Smith takes on N.O. icons at Jean Bragg

New Orleans artist Will Smith Jr. recently premiered his second solo show at the Jean Bragg Gallery of Southern Art on Julia Street.

Titled IcoNOLAgy, the show is a colorful homage to past and present New Orleans icons.

Smith’s subjects include famous historical figures Jeanne d’Arc and Marie Laveau, as well as characters from the city’s more recent history such as Ruthie the Duck Girl and musician Ernie K. Doe.

The artist also included works inspired by local entertainer Chris Owens and chef Leah Chase. Both Owens and Chase attended the artist’s opening reception in the city’s arts district.

Smith is a native of Natchez, Miss. He has called New Orleans home since 1999. For more information on IcoNOLAgy, visit http://www.jeanbragg.com.

Running under the oaks

More than 2,000 participants turned out this past weekend for New Orleans City Park’s annual Celebration in the Oaks Run/Walk.

Many runners donned colorful and creative holiday wear for the 2-mile trek through one of the most beautiful parks in the country.

While the weather outside was much more delightful than frightful, the springlike temperatures on race day didn’t detract from the infectious holiday spirit.

Now in its 25th year, the event attracts families and groups of friends who seem to adopt the run/walk event under the oaks as part of their annual holiday tradition.

All participants are treated to a post-race party and a private walking tour through Celebration in the Oaks’ stunning light display at sunset.

There’s also a special treat for the little ones when Santa Claus takes a break from his workshop to join in the event’s festivities.

The annual race/walk is hosted by East Jefferson General Hospital, which is joined by several corporate sponsors who work together to produce this popular family event.

“Our collective goal is to raise awareness for the importance of physical fitness in a healthy lifestyle,” East Jefferson communications director John Sartori said.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds generated by race entry fees are targeted to support fitness programs in area schools,” he said. “Some of the funds are also dedicated to New Orleans City Park.”

If you missed the race this year, mark your holiday calendars for next year.

Remember, there’s still plenty of time to view the park’s Celebration in the Oaks light display. For information or tickets, visit http://www.neworleanscitypark.com.