think we painted every surface we could. We wanted to make it feel more historic, warm, and inviting. Opening up space was first, and as we did, we found out that is how it was originally. The sizeable continuous wall space made my heart happy to see. Then the significant discovery we had three more feet above a dreary 1970s drop-ceiling, wow what a find now the ceilings are 14 feet, and in great shape, we painted them too! Rerouted AC, add fabulous lighting in all the rooms, and oversized handmade ottomans to make space beautiful, giving the perfect relaxed gallery vibe we love. We also enlisted lots of help from family and friends in doing the overhaul too.
Gregory again on a ladder. He spent 95% of his time on the ladder during reno.
New Orleans French Quarter is the perfect location for our NEW art, mixed media paintings, and prints. We wrestled with the subject of the art, the medium, the scale but ultimately themed New Orleans wall art won, our love for the city, the culture, the history, and the people who make it, so fun to live here. We have endless subject matter, "We are both artists at heart creating just feels good, and for us now to touch each piece fully is a great feeling," said Gregory Morris.
Gallery Haven is located at 621 Toulouse St in the historic French Quarter.
We named it Gallery Haven; it is located at 621 Toulouse Street; we are right between Royal and Charters, a block from Jackson Square. A super cool French Quarter location! Our grand opening was June 30th; we had to force ourselves to dive in and open the doors. Saying everything is good, OK maybe the drywall is not quite perfect, but it is about the art, not the drywall. Anybody opening anything will tell you it is never perfect enough. But so happy we did it, our friends and family came out, saw people we have not seen in person in years, it was a lovely night filled with laughter and fun.
Opening Night at Gallery Haven!
Our Gallery's logo is a spin-off of our new Haven America logo Gregory designed last year, featuring a significant live Oak Tree, moon, and stars. We felt the crescent moon, the symbol of the mighty Mississippi River, only two blocks away from the Gallery, and stars were what the Gallery symbolized our love for this Crescent City. The stars represent the magical years we've been in business. There are 10, one for each year Slippin' Southern has been in business in New Orleans and how it went from a little barn in North Carolina to now an art gallery in the great city of New Orleans. Our shingle sign out front was done in gold leaf, so it sparkles at night from the glow of the dim French Quarter gaslights.
Opening the Gallery is about putting roots in the community that I think we have both longed to do in the city for a while. We both love the French Quarter; we had a chance to live down there for about nine months in 2016. The liveliness is fabulous; watching second lines go by on Saturday afternoons is a great joy; you run to your gallery soak in the sound of the brass band's music; it is an absolute joy. Our art gallery space is lovely, Gregory commented to me once the reno was getting near the end by saying, "Don't take this the wrong way, but it looks like a store you would see in a mall-like Water Tower Place in Chicago" my comment back was "You mean designed? Like it was planned?" It was the best compliment he could have given me. Over the years, Gregory has learned to go with my designs, they may not make sense at first, but they are grand when they are done. We are so pleased to be a part of the New Orleans community, the excellent art district.
Our Gallery Consultanting Krewe, from left - Brittany, François, Tatham & Bushra. François selecting art for the gallery. François & Gregory/Artist meeting.
We are so excited that our first festival back is Satchmo Summerfest in a couple of weeks for us to meet all our old and new customers in person! See y'all in the Quarter darlin'.
Gregory + Susan
and the entire Consulting Krewe