Morse’s ‘Gallery of the Louvre’ comes to Huntington museum

'Gallery of the Louvre' (1831-33) by Samuel B. Morse, oil on canvas, 187.3 x 274.3 cm, Terra Foundation for American Art

SAN MARINO, Calif. (AP) – Gallery of the Louvre, the artistic masterpiece Samuel F.B. Morse painted in the years before he developed the telegraph, comes to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens later this month in its first stop on a nine-city U.S. tour.

The oil-on-canvas work, measuring 6 feet by 9 feet, imagines dozens of the world’s great artworks assembled in a gallery at the Louvre in Paris. It includes reproductions of works by Rembrandt, Rubens and others being viewed by several spectators.

Although best known as the developer of Morse code and the telegraph, Morse’s early career was as a painter. He created Gallery of the Louvre in Paris and New York between 1831 and 1833 when he was in his early 40s.

His 7-foot-by-10-foot House of Representatives, painted in 1822, hangs in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.

After studying science, art and other subjects at Yale, Morse supported himself for a time as a portrait artist. His ambition, he once wrote to his parents, was “to rival the genius of a Raphael, a Michelangelo or a Titian.”

Although Gallery of the Louvre drew positive reviews from critics when it was unveiled, the public response was tepid, and Morse abandoned art for science and technology. He sent his first telegraph message – “what hath God wrought” – in 1844.

Gallery of the Louvre will be displayed at the Huntington from Jan. 24 through May 4 before moving on to Fort Worth, Texas, Seattle and other cities during a three-year tour.

It is on loan from Chicago’s Terra Foundation for American Art, which oversaw a six-month restoration of the work in 2010.

The restoration was documented in a video, six minutes of which will be shown during the Huntington exhibition and online at



Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-08-15 2159GMT

Photorealism exhibit flashes Currier museum back to the ’70s

John Baeder, 'Stardust Motel,' 1977. Oil on canvas, 58 x 70 in. (147.32 x 177.8 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Richard Brown Baker, B.A. 1935, Collection. Courtesy of the artist

MANCHESTER, N.H. (PRWEB) – Imagine paintings that look so real that the viewers feel as if they can walk into the canvas and back in time. “Still Life: 1970s Photorealism,” which opens at Manchester’s Currier Museum of Art on Jan. 24 and runs through May 3, takes the viewer back to a world filled with muscle cars, endless highways, diners, 1970s cityscapes and more. To those who lived through the 1960s and ’70s, these images will seem intensely familiar. The artworks that will be on view in this exhibition reflect a passion for hyperrealism and provide today’s audiences with an unflinching journey back in time to life 40 years ago.

“People are immediately drawn to these works of art,” said Kurt Sundstrom, Currier curator. “Most baby boomers will view this show nostalgically but everyone will appreciate each artist’s precision in creating these seemingly real scenes. The bottom line is that one can’t help but be fascinated when looking at this exhibition.”

In the 1970s, a loosely knit group of primarily American artists including Richard Estes, Duane Hanson, Tom Blackwell and Audrey Flack decided that art should accurately reflect the world around us. Photorealists took photographs of commonplace scenes, some not even in sharp focus, and precisely revisited those captured worlds in monumental paintings and sculptures. Viewed from a distance, these works faithfully capture a scene, but as with impressionistic paintings, when viewed up close, the artist’s brushstrokes become easily visible. As with the Currier’s recent M.C. Escher exhibition, the deeper one looks at these works of art, the more dazzled one will be by the artists’ skills.

Still Life: 1970s Photorealism was organized by the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Conn. and has been on view at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, N.Y. It will include 37 works from the Yale collection and an additional six from the Currier. The Boston Globe, in its review of the Yale exhibition, called it, “thought provoking,” emphasizing the fascinating “tension between the there-and-then of photography and the here-and-now of painting.”

Exhibition Support
Still Life: 1970s Photorealism. Exhibition organized by the Yale University Art Gallery. Made possible by the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund.

The Currier Museum of Art, located at 150 Ash St., Manchester, N.H., is open every day except Tuesday. It is home to an internationally respected collection of European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and O’Keeffe.

For more information, visit or call 603-669-6144, x108.

