In Memoriam: New Orleans artist Johnny Donnels, 84

French Quarter Cottages, watercolor and India ink painting by Johnny Donnels. Courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/New Orleans Auction Gallery 3/29/09 auction catalog.

French Quarter Cottages, watercolor and India ink painting by Johnny Donnels. Courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/New Orleans Auction Gallery 3/29/09 auction catalog.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Johnny Donnels, who won acclaim for his pictures of the people and places in New Orleans’ French Quarter, has died. He was 84.

Cheron Brylski, a close friend, said Friday that Donnels fell outside his Desire Street home last week and broke his hip. He died Thursday, March 19.

Donnels had a gallery near Jackson Square for more than 50 years. He lived in the Quarter for most of his life, and was playwright Tennessee Williams’ neighbor in the 1940s.

His work, chronicled in a 1999 book, has been exhibited at the Kennedy Center, Harvard University, the Ford Times Collection of American Art, the National Academy of Design, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Historic New Orleans Collection.

Although he was a renowned photographer, Donnels began his career as a painter.

For a time, he worked as a police sketch artist. In the 1960s, Donnels bartered a painting for a camera, and a career change followed.

AP-ES-03-21-09 0723EDT

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