MOXY HOTELS New Orleans
Set in an unassuming, glass-fronted building a 2-minute walk from the nearest streetcar stop, this relaxed, industrial-chic hotel lies a 6-minute walk from lively bars and nightclubs along iconic Bourbon Street. Slick rooms and 1-bedroom suites have minimalist decor, and offer flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and desks. Upgraded suites feature living rooms with sofabeds. A buzzy cocktail bar operates as a cafe in the morning and a restaurant at night, and serves light bites 24/7. There’s also a gym, and a contemporary, open-plan lounge/library.
Address: 210 O’Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112
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MOXY HOTELS
As part of Marriott International’s Luxury + Lifestyle portfolio of brands, Moxy Hotels boldly reinvents the select service hotel experience to fully embrace today’s millennial traveler. The brand has opened hotels in New Orleans, Tempe, Milan, Munich, and Frankfurt so far.

My experience at the hotel began with a cocktail right at the front desk, which doubles as a bar. Moxy’s Bar Manager, Jonathan Nunez, and I chatted sours, snaps, brambles and dreams of growing sugarcane and making rum all day. About his menu and bar concept, he says, “The drinks people were having in the 1800s were amazing… We’re developing the cocktail list here using old world New Orleans ingredients and liquors that have been around for ages, but people may not necessarily know about.” As for the front desk and bar, it’s “a welcome to New Orleans—this is what you’re going to see. Any hotel bar in a place that is just dripping with it’s own separate culture as New Orleans is, needs to function as an introduction to what you’re going to experience out there.”

Upstairs, the guest rooms follow the lobby’s aesthetic with an innovative and flexible design, making space a priority. In the spirit of “form follows function,” the walls become the closet by utilizing contemporary wooden coat hangers to both store and display your favorite garments before a dinner at the New Orleans institution Commander’s Palace. Also stashed on the walls, you’ll find sleek folding chairs for friends who need a decompression session after a night at the jazz clubs on the famous drag of Frenchman Street. From your bed you can look out the Moxy’s massive windows onto the lively streets of New Orleans, or close the sheer curtains and cozy into the minimal-yet-functional and extremely aesthetically pleasing locale of your own room.

The Moxy front desk staff (who, by the way, are also the in-house bartenders) were quite possibly my favorite part of the hotel. Come Sunday afternoon, the spirited and welcoming attitude of Moxy left me wishing I had booked a one-way flight. If I brought a bigger suitcase, I don’t think I would have left this gem of a hotel in the city where, in the words of Paul Simon, “The people sing and play / Where the dancing is elite / And there’s music in the street / Both night and day.”

Moxy invited me down for a weekend at the their new location to document my stay and visit with local artists that you can read about below.

REBECCA REBOUCHE
Rebecca Rebouche is a native Louisanan living and working in New Orleans. She creates nostalgic, emotive art out of paint, mixed media and stitched soft sculpture; a practice best described as contemporary folk art. Her work represents the beauty of the natural world and the mysteries of human nature.

Rebecca Rebouche

Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?

I’ve always had a rich imagination, so growing up I loved movies and books. Writers like C.S. Lewis really showed me it was possible to invent entire worlds. While I’m still very imaginative as an adult, my influences tend a bit more toward the natural world. I love naturalists like John James Audubon and Maria Sibylla Merian, along with chroniclers of the human condition like Anaïs Nin and Dan Eldon with their journals.

How would you describe your style?

Frida Kahlo meets Marc Chagall, in the swamps of South Louisiana.

How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?

In the summer of 2007, while traveling with a friend, I met some people who were full-time artists. I was a graphic designer working in advertising at the time. I saw how those artists were living and it inspired me to make my life similar. I think I decided then and there that I would pursue this life.

How does it feel to have opened your own studio? What was the process like?

I think, while it’s a luxury, it’s very important to be able to separate your work from your home life when possible. Opening a studio allows an artist to do that in a way that gives incredible value to the body of work you are making. If it’s not just a hobby, it shouldn’t be treated like one. It’s a career, and having a proper studio space to pursue that career is a necessary gift you give yourself. I feel like I’m perhaps always in search of the perfect studio, because there is no such thing. I’m grateful that from the very beginning I made it my mission to be able to work anywhere. So, now, even though I have a nice big proper space to focus on my work, what I bring to that space is a real sense of tenacity and vision for how to do actual work. That clarity is something you make inside of you, it doesn’t come with finding the perfect studio space.

How do you feel about the rising creative scene in New Orleans?

New Orleans has always been a complex hub of creativity and personal expression. I feel like the city is finally getting her due in terms of recognition for the unique glue of swampy magic and multidisciplinary freedom encased in this island-like place. It’s inspiring to see your own community reflected back to you from the faces of people the world over who are looking in with awe and understanding. It’s rewarding to see my fellow artists rising to a level of sophistication we used to think you had to leave here to achieve.

ASHLEY LONGSHORE
Ashley Longshore is a Louisiana based painter and entrepreneur. She is a self taught pop artist and the owner of the Longshore Studio Gallery, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Longshore’s work focuses on pop culture and American consumerism.

Ashley Longshore

Where are you from?
I am from planet earth but I think in a past life I lived on Planet Bedazzle where people never lost their childlike sensibilities to play and imagine.

When did you start making art?

I started making art when I was three or four, but I was such a wild, high-spirited child that my family always had me in dance or theatre. They didn’t think I could sit still enough to paint, so it was surprising when I really dove into this at 18.

Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?