Morphy’s offers top-notch antique advertising in Jan. 17-18 auction

1901 Coke calendar in ornate gilt frame within a shadowbox. Near mint, est. $10,000-$18,000. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, Pa. – Country stores and old-time soda shops may be a thing of the past on Main Street America, but they’re thriving as re-created symbols of a century ago in the homes of collectors from coast to coast. Antique advertising signs, syrup dispensers, Coca-Cola calendars and promotional items, tins and early beverage bottles are more popular than ever, with a demand that outstrips supply when it comes to rare and perfect examples.

Morphy Auctions’ gallery is always a hive of activity before and during its Antique Advertising sales, and that’s expected to be the case when the Pennsylvania company hosts it Saturday and Sunday, January 17 and 18 specialty sale. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Within the 1,700-lot offering are many beautiful ceramic and metal syrup dispensers of the type used in soda fountains in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. A rare variation of Fowler’s Cherry Smash dispenser, with a colorful logo of three cherries suspended from a leafy branch and “5 Cents” on its sides, is entered as Lot 1220. In near-mint condition, it is estimated at $2,000-$2,500. Lot 1261, a 1918 Howell’s Orange Julep dispenser in excellent condition and finished in a vibrant orange hue is expected to make $1,500-$3,000.

Coca-Cola collectors should feel amply refreshed by the 800+ auction lots of advertising items pertaining to the world-famous Atlanta bottling company. A highlight is Lot 80, a rare 1901 Coke calendar in ornate gilt frame within a shadowbox. The calendar originated from the City Durg Store in Myersdale, Pa., and retains the original drugstore sticker. Near mint, it is estimated at $10,000-$18,000.

A wonderful example of a 1930s Coca-Cola bottle-shape radio will be offered as Lot 675. The realistically designed radio has strong paint, a lustrous shine and even illuminates. “It would be hard to improve on the condition of this radio. It’s a real beauty,” remarked Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. The 23½ inch Coke radio could reach $3,500-$5,500.

Many other soft drink brands are represented in the sale – some familiar and others more obscure. A dazzling example of artistry and rich coloration blended into one presentation, Lot 1076 is a circa-1930s embossed tin sign for Whistle soda. “Thirsty? Just Whistle” the sign says, adding, “Demand the Genuine” and “No Preservatives.” The 28½ by 20¼ inch, near-mint sign is estimated at $800-$1,400.

Lot 941 is a 1907-1914 cardboard cutout of Moxie’s marketing and advertising guru Frank Archer, seated on a crate of Moxie. The sign is preserved under glass in a shadowbox, and in terms of condition, Morphy says: “A better example may not exist.” The presale estimate is $1,000-$2,000.

An oval tin “Say Hires” sign with the company’s pointing-boy mascot holding a foaming mug of root beer dates to around 1907. Measuring 24 inches tall and exhibiting outstanding graphics, it is entered as Lot 1136 with a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Another classic American soft drink is Orange Crush, which is advertised in a 1938 embossed tin sign with an image of a ridged, 1920-patent-date bottle. Highly detailed, the hard-to-find sign is 54 inches tall and will be auctioned as Lot 1174 with expectations of an $800-$1,500 selling price.

An outstanding selection of more than 300 tobacco-related lots is included in the sale. A prized example, Lot 1454 is an Exquisite Cut Plug Tobacco flat pocket tin issued by Larus & Bro., Richmond, Virginia. An extremely rare tin featuring the image of a glamorous woman in evening wear, it is estimated at $1,400-$1,800.

“There should be hands raised all over the room for Lot 1720,” said Morphy, describing a Mail Pouch Ribbon Cut Chewing Tobacco radio. “It’s the only example we’ve ever seen, so we know it’s very rare.” Its knobs are still present, and the depiction of the tobacco product on its facade is exceptional. The presale estimate is $3,000-$5,000.

