a few southern angels

May 7, 2013 in art

Angels have a tough job.  They are messengers and representatives of love, life, death, and deliverance.  They aren’t a light-hearted bunch, except for angels on Christmas knick knacks and those baby angels in classical paintings and sculptures — putti.  During a road trip, my husband and I saw many angels.  Don’t worry.  We weren’t going out of our minds.  We visited a lot of cemeteries, mostly to find out more about my husband’s family history.  Except, again, for putti (why are they all baby boys?), the angels we saw were young women.  Maybe it’s the nurturing, maternal qualities of young women – at least some of them — that make this type of angel popular.  These angels assure believers that they are in good hands.  The most memorable angels that we saw on our trip were southern gals.

As Hurricane Sandy was heading towards the Northeast, my husband and I cut short our visit with my brother’s and sister-in-law’s family in New Jersey.  We headed south.  After passing through the Appalachians and away from Sandy’s path, we decided to head towards a place where another hurricane had landed several years ago:  New Orleans.  Before entering NOLA, we spent an afternoon and part of next morning driving along the Mississippi coast, east of the city.

Although Hurricane Katrina landed in this area about eight years ago, her footprint was still evident:  razed coastal lots for sale; plants breaking apart abandoned parking lots; homemade shrines surrounding ruined, empty homes; new homes being built on extra-tall posts; new boardwalks; and dead oaks turned into angels.

The three angels below stand along the new boardwalk in Bay St. Louis, just south of route 90.  A few blocks inland, there is a cemetery with another tree-angel.  The ancient Greeks had their dryads, nymphs or female spirits of trees. The Japanese, in their folklore, also have tree spirits:  kodamas.  Bay St. Louis has her angels.


angel 01



angel 03



angel 02

 From what I could find on the internet, chainsaw sculptor Dayle K. Lewis created these angels.




angels 4

An angel-beast with her sidekicks or henchmen, in NOLA’s French Quarter.  It was late in the evening, and the antique shop was closed.  If anyone knows more about this piece, I’d love to know.




angel 05At one of NOLA’s many cemeteries


Many thanks to M in NOLA for her friendship and hospitality.  Without her, we would have missed experiencing the local flavors of this city.