I have always been drawn to wild characters. I was obsessed with Phyllis Diller and Zsa Zsa Gabor when I was little. I loved David Copperfield and magic. I would foam at the mouth when the Muppets came on. I was never into Barbies or fairy princess stuff. I loved Wonder Woman and how she could kick a guy’s ass! I have always loved the outrageous character, the misfit, the different one in the crowd. I would cut all my Barbie’s hair off and cut one leg off and set up the dating game with Skipper and a regular Barbie but Ken would always choose my Barbie. I guess that makes me a weirdo but I like the underdog, the wild child. I am currently influenced by all of the brave people who are putting their originality out there! It’s such an incredible time to be an American, especially an American woman. We have so much opportunity. My mentors are all entrepreneurs, business women and mothers… They are the true Wonder Women!

How would you describe your style?

My style both personally and in my art is all about a statement. My art is not for the collector who wants something to match their Fortuny pillows. It is for the love of color, beauty and humor. My fashion style is Rick Owens sneaks, Ashish sequin jogging pants, black shirt and 4 strands of Chanel pearls and of course massive sunglasses. I love Mercura and also the collaboration with Linda Farrow.
In one collection, my paintings explore my love of nature, beauty and strong female icons. In another collection, I explore status, greed and being an American woman.

How do you feel about the rising creative scene in New Orleans?

New Orleans is and always has been a creative hub for all types of artisans: chefs, musicians, sculptors, writers and painters. There is a raw, bohemian, decadent vibe that is intoxicating. If you surrender to it, it will carry you like a baby. And it will for sure make you crawl home like one!

Brandan Odums

BRANDAN ODUMS
Brandan “Bmike” Odums is a visual artist and filmmaker based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Odums, known for his activism and political street art, gained much attention after his first solo show ExhibitBE. In 2016 Brandan opened StudioBE, a permanent exhibition space welcoming hundreds of visitors a week.

When did you start making art?

I was always a creative person, drawing in elementary school, taking art classes in high school. I didn’t start creating as a full time artist until about 3 years ago. 

Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?

I was always influenced by those doing meaningful things. My parents made the foundation of what it looks like when you serve others with love. As an artist I was always influenced by those who used their gift as a vehicle to speak their truth. 

How would you describe your style?

Its influenced by what I see in the street plus what I learned in school. It’s a mixture of responding to the concerns of my community and hopes of how things could be. It’s about creating freely and truthfully. 

How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?

I didn’t really formally make the decision, in a lot of ways it was made for me. The people responded to the work I was doing, and that response created a demand. 

What’s your story of getting started as an artist?

I started painting because of spray paint, and because of a certain abandoned housing complex, and a project that became known as #projectBE. I found myself there painting often, not knowing anyone would ever really see. Once people did take notice and I took notice to the power that art has, it unifies people and challenges people. That captivated me and challenged me to keep going.

How does it feel to have opened StudioBE after the success of Exhibit Be? What was the process like?

Studio BE is an attempt to fully create pulling from all the lessons learned at project be and exhibit be. It was a big learning process not only as an artist but as a business. Studio Be is an attempt to create a sustainable project that has the ability to grow. Thirty-five thousand square feet of art is an ambitious attempt, but creating was an amazing ride. 

ARIANA LEON UBERTI
Ariana Leon Uberti is an artist from Venezuela. Her colorful illustrations are inspired by fantasy worlds and connected universes. Uberti is the selected artist of Moxy’s #BlankCanvas campaign.

#BlankCanvas
The Moxy’s #BlankCanvas campaign is a rebellion against the concept of traditional hotel art and an initiative to engage and support emerging artists from around the world. Works by selected artists will become a part of the permanent contemporary emerging art collection at each Moxy Hotel. The #BlankCanvas program will continue year round at each hotel in collaboration with local art programs, studios and collectors. Expect to see fresh and edgy art lining the walls of the lobby while you sip your cocktail, grab a local craft beer or get cozy in the library with a good book.

Arianna Leon Umberti, Moxy #BlankCanvas Artist

Where are you from?

The garden city Maracay, Venezuela.

When did you start making art?

Since I was little I liked to draw anytime, anywhere. I remember I had a table for painting in the car which had small compartments where I could save paper and colors. It was my obsession.I started to make my own art and define my own style four years ago.

How does it feel to have been selected as the artist in residence at the Moxy? What was the process like?

Amazing. I never expected it. I’ve always had faith in every line and drawing that I do, but being selected was far beyond [that]. I am very grateful to the entire team of Moxy and Marriott Hotels, all the panel of judges, especially to Diana Pavlov who had to endure my bad English all this time. I am so grateful to Talenthouse. It seems incredible that a group of people can create a platform that serves to drive the dreams of others. They work to make people happy and to enable them to reach their goals. It’s very nice to feel recognized for something you love to do.
I have been a member of Talenthouse since 2010, but had never participated in any contest. I moved to Spain in October, 2015, and while I was going from one job to another, started to enter different Illustration web contests. I saw the contest of Moxy and it caught my attention immediately. I researched the hotel and fall in love. So I said: You’ve got nothing to lose! Just try. Believe in yourself.
Those few months [of waiting to hear back] were eternal. When I received the good news, I cried so hard, of happiness of course.

How do you feel about the rising creative scene in New Orleans?

New Orleans is amazing. In every corner you turn, a song is playing or there is a person dancing in the middle of the street. I like their style, their crazy vibe. I was able to walk [around the city] for two days, to get on the bus and reach the hidden corners, and there was not a moment that did not surprise me. A city [that allows you to] be in constant motion and [pursue] artistic growth is a city with great potential to get creative.You want to draw it, know it and walk it. And if you really don’t want to walk around, you can always walk into any bar for a drink and recharge the batteries. Believe me, something strange, artistic and different is always going to happen here. It’s unique.