Do you remember when you were a little kid and you dreamed about how your house would be when you were an adult?
Priorities change. I used to think I’d have a water bed when I grew up. When I was a kid, I dreamed of a house with secret passageways, a brass pole to slide down, a zipline, and a climbing wall.
I stayed true to the zipline in the backyard and the climbing wall in my den…
But I failed on the waterbed…
Not everyone has to grow up, though. At least not evidenced by the inhabitants at 1614 Esplanade Ave. – AKA the NOLA ART HOUSE. Their website explains the whole thing better than I can in this post, but basically the building houses about 20 “artists” and a few dogs. Most of those in the house are in their twenties, but ages span a 20 year gap from 18 to 38.
I was invited to the house by Kayla, who was nice enough to give me a tour and show me where she lived. Her art is music photography and singing/songwriting. According to her, each person in the house is an artist in some capacity and they together work on installations around the house and the city. The house is itself, a gallery, and the housemates wish to improve on it in that means – making it a place for city artists to display their work.
Visual art is the primary discipline in the house; this ranges from painting to t-shirt making, but the main attraction of the house is the truly amazing treehouse installation.
The treehouse was built collectively by the house in a golden rain tree(deemed an invasive species that would probably be cut down in other parts of the city). This enormous project is lead by house member and installation artist, Scott Pterodactyl.
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves(BTW, there are even better shots at the house website which shows the treehouse at night):
Here’s the tiptop, at over 50 feet in the air, and the city view it offers.
Later I met Ben, who when asked about what kind of art he creates, told me, “Uh, no… I just live here.” Here’s Ben in the red ball room in the in the west wing of the treehouse.
Most of the materials used in the making of the treehouse are recycled and some are just straight-up Katrina leftovers. These huge nets that make up the hammock bridge are salvaged from batting cages and golf driving ranges.
Here’s Ben taking the fast way down:
If you are wondering how this whole thing is possible you are not alone – I wondered the same thing. Kayla tells me that rent is cheap, utilities are included, and the owner of the building(an artist himself, who lives in California) lets the artists self-govern and pick there own prospective housemates. So basically, a rotating roster of tenants(most from Craigslist ads) become roommates in the art house. Some stay for a month, some for years. While in the house, they all seem to focus alot of energy and time onto one thing – huge parties.
The NOLA Art House hosts massive parties that utilize their tremendous backyard, complete with their koi pond, DJ booth, parachute tent, homemade pool, super-fast water slides, and of course, the treehouse. Maybe I’ll see you there.