Short Takes: February/March 2019


Courant Wireless Charging Accessory Tray

Courant Wireless Charging Accessory Tray Wireless charging perfected. Courant products feature cutting edge hardware and premium materials designed for seamless integration into your daily life. If you have a smartphone from the last year or so, chances are that it supports wireless charging. But phones don’t usually come with wireless chargers, so you’ll have to invest in one yourself.

That’s where the Courant wireless charging accessory tray comes in because it’s a leather-bound tray that has a Qi wireless charging pad built in. The other side of the tray is a good spot for your keys, wallet, headphones or jewelry. You can buy one in black, white, ash, or bone colors for $175 on Amazon. All products are designed in New York City.


Hot Off the Press

The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison.

A new nonfiction collection by Toni Morrison–a rich gathering of essays, speeches and meditations on society, culture and art, spanning four decades.

The book is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11, the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr. and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin.

In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s)” and human rights.

She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself.

And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars.




Feb 13. Local Color: Photography in the South – Morris Museum Exhibition. Local Color, an exhibition of more than forty works drawn from the Morris Museum’s permanent collection, explores the special role that color photography has played in the history of Southern photography since it was first popularized by William Christenberry and William Eggleston.

The exhibition also features work by John Baeder, William Greiner, Birney Imes, Jim McGuire and Meryl Truett, to cite just a few. The work of these artists focuses on the beauty to be found in the ordinary and the everyday, documenting the unique characteristics of their native or adopted region, its people, its landscapes, and its aging architecture. Visit,

Feb 16. Wet Paint Party & Art Sale – presented by the Greater augusta arts council at Sacred Heart Cultural Center. The Wet Paint Party and Sale, Augusta’s most colorful art party. Where outfit models with authentic vintage flair and local artists sell their original art in a beautifully staged party. Everyone (over 21) is invited and welcome to join Augusta’s vibrant artist community.

The event is free for members of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, and non-members may join at the door. Visit, www.




New Orleans, Louisiana

Laissez les bons temps rouler. In recent years, the old New Orleans has come roaring back with a fury, declaring herself a multicentered city of rich, idiosyncrasies and is finally enjoying a resurgence.


What to Do

The New Orleans Museum of Art.
As impressive a slice of culture as you’ll find in the South and a world-class facility that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, New Orleans Museum of Art is a must-see on most visitors New Orleans itineraries, and deservedly so.

The building itself, set back in City Park, is imposing and grand with its alabaster walls and Greco-Roman columns. There’s also a beautiful five-acre sculpture garden, with artwork beneath magnolias and Spanish moss-laden live oaks. Inside, the collection is equally impressive, with French and American art and traveling exhibits that feature everything from fashion to digital media. It remains one the South’s most impressive fine art collections.

National World War II Museum. Contextualizing a huge global event like World War II is no easy task, but through large narrative exhibits that include very detailed, personal accounts from eyewitnesses, the museum manages to do just that.

The Spotted Cat Music Club
If Frenchman Street is home to the city’s best jazz, the Spotted Cat is its epicenter—a small, kind of rundown bar that comes alive each night as old-school jazz plays on.

Expect to hear brassy quartets and quintets, clarinet solos and big voices and swing when the Cotton Mouth Kings come by. Cram in and stay for more than one set.


Where to Eat

Beignets at Cafe du Monde
There’s a reason these are a classic. Pair them with a cup of cafe au lait for the ultimate New Orleans experience.

Oysters Rockefeller at Antoine’s

Not only has Antoine’s been serving classic French-Creole cuisine since 1840, the storied Creole Palace also invented Oysters Rockefeller. Finishing off your meal with the kitchen’s famed Baked Alaska is a must.

Bananas Foster at Brennan’s.
Invented at Brennan’s but offered at many restaurants, it’s a dessert to savor. You’ll watch an expert server prepare the dish before your table if you order it at Brennan’s and the cooking demo includes fire, and lots of sugar.

And it’s a perfect end to Breakfast at Brennan’s. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true when it involves brandy milk punch, Brennan’s signature Eggs Hussarde and Bananas Foster.




