C.M. Soto premiered her multimedia art exhibit, The Traveling New Orleans Show at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls, OR February 17, 2008.
The Traveling New Orleans Show explores what it means to miss New Orleans with twenty-nine pieces by New Orleanian, C.M. Soto. The exhibit showcases New Orleans culture, music, festivals, traditions, food and the largest natural disaster on U.S. soil, Hurricane Katrina. “New Orleans is a town rich in celebration, history, crime and cuisine,” explains Soto. The city’s Laissez-faire grandiosity and unique landscape has made it a popular theme for literature, plays and movies. “New Orleans is referred to in song lyrics more than any other city in the world. The city is a muse.”
Half art-exhibit and half museum-exhibit, The Traveling New Orleans Show is enjoyable for anyone who has visited or is interested in the city and its diverse gumbo, “—a gumbo that was only temporarily embittered by Hurricane Katrina,” says Soto. A series of seven photos entitled, “The Saddest Party on Earth” are images of the first Mardi Gras post-Katrina, when most of its inhabitants were still without electricity and water, some still evacuated. The series show the deeply ingrained New Orleans sense of humor with photos, “Water Bottle Girl,” “Caution Tape Man,” and “Airlift Rescue.” Read of Soto’s evacuation from the storm, twelve hours before landfall in the piece, “Belated Katrina Evacuation.”
Not only does the exhibit feature art, poetry and literature from Soto, it also features the works of other New Orleans artists and writers. A large bead exhibit entitled, “Mamma’s Best Throws” shows the flashiness of “throws” or beads and souvenirs that are flung from parade floats. A free-standing multimedia piece called, “three doors” showcases scenes that were prevalent after the hurricane. There are also images taken only weeks after Hurricane Katrina. The exhibit doesn’t capture the putrid smell that permeated the city of New Orleans for months after the storm, however. Additional pieces highlight New Orleans terminology and festivals.