Morphy’s Jan. 17-18, 2015 auction will start at 9 a.m. Eastern Time both days.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or email


Kovels’ Top 10 Collecting Stories of 2014

Clockwise from upper left: Keane painting, Chinese plate, can of gold coins, antiquated doorknob and carved ivory. Image courtesy

CLEVELAND (PRWEB) – Kovels Komments, the weekly eNews about antiques and collectibles from, lists their top stories of 2014 with some follow-up:

1. March 5, 2014: Finding Gold Coins

A California couple took a walk with their dog in 2013 and found eight half-buried cans of gold coins on their property. The coins date from the late 1800s and their value was estimated at more than $10 million. In 2014, the couple decided to sell. The coins are now known as the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” named after part of the family’s property. Kagin’s Inc., a California numismatic firm, is selling the coins through an arrangement with You can buy one there. The couple is also keeping some of the coins for family heirlooms. (See Kovels’ Komments March 5, 2014 and June 11, 2014)

2. July 9, 2014: Walter Keane Painting of Little Girl

A friend gave her daughter a pair of pictures of little girls with wide-open eyes as a gift in the 1960s. They were by an unknown French artist in the style of then-popular pictures by Walter Keane. They were cute but not by a famous artist and sold last year at auction for $1. If they had been real 1970s paintings by Keane, they could have sold for $50,000. A book and new movie tell the fascinating story of Walter and Margaret Keane – how Walter rose to fame taking credit for paintings that were actually created by his wife. (See Kovels’ Komments July 9, 2014)

3. March 26, 2014: Chinese Plate, 600 Years Old, Tops $1M

The seller and the auctioneer thought it was a nice blue Chinese plate decorated with a white dragon – a donation to a Canadian auction to raise money for Toronto’s Gardiner Museum. A mysterious and still-secret bidder traveled to Ottawa to bid against Internet and phone bidders. Shortly after bidding reached $250,000 (Canadian) the price soared to $1.25 million ($1.12 million USD). The plate belonged to the donor’s Austrian grandparents. (See Kovels’ Komments March 26, 2014)

4. April 23, 2014: Be Aware of the Ban on Ivory

All import and export of ivory from African elephants, except for “bona fide antiques,” was banned by Executive Order from President Obama on Feb. 11, 2014. Existing laws are impacted by this ban, the enforcement of which falls to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Common sense made some very small steps in dealing with the new rules about old ivory, but they don’t help collectors or dealers, just musicians. This is an ongoing story. (See Kovels Komments, June 11 and 24, May 28 and April 23, 2014)

5. April 2, 2014: Doorknob Collectors Beware

A new law in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, says lever handles are required on all doors and faucets in new housing construction. That means a doorknob can’t be used on a front or inside door. Why? To make it easier for a person with a disability to open doors and turn on faucets. The city removed old Art Deco doorknobs from doors in the historic city hall built in 1936. (See Kovels Komments April 2, 2014)

6. March 5, 2014: $12 Jug Sells for $100,000

Janice Morris wasn’t excited about the weird 5-gallon jug her husband Robert bought in a junk store 40 years ago, but she kept it in their house. In spite of children, kicks, and mishandling, the big black jug – in the shape of a man’s bust dressed in formal clothes and hoop earrings – showed little damage. It’s marked “J.L.,” the initials of a now famous post-Civil War Alabama folk artist named John Lehman. Robert gave the jug to his granddaughter, who learned the jug was valuable. A Birmingham museum that features Alabama pottery purchased the 1870s jug for $100,000. (See Kovels Komments March 5, 2014)

7. Feb. 26, 2014: Ball Mason Anniversary Fruit Jars

A series of limited edition Ball Mason fruit jars were made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Perfect Mason fruit jar introduced by Ball in 1913. The vintage-style blue pint jars resemble the originals, but have the words “100 Years of American Heritage/Made in U.S.A.” embossed on the sides. In March the blue jars were discontinued and replaced by green jars in pint and quart sizes. Limited Edition Ball Heritage Collection jars are still being sold. (See Kovels Komments Feb. 26, 2014)

8. May 7, 2014: Bottle Found With Oldest Message in a Bottle

The world’s oldest message in a bottle was pulled out of the sea by a fisherman in April 2014. The brown beer bottle was found in the Baltic Sea near the city of Kiel, Germany. Inside the bottle was a postcard with a message asking the finder to return the postcard to the bottle owner in Berlin. The International Maritime Museum traced the bottle to then 20-year-old Richard Platz, who threw it into the water in 1913. The bottle was shown to Platz’s 62-year-old granddaughter and is now being studied to see if the rest of the postcard can be deciphered. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the previous record was for a bottle with a message dated 1914 that had been in water for nearly 98 years. (See Kovels Komments May 7, 2014)

