A long-time resident of Minden, Louisiana, Michael was born in Shreveport to Judson Harper and Betty Beazley Harper. The son, who owns a car dealership, came by his skills naturally. Judson remained in the automobile business in both used and new cars most of his life. Michael grew up working on his dad's used car lot on Texas Avenue in the 1960s. He also worked at an Oldsmobile and Cadillac dealership where his dad was a minority owner. The elder Harper later bought a dealership in Minden. Michael went on to partner with a GM dealer in Many, then became sole owner of that dealership. "It's just in our family" he remarks of the business. In his spare time Michael hunted doves and quail, squirrels, rabbits and ducks. He attended a high school called Jesuit (now Loyola College Prep) where he graduated in 1969. Michael was in college at the University of South Louisiana when his number on the second draft lottery turned up an unlucky 13. Knowing he was bound for service, he eventually took his physical, withdrew from school, and enlisted on 3 March 1971 in Shreveport. To read the entire bio, click the link above.
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The Norton is sorry to announce that it is discontinuing its First Saturday Tours in order to focus our energies on other special events like our upcoming Valentine's Day celebration: "The Art of Love", 13 February 2015. Stay tuned for announcements of these special activities and remember that we welcome you to visit the Norton regularly to enjoy our outstanding permanent and visiting collections as well as the beautiful botanical gardens.
Showcasing the best college talent in Louisiana! Louisiana River Arts 2015 College Art Contest invites all Louisiana college students to compete with their peers from across the state. This competition will showcase a selection of the best works being created by today's college students in our great state.
For centuries, writers have drawn inspiration, and often characters and plots, from the narratives of the Old and New Testaments. The story of the birth of Christ and the holiday created to commemorate it in particular have inspired numerous works from time-honored classics like Dickens' A Christmas Carol and O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" to dusty,half-forgotten gems like Owen Wister's A Journey in Search of Christmas and Irwin Russell's Christmas Night in the Quarters.
Children's literature, as we think of it, began with the English printer John Newbery in 1744. Newbery came up with the idea of writing and publishing little books specifically for children. Over the next fifty years, he and his successors produced some two hundred books aimed at that particular audience. The market grew through the 19th century with works that mostly bore moral lessons and abjured children to behave in a certain way. Then, toward the end of the century, writers and publishers began to realize that the most popular books inclined toward pure entertainment, particularly those that were well illustrated.
Many people own work by Peter Ellenshaw and aren’t even aware of it. If their personal movie collection contains works from the great films of Alexander Korda, the renowned works of Powell and Pressburger, or the entertaining movies of Walt Disney, odds are good that they own some Ellenshaw.
Interior of a Cathedral
by Hippolyte Sebron
Our opening article this month featured the new barrel vault in the Norton's South Wing Corridor. In that article, we mentioned the fact that barrel vaults gave way to groin vaults during the Gothic period in Europe. And, luckily, we have a wonderful painting of just such groin vaults in Hippolyte Sebron's Interior of a Cathedral. A remarkably versatile artist, Hippolyte Sebron was born in Caudebec, France, but certainly didn't stay there. As a young artist, his first significant job was as a co-painter of Louis Daguerre, creating dioramas - extremely large and long canvases which were unrolled on a stage with a light behind them to produce a primitive "moving picture". As Daguerre's partner, he traveled throughout France, Great Britain, and Ireland. On his own, he became known as a painter of ruins and church interiors in Europe, like Interior of a Cathedral. These were strongly influenced by the Dutch Old Masters; many of the elements, from the perspective conferred by the checkerboard floor design to the play of light and shadow are derived from Vermeer. This reflects the traditions beloved in Academic painting. To read the whole article, please click on the link above.
Featured This Month:
One of the earliest signs of Spring's impending arrival, is Forsythia bursting into bloom. The Forsythia is a fast-growing deciduous shrub hardy in USDA zones 5-8. Depending on the variety of Forsythia, it can vary in size from a compact one-foot plant, to others reaching 8 to 10 feet in height. Forsythias make excellent informal hedges, or may be planted as an individual specimen. The branches can be cut and brought into the house in late winter. In a week or two, you will be treated to an extra early flower bouquet. Forsythias thrive in full sun or light shade; will grow in almost any soil. While they are tolerant of the poor growing conditions, they will perform best when given well-drained soil and full sun. By the end of winter, most gardeners are longing to see a few fresh flowers and, one of the easiest ways to have a few winter blooms is to force a Forsythia branch. The best branches for forcing are those near the top of the plant - the larger the buds, the more quickly they'll bloom indoors. Cut a whole branch all the way back to the stem. Trim any buds and side branches from the area of the stem that will be submerged in the water. Recut the stems at a long slant and place them in a vase of cold water in a cool place for two days. Set the vase in a sunny window, and in a few weeks, you will have a golden bouquet to brighten your day. These branches may root, if left in the vase for several more weeks.