During the summer of 2014 I learned about an event called La Fete which is held yearly in one of my favorite places, New Orleans. La Fete is a convention of sorts for Face painters, body painters, balloon artists, body paint models and entertainers in general. We come together in a group environment and share skills, tips, secrets, frustrations, business advice, personal advice and some really great authentic Louisiana cooking. 2015 was my first year in attendance and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had.
The Fete happens to fall right around St. Patricks Day so we all attended the parade as a group and watched floats, performers and men in kilts move down the French Quarter in an effort to entertain the patrons. They were adorned with beads which are a NOLA tradition and all you had to do to earn them was stand and look pretty and receive kisses on the cheek from very attractive Irish Men (seriously!) I was quite pleased with the assortment of shiny beads I went back to the hotel with and I promise my morals were not compromised in the process...well they were a little with the garter belt I received ;-)
I met so many other people who do what I do and learned some very valuable lessons about my industry. We stayed up late nights talking, painting & eating. I had the opportunity to participate in my very first group body paint experience which proved to be both challenging and rewarding. Our model was a little firecracker named Angela Hutchinson. She is a dancer, choreographer and all around magnificent entertainer. She stood for a total of six hours and allowed us to do whatever we needed to turn her into a masterpiece. At the end of "The Fete" I honestly felt like I had a whole new extension to my family.
I had the ability to roam the French Quarter and explore some of the most popular attractions in the city. We were provided a guided tour by NOLA native, Magic Mike the magician (not the exotic dancer) and told all about the very unique history of this magical city. I look forward to maintaining so many of the connections that I made in New Orleans. This experience was yet again confirmation for me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.