9. April 9, 2014: Found! A Fortune in the Kitchen

In Italy a Paul Gauguin painting and a Pierre Bonnard self-portrait hanging in a kitchen for 40 years were identified as stolen from a London residence in 1970. A retired Italian factory worker, owner of the paintings, bought them 40 years ago at an auction of items abandoned on a train. He said he is happy to have had the pleasure of living with them and was “proud” of his taste in art. It was learned that the paintings were originally owned by Mathilda Marks, an heiress to the Marks and Spencer fortune. She was married to an American, never had children, and she and her husband had both since died. After a good faith effort to find anyone with a legitimate claim to the paintings, an Italian court awarded ownership to the retired factory worker who says he is interested in selling the Gauguin and keeping the Bonnard for sentimental reasons. (See Kovels Komments April 9, 2014)

10. Jan. 8, 2013: Latest Investment Among Chinese Collectors

Chinese investors are not buying as many extremely expensive porcelains as they were a few years ago. Their newest “hot” investment, in fact, is not in the art market at all—it’s food. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese are investing in a rare fungus that sells for more than $11,500 a pound. It’s nicknamed the “Himalayan Viagra.” (See Kovels Komments January 8, 2014)

About, created by Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel, provides collectors and researchers with up-to-date and accurate information on antiques and collectibles. Kovels’ Antiques was founded in 1953 by Terry Kovel and her late husband, Ralph. Since then, Kovels’ Antiques has published some of America’s most popular books and articles about antiques, including the best-selling “Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide,” now in its 46th edition. The Kovels’ website, online since 1998, and free weekly email, “Kovels Komments,” give readers a bird’s-eye view of the market through the latest news, auction reports, free online Price Guide, a Marks Dictionary, readers’ questions with Kovels’ answers and much more.


SMU’s Pollock Gallery to present artworks by Kristen Cochran

'Soaked (indigo),' hand dyed paper, 30x22 inches, 2014. Image courtesy of Pollock Gallery, SMU

DALLAS – The Pollock Gallery of the Division of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present the exhibition “soak stain bleed bloom” from Jan. 31 through March 21.

This exhibition by Meadows School alumna Kristen Cochran (M.F.A. ’10) features a series of lush mixed media drawings on paper and a site-specific soft sculptural intervention. The installation includes physical traces of a fluid studio process, and Cochran considers its symbolic implications. For instance, actions such as soaking, staining, bleeding and blooming were a part of the process that produced the art objects included in the exhibition, but these actions also imply bodies, objects or architecture in a state of abjection.

“Kristen has been producing some really powerful work since she graduated from SMU. She has this amazing ability to push a material and a site to its limits to reveal strange and wondrous visual qualities,” said Noah Simblist, chair of the Meadows Division of Art. “She has also been incredibly active, showing both locally and nationally. After a studio visit this summer I saw a great opportunity to showcase one of our outstanding alumni.”

The opening reception of “soak stain bleed bloom” will be held Saturday, Jan. 31 from 6-8 p.m. with the artist in attendance.

The artist Kristen Cochran is from the Pacific Northwest. She moved to Texas to complete her M.F.A. at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in 2010. She has exhibited her work in Texas, Arizona, the Pacific Northwest and New York, and has works in private collections in Italy and London. In Texas, Cochran has exhibited at the Dallas Contemporary art museum, Talley Dunn Gallery, Blue Star Contemporary, Central Trak, Oliver Francis Gallery, Barry Whistler Gallery, Eastfield College, the University of Texas at Dallas and WAAS Gallery and has participated in the 2011 and 2013 Texas Biennials in Austin and San Antonio. She has been awarded residencies in Long Island City, N.Y., and Mittersill, Austria, and more recently received a Jentel residency in Wyoming. Cochran presently teaches drawing and sculpture at the University of Texas at Dallas and has taught at SMU, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

The Pollock Gallery is located on the first floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 214-768-4439 or visit


‘Charlie Hebdo’ issues attract astronomical bids after terror attack

The French satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' has never been exclusionary in the nations, political parties or religions it spoofed. On the cover of this issue, former US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney proclaims, 'For a really white White House!' The background sign says 'No vote for immigrants.' Fair use of a low-resolution image under guidelines of US Copyright Law

PARIS (AFP) – Within hours of a terrorist attack that decimated the staff at Charlie Hebdo, copies of the latest issue of the satirical French weekly were drawing bids of more than 70,000 euros ($82,500) online.

