I needed to call her and interview her for Chick Ink, and I really only needed answers to a couple of questions, but Ms. Gresham was so delightful and friendly, I found myself asking more and more, not really wanting to let the conversation go. She said that a lot of people regard her as "Grandma," which is easy to understand - not just because she's a hearty sixty-years-old, but because she exudes that warm-but-stubborn grandma-like charisma, even over the phone.
Before Hurricane Katrina, Jacci Gresham had two shops in New Olreans, but one was damaged beyond repair and they have not been able to return. Now she commutes fifty miles each day, through unending construction and over temporary bridges, just to get to work at her French Quarter studio. Business boomed at first following the hurricane, but once the FEMA money ran out and reality sunk in with a lot of residents just struggling to survive, business has slowed down for Ms. Gresham and her fellow artists.
There really isn't a point to this blog except to share the history of an amazing woman and to say how much I enjoyed speaking with her. And if anyone is wondering what happened to her, the crew, and the shops due to Katrina, I thought I'd pass that along as well. It's too bad they don't have a website, but if you're in New Orleans, pay Aart Accent a visit and please give Jacci "Grandma" Gresham a hug from me!