Alex Foltz with Foltz Studio

“My earliest inspiration was my step father, he is an artist in his own right, and he took the time to mentor me for a while when I showed interest,” says Alex Foltz. “He taught me a bit about portraiture and the basics of drawing.”

Finding most of his inspiration from within rather than with formal education, Foltz continues, “Other than that, I’m self taught. I had an opportunity to attend school at SCAD, but decided instead to focus on my own studies, and I’m pretty happy with that decision. I’ve been a portrait artist professionally for about five years now, and business is growing all the time.”

Relocating to Augusta with the intention of expanding his business, Foltz says, “I’m pretty fresh to the area. I moved here just under a year ago so I haven’t had a ton of development locally, but I recently participated in a small show downtown and a couple of weeks ago, I placed finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s Members Only Competition with my piece, “The Artist” and was chosen over 1,200 entries.”

Reflecting on his recent award and accolades, Foltz says, “I’ve  applied to dozens of shows, events, and competitions, and every one has been a bust. I could have thrown in the towel on those types of events by now, but I didn’t, and recently the pieces came together…I didnt expect much, competing against some of the best portrait artists in the world, but surprises never cease to pop up…”

Moving forward Foltz shares, “Coming up, I have a solo show at 600 Broad St. in downtown Augusta. It runs the whole month of March, managed by 4P studios. The opening reception for that show will be First Friday of March from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.”

For the upcoming year Foltz continues to expand and reach a wider audience. “The goal for the future is really just outreach, trying to let people know that I’m here, and that I’m selling work and taking portrait commissions. I had to pick up a part time job while I set a foundation in the area, but the hope is to get into the studio full time as soon as possible. I’m always looking for competitions and shows to enter, so that’s been keeping my schedule full. But overall, I’m just excited to see what I can do here In Augusta, and find out what the area has in store, he says. A lot of being an artist professionally is being patient, and using your failures to push forward. I dont have a degree, or any real art training, and for my entire career my goal has been that if I keep improving, my work would speak for its self.”




Matt Blackwell

Matt Blackwell is an Augusta native, the single father of a six-year-old son, William, and the General Manager of Barnes & Noble at The Augusta Mall. Matt has done the impossible job of making a corporately owned big-box bookstore feel like a locally run shop and goes out of his way everyday to make sure his fellow Augustans have a wonderful place to hang out, spend their time, and always leave with a welcoming feeling —not to mention a few good books.   

Bookstores are important cornerstones of thriving communities. Seeing that you run one of only two in the area, how do you manage to keep B&N relevant? Barnes & Noble is a place to find solace, a place to get away from the humdrum of life in general and escape for a few hours.  A place to enjoy the smell of new books or a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie in peace and quiet—to just sit down, relax, and thumb through a real, physical book or magazine. It’s a timeless feeling in this fast paced digital world of ours. I strive to maintain relevance through children’s story time weekly, author-based events, and involvement in the Augusta-Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Name something in Augusta you simply could not live without? The humidity. No, all joking aside, I’ve got to go with the Augusta National. It’s storied history and landscape is unmatched. And that feeling you get every year when you walk through the gates for the first time just can’t be beat.

If there were a soundtrack to your life, what would be your theme song? Don’t Stop Believin by Journey.  Simply stated, no matter what life throws at you, no matter how bad it gets, keep your head up, stay optimistic and don’t stop believin’.

What is something Augusta is missing and could really benefit from having around?  Being that we are the epicenter of the golfing world, I feel like there is a market for Top Golf.  Either that, or an In and Out Burger.

What’s the last really good book you read?
I’m a historical fiction fan and my most recent literary entrée was the Poldark series by Winston Graham.  I highly recommend the TV adaptation as well.

Article appears in the February/March 2019 issue of Augusta Magazine.

Have feedback or a story idea? Our publisher would love to hear from you!

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RSS Augusta Magazine’s Front Porch

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    In this episode we sit down with the one and only Ramblin' Rhodes. We intended to talk about music history and the history of Augusta, but as many front porch conversations, it took a turn. It was a good turn.
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