The 60,000-print run of issue number 1177 sold out nearly instantly following the assault on the magazine’s headquarters that killed 12 people, including some of its top journalists.

By midday Wednesday, scores of the three-euro magazine bearing a cartoon likeness of controversial French author Michel Houellebecq on its cover were popping up online at astronomical prices.

Of the more than 80 ads offering the issue on eBay, some were available for immediate purchase at up to 50,000 euros ($58,938).

“Rare, latest issue Charlie Hebdo,” said one advert.

Charlie Hebdo has already announced it will be back next week with a one million-copy memorial edition in response to the global outrage over the massacre.

Bids on some editions had gone over 70,000 euros, but as winners of eBay’s auctions can back out, there is no guarantee the money will come through.

In addition to the recent copies, people were offering some of the satirical paper’s other notorious issues, including the November 2011 edition that prompted a firebombing of its offices.

That issue titled “Charia Hebdo,” with an image lampooning the Prophet Mohammed on the cover, had at one point received bids that topped 14,000 euros ($16,500), which the seller promised to donate to helping victims of the attack.

When contacted by AFP, eBay said it can’t stop people from being interested in a certain type of item.

“It’s a tragic event and it’s drawing lots of media attention, which encourages curiosity. The more people are interested in something the higher auctions go,” an eBay spokesperson told AFP. “It’s this curiosity effect that we can’t do anything against.”

However, the company reserves the right to pull ads that violate its terms of use.


Cold case: Caddo Indian artifacts stolen in 2006 still missing

An example of a highly engraved Caddo pottery vessel found in Arkansas, but not one of the stolen items. Image courtesy of archive.

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) – Caddo Indian artifacts stolen in 2006 and valued at $100,000 remain missing, and the theft is a mystery. The FBI is still investigating the 2006 theft of Caddo Indian artifacts stolen from Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

No arrests have been made, FBI Public Affairs Specialist Deb Green said recently from the FBI Little Rock field office.

The 26 Caddo Indian artifacts, which date to 1500 A.D., were reported missing in August 2006.

The items were taken between May and August of 2006.

No one had been in the locked room where the artifacts were stored all summer. It was a secure area of the building and was not checked every day, according to published news stories and law enforcement reports.

No prior publicity about the artifacts had been published, and the pottery was still boxed.

The thieves had to go through four locked doors.

Someone apparently had a key, because there was no evidence of a forced entry. The storage room had 40 vessels, but only 26 were stolen. The pieces stolen were the best examples of Caddo Indian pottery.

The Caddoan works were discovered in 1980 along the Red River in Lafayette County while Army Corps of Engineers employees were working on a river containment project.

While excavating the area, an ancient Caddo Indian burial ground was uncovered.

Each piece was unique because it was handmade. The thieves selected whole pots, not fragments or vessels reconstructed from fragments. They date to the mid-1500s, when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was in Arkansas.

The theft is a federal violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which make it illegal to possess or traffic stolen Indian artifacts.

After studying the artifacts for more than two decades, the SAU archaeologists were preparing to turn the items over to descendants of the Caddo Indians who live in Binger, Okla.

Anyone with information regarding the artifacts should call the FBI’s Little Rock office at 501-228-8403.

Occasional emails or phone calls are received by Dr. Jamie Brandon, archeological survey research station archaeologist at SAU in 2006, telling tell him about a Caddo pot being found and asking if it’s part of the stolen property.

“Every now and then, I will receive an email or phone call, and they will say, ‘We’ve found this pot and wanted to know if it was some of the missing pots.’ It won’t be,” Brandon said.

“The FBI is stretched out, and the amount of time that has passed is a problem. In the grand scheme of things, the FBI priorities have more pressing issues,” Brandon said.

“We’re not going to be high on the list when we have hard-core war on terror,” he said.

“Sometimes they will call after seeing something on eBay or pottery has been found in a drug raid and they want to know if it’s pottery stolen at SAU. They will forward a photo to me to see if it might be part of the stolen pottery, but it hasn’t been,” Brandon said.

