DISPLACED “The Search” O.K. Now I need to find a boat . I wanted to find a 30’ – 36’ boat for this project. The boat needs to have been affected by Katrina. At this point I still did not realize what I was up against. I thought that there must be many boats out there that would fit the bill. I started to look in the newspaper, I looked online. I walked the piers of many Marina’s on the South and Northshore of the Lake. I called Auction houses and Boat Brokers. One day mid-May I happened to make the right phone call. I had Jay Smith, an avid sailor and boat broker on the line. I told Jay what I was looking. A sailboat of more or less these dimensions that had been through the storm. “Listen, I deal with boats that sell for half a million and UP. “What is your budget?” Several moments of silence followed. “Three to five thousand dollars”, I replied. “What do you plan to do with this boat?” It was then that I told him that I was going to put in on my roof. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?” responded Jay in a concerned voice. I told him, “ Yes, you heard me right.” After several more moments of silence I then told Jay of my Project for the Arts Council and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. I want to put a symbol on the rooftop of my highly visible Downtown Studio and home. It is going to be a symbol of all things thrown into turmoil by the storm. People displaced, all things displaced. Jay, was hooked. He was truly touched by the story I wanted to tell. He said that he would help me find a Boat. A boat that would help tell this story. Over the next months I visited many Marinas on the North and South shores. I saw boats half submerge, abandoned. I saw some boats in boat yards where they sat in their cradles with obvious signs of going through great distress in the Storm. I felt great sadness on these long searching journeys. I felt as if I were walking the halls of an orphanage. As if I were looking for someone to take home and take away from all of the hardships they had seen. Two weeks later, almost unexpectedly I found a Boat. Maybe this was the one I had been searching for. I was immediately drawn to her and had a great desire to find out more about her. The owner of the yard complied and told me her story. She came from Alabama originally, but after sailing on the Lake and the Gulf Coast for more that twenty years she called New Orleans it her home. Her name was “Bottoms Up” She was a sleek 29 foot, Jeaneau, built for racing. She was beautiful, fast and fun. She had known several owners over the years and everytime she changed hands she felt a bit sadden, but not for long. She was always rewarded with new love. She was treated well by all. They had fun with her. Good times. Long weekend sails were her favorite. Open water. Gulf winds and full sails. Memories made. One day in late August, more that three years ago, she was moored at Southshore Harbor when the rain began to bear down hard on her deck. The wind pushed the water into the the Lake and as the water rose her mooring lines could not withstand the stress. The lines that tied her broke and she was set free. This freedom was frightening. She smashed against other vessels like herself. Her mast snapped like a toothpick inbetween ones fingers. This chaos seemed that it would never end. Her deck was a tangled mess of metal wires and rope. Finally, when the water receded she could see that in some way she had been spared. She was still afloat where many others had sunk to their watery graves. When the air cleared and life started to trickle back, she found herself at Auction. Her owner traded her in cash from the Insurance Company. She was brought to the Boat Yard where she stayed suspended in her cradle for more that a year. Someone from up North had purchased her. He was a sailor that craved her type. She longed to be loved again. She would be repaired. Her wounds mended. With a little love, a little make-up , she would be back. Beautiful, Fast and Fun. That was not to be. Luck was not with her. Her new owner never even got the chance to see her. He had died unexpectedly in an accident and his father told the Marina that they no longer had any interest in the Boat. He told them “Just get rid of her”. Once more she felt lonely and abandoned. She feared that her end was nearing and feared that she would not feel the water under her ever again. She would not ever be loved again. Jay would check in with me every week or so letting me know what he had found on this particular day in late August, he called and said, “I have found The Boat for You”. I was a bit hesistant to even look at another boat at this point but I made plans to meet him the next day at the Municipal Yacht Harbor. She was an impressive figure. A ketch with two masts. She was built in the 1950’s and she was wooden. A beautiful woman with a few wrinkles here and there. Those wrinkles only increased her charm and beauty. She was a boat that you would see in a magazine or in a Children’s story book. I was infatuated. Unfortunately, after much study on the part of Jay and myself it was decided that she was unusable for the Project. She was too Heavy. I was saddened by this and felt as though I had abandoned her. A New Beginning I had already been in many places, to see boats of all kinds. Boats with varying degrees of damage, due to the Storm. Jay was calling or emailing from time to time to tell me what he had found. They always seem to end up being too Big, too small, too expensive or too damaged by the water that entered them. My thoughts turned again to “Bottoms Up”. After hearing her story, I had fallen even more for her. She had the scars of a battle fought hard with Katrina. She was injured but she had survived. She was New Orleans. She was now to become a Symbol. She will represent all of the boats who were affected by the storm, all of the people who lost their lives and their homes all of us who found ourselves in places that we never dreamed of being. Displaced. She is now An Artwork, Fast, Beautiful and still Fun.