Dick MacKenzie - www.dickshideaway.comThis painting, by a New Orleans artist, hangs on the wall in our hotel here in the Crescent City. I noticed it immediately after we checked in.
A few months ago I read the first novel by Canadian author Louise Penny. Although not usually a fan of murder mysteries I loved Penny's book and marveled at her complex story told in glorious word pictures and colorful characters.
In the few months since I read the first book of Armand Gamache's exploits I have read another five books in the series. Among the interesting people in the books is an old, eccentric, philosopher/poet who has a pet duck that waddles along with her as she wanders around her village. The cranky old woman is Ruth.
I admired the painting and eventually took a picture.
Later I went back down the hallway to stare at the picture again, and only then noticed a small card with the artist's name and the title of the painting. It's called "Ruthie the duck girl".
My first thought was that this NOLA artist is a Louise Penny fan and I started asking around. I wanted to find the artist and talk to him.
Walking the streets, looking for a particular gallery where I was told I might find the artist I suddenly had a brain bubble.
What if Louise Penny's inspiration for her character was a real life person here in New Orleans?
A quick google showed that Ruthie the duck girl was a well-known French Quarter eccentric who lived here for many years until she passed away in 2008 at the age of 74, followed around by a succession of pet ducks over the years.
I make no statement about the inspiration for Ruth in Louise Penny's novels. I don't know.
But if you'd like some interesting reading, google Ruthie the duck girl.
If you'd enjoy some fabulous novels in a Canadian setting by a Canadian author who tells beautiful stories, give Louise Penny a try.