Artist brings New Orleans culture to the ArkLaTex - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Artist brings New Orleans culture to the ArkLaTex


Walking around her living room/ art studio, Karen La Beau shows off works of art featuring some very popular New Orleans traditions. La Beau moved to the Shreveport area after Hurricane Katrina struck nine years ago on August 29. 

"We were actually in Houston when Katrina hit," La Beau said. "We went to Lafayette because I had family there, and we were going to try to settle there, but it was crowded. We had family in Shreveport, so my dad suggested to come up here." 

The thought of coming to the ArkLaTex was definitely amusing to La Beau. "Shreveport? Really? But we came up to Shreveport, and it's been a great move. It's been really good for my art."

La Beau always drew and painted, but not professionally. To battle depression in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she started an art project called "My Life on Canvas."

"So I painted things from New Orleans that were special to me- memories and part of our culture to give Shreveport a taste of it."

She has been giving Shreveport a "taste of New Orleans" for the past 9 years, because her life on canvas eventually evolved to include her life here in Shreveport as well. While her paintings show most of the "good times rolling" in South Louisiana, they still can trigger painful memories.

"For anybody, wherever they're from, if they left their home and they're watching this disaster unravel, just to watch it cover everything that you knew as your existence and not knowing will it recover, if it will recover- it was horrifying."

She is now embedded in the arts community. By living in the Highland Cultural Arts District, she can sell her work from her home gallery without having to pay taxes, a sweet deal for her customers as well. While the circumstances of coming to Shreveport were catastrophic, remaining in the area gave La Beau the chance to share a little piece of home. 

"I do think that the New Orleans residents that stayed in Shreveport added a lot of culture to the city," she added.

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