The Glass Artisans of New Orleans

Damaged equipment and debris piled up in front of the Wet Dog Glass Studios in New Orleans, followin i

Damaged equipment and debris piled up in front of the Wet Dog Glass Studios in New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina. Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute hide caption

itoggle caption Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute
Damaged equipment and debris piled up in front of the Wet Dog Glass Studios in New Orleans, followin

Damaged equipment and debris piled up in front of the Wet Dog Glass Studios in New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina.

Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute
New Orleans resident Eddie Breaux opens his new glass door, designed by artist Laurel Porcari. i

New Orleans resident Eddie Breaux opens his new glass door, designed by artist Laurel Porcari. Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute hide caption

itoggle caption Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute
New Orleans resident Eddie Breaux opens his new glass door, designed by artist Laurel Porcari.

New Orleans resident Eddie Breaux opens his new glass door, designed by artist Laurel Porcari.

Laurel Porcari/New Orleans Creative Glass Institute

A dispatch from Noah Adams, blogging from the Gulf Coast:

Consider the Wet Dog Studios of New Orleans in the Mid-City neighborhood of warehouses and small factories. Wet Dog is where the New Orleans Creative Glass Institute hopes to have things humming again — artists and students blowing glass and firing and finishing piece of glass artwork. Laurel Porcari took me there this morning, both to see the damage two feet of Katrina water could bring, as well as the group's plans for revival. Porcari is an architect with an MFA in glass art and she works mostly in "architectural" glass designs that would be incorporated into a wall, for example.

Before Katrina, about 50 artists rented space in this large room to use the ovens and tools. Many of them were professionals, selling in galleries across the country. Others were students who would show up on the loading dock of the studio, offering to help out as a way to get started in the field.

The flooding from Katrina trashed the glass shop and dispersed the artists. Most are not coming back. A small core group is starting over, with donations and a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. The ovens are in place, but it's tough to get the electricity and the gas turned back on.

The story of this art and craft in this city? The Times-Picayune said: "The New Orleans glass scene had been a shining success story. Like Venice and and Corning, N.Y., New Orleans was an important crossroads on the global glass art map."

The future?

"We want to be self-supporting," Porcari tells me. "And we want the kids to come. We want to make the new glass artists."

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