“We will see the pottery again and probably in someone’s personal collection, and they may not even know it’s hot,” Brandon said.

Someone may inherit the pottery and not know the monetary value. The grandchildren may inherit the pottery and then discover it might be stolen, he said.

Brandon is now the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station Archaeologist for Northwest Arkansas and a Research Associate Professor at University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. In this dual position, Brandon works with graduate students and teaches anthropology courses for University of Arkansas Anthropology Department.


Information from: Texarkana Gazette,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-07-15 1643GMT

Campers let the good times roll in their vintage travel trailers

1965 Airstream Caravel trailer. Image courtesy of archive and John Moran Auctioneers.

RUSTON, La. (AP) – There’s nothing fancy about Debbie Click’s 1952 Vagabond travel trailer. Its dull, gray exterior finish is chipped and scratched, except for the large slogan hand-painted in purple: “Laisser les bons temps Rouler.”

Let the good times roll, the English translation of the Cajun French axiom, is exactly what Click and other area vintage travel trailer enthusiasts try to do at least every three months. The group spent the New Year’s holiday camping at Lincoln Parish Park.

“I grew up camping,” said Click, of Ruston. “My dad and I camped forever – tent, pop-up, Winnebago. I’m just a gypsy at heart.”

The trailer buffs informally call themselves the Airstream Group because most of their rigs are Airstream models. To qualify as vintage, a travel trailer must be at least 25 years old.

While some of the 15 rigs at the New Year’s outing featured original interior woodwork and fixtures, others had been gutted and modernized. Almost all have microwave ovens along with the traditional tiny cooktops, dormitory-size refrigerators and bench-style couches that unfold into beds.

Ruston resident Sandra Hart’s 1966 Aristocrat even has what she calls a walk-in closet.

“You can walk in and out real quick,” Hart said, opening a slim door to reveal a compact yet functional closet with both hanging space and floor storage.

Though Hart has kept the original aqua appliances and silver kitchenette walls, she’s updated the lighting – her trailer’s old bullet fixtures are now in Click’s rig – and personalized the décor. A wooden plaque just inside the rig’s door reads “Live Your Dream.”

For group member Harold Park, of Vienna, the vintage trailer dream began in the 1970s when he bought his first rig “just to go camping with the guys.”

Now, Parker and his wife, Elena, own seven vintage trailers, including a 16-foot long 1960 Airstream Pacer they salvaged from Hurricane Katrina. Harold Parker spent about a year restoring the trailer.

It’s outfitted with satin curtains, paisley upholstery couch cushions and old-fashioned hardware, much of which Parker, a self-proclaimed antique connoisseur, located on his antiquing excursions.

“This is just too much fun,” Parker said about the camping group, as he walked from rig to rig in a cold afternoon wind to greet fellow campers. “You meet the best people.”

Parker stops at Becky and Harold Lemaire’s red-and-white 1969 Northstar named “Lil Caye-nne.” The Lemaire’s are from Lafayette and are former neighbors of another couple in the group.

“It’s just friends, companionship, a love of camping and good food,” Becky Lemaire said.

Some in the group do campfire cooking while others bring items for progressive-dinner style meals. The New Year’s lunch, held at one of the park’s pavilions, featured the traditional fare, complete with black-eyed peas.

Many of the trailer enthusiasts say their love for camping stretches back for decades and extends into the future.

Pee Wee DeForest, of Bastrop, owned a trailer for about 40 years, but it sat unused much of that time.

“After 15-20 years of sitting in the dust, I decided to repaint it,” he said.

He wants to take his 13-foot, all-fiberglass 1962 Boler down the historic Route 66 that stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif.

Yet he and other group members say it’s the people they meet wherever they travel that makes the hobby fun. In February, the group will travel to Eunice for the town’s annual Mardi Gras celebration.

“It’s just a group of friends, and we keep gathering friends as we go different places,” Hart said.

Camper Jan Norwood, of Ruston, said the allure is camaraderie, nostalgia and the chance to enjoy the outdoors, yet be comfortable in the simple but efficient tiny homes on wheels.

“It kind of brings you back to your childhood,” she said.


Information from: Ruston Daily Leader,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-06-15 1750GMT