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The French Quarter: A Love/Hate Relationship

One of the first questions I get when people find out I'm from New Orleans is "Don't you just love to hang out in the French Quarter? Do you do that every weekend?" My relationship with the Quarter is very much a love/hate one. I love the atmosphere of the Quarter. I love the fact that there is always live music to listen to no matter the time of day (or night) and I love the cast of characters just walking the streets. I love having my fortune told in Jackson Square and I love seeing all of the different artwork on displ[...]
wheelchair

The Process of Getting a New Wheelchair

Because I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, it's extremely important that I use a wheelchair that is not only stable but supports my crooked body in all the right places so that I don't break a bone if I hit a bump. My body is not standard. I have bends in all the wrong places, so my seating system has to be completely custom to be comfortable and effective. I have to be physically able to reach the controls and push all the buttons. It's important that every detail of my chair is tailored to my need[...]
school inclusion, high school

The Importance of School Inclusion

Last year, I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of teachers about the benefits and importance of the inclusion of disabled kids in mainstream schools (school inclusion). By the time I was three years old, my parents started looking into pre-school options for me because I was driving them crazy! I was smart and curious, and I wanted everyone to bring me everywhere so that I could see EVERYTHING. I was bored all the time. I obviously needed something else to stimulate my brain, and my poor parents were exhausted.[...]
Lexie, Katherine's Service Dog

Meet Lexie, My Service Dog

Meet Lexie, my 7-ish year old sheltie/border collie mix and trained service dog. We rescued Lexie about five years ago from the Gulf Coast Sheltie Rescue in Pensacola. She had been found five months prior running on the interstate with a child's leash attached to her, had heartworms, and knew absolutely NO manners or obedience. Though we did not want a puppy, we basically got one in adult form. She barely even knew her name. Originally, I wanted to get Lexie into competitive dog agility. It turned out that Lexie was p[...]
wheelchair

Lessons in Wheelchair Etiquette

First and foremost, don't assume someone in a wheelchair has a mental disability. Like me, there are many, MANY people in wheelchairs who are completely aware of what is going on around them and chances are they understand exactly what you are saying about them even if they are physically unable to respond.  Most people in wheelchairs are not deaf. I don't know why, but a lot of strangers have this innate need to speak loudly and slowly to me when they first meet me. It's true that I do have a little hearing loss, bu[...]
painting, art

Why Not Art Full-Time?

Katherine, your real gift is in art and painting. Why don't you do that full-time? You would make a fortune! First, no I wouldn't, trust me. Ever heard the expression "starving artist?" Well, there's a reason for that! Very few artists make a real living from their art. Most of them have a "day job" or have some other source of income to supplement. In most cases, except for maybe the lucky few like George Rodrigue, if an artist's work is going to become truly valuable, it's not until after they've died. I mean, what is the[...]
Katherine's early art

Why I Got Into Art

When I was little (in the younger sense as I am still little in the physical sense), I drove my parents absolutely bonkers. Because I didn't have to learn to crawl or walk, I learned to talk very quickly, and was speaking in full sentences at ten months old. Ordering people around came as a natural skill, and I was bored all the time. That got a bit better when my mother insisted that my doctor help us get my first motorized wheelchair when I was two, but when I didn't have something to keep me occupied, I got cranky. Eve[...]
looking up

Looking Up…

So what's with all this "Looking Up" stuff you ask? I graduated with a BA in graphic design from Loyola University New Orleans in 2011. The guidelines for our senior thesis were short and sweet: Create a project that you can display in the class show at the end of the semester that only YOU can create. We had to present three potential ideas, then our professors helped us choose the best direction. My professors encouraged me to create something that visually showed my unique perspective. We toyed with a poster series,[...]