Monday, February 3, 2014

Abita Mystery House, Abita Springs, Louisiana

We went to the craziest place today - they call it the Abita Mystery House & Museum.  It's a fun roadside attraction.  For over 10 years people have walked through the maze of buildings that include a vintage gas station, a hot sauce house, a big exhibition hall, and the beautiful House of Shards. Maintained by artist/inventor John Preble, whose inspiration came from the Tinkertown Museum in New Mexico, it offers thousands of folk art objects ranging from miniatures, to pottery, to Louisiana-themed sculptures like Darrel the Dogigator (half alligator, half dog) and Edmond the Allisapien (half alligator, halhomo sapiens).  Using 1000's of found objects, and home made inventions, artist John Preble created an incredible mini town that pokes fun at Southern Life: Mardi Gras parades, UFO landings, voodoo fortune tellers, oil refinery plantations, alligator wrestlers, and Cajun chefs. It was really fun to tour this place.

Originally called the UCM Museum until its official name change in 2007, the house entrance is a vintage gas station, with filling pumps and bright decor, which leads to open air sections, the main exhibition hall, a ninety-year-old Creole cottage, and the House of Shards, among other attractions. The Mystery House is unique in that it bears a particularly odd aesthetic, drawing alternative crowds with an eye for the strange. John Bullard, director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, has even gone as far as saying that the Abita Mystery House is the "most intriguing and provocative museum in Louisiana."

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