Annette LaRue......   :, Tattooer    ...,, Lady  Pimp.... Certified Laser specialist...., Trail Guide,....                  Urban Survivalist... Entertainer...                                                                                                                                      and   all around  Badd Ass

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Here are some articles that have mentioned me.

50 Tattoo Artists You Need to Know

By Complex Magazine

These days, it's more common to have a tattoo than not, and as changing societal norms make it acceptable for even the most clean-cut crews to be inked up, more and more folks are going under the gun. Since tattoos literally last forever, why not dream big? If you had unlimited funds, time, and travel budget, who would be the artist to put a permanent stamp on your skin? Hopefully it won't be Miley Cyrus...

Make sure to do some research before getting inked permanently, by checking out different types of lettering and the artists who are on the come up. If you want to get a new tattoo, put some money away to make sure it's done right, and consider one of these 50 Tattoo Artists You Need to Know before you go in.


#4 Annette LaRue

Location: Various

When we asked about her style, Annette said, "I love traditional tattoos and paying customers!" She's old-school, and as the proprietor of New Orleans' Electric Lady Land, she brings over 20 years of experience to the table.


By Lisa Marie with Matty Jankowski

As we drove along the Gulf Coast, we weren't sure what to expect. It had been almost a year since Hurricane Katrina left its indelible mark on the region and the city of New Orleans, my second home. Matty and I were traveling with friends. Though Katrina had a significant impact as far east as Mobile, three hours away, the I-10 corridor seemed to recover swiftly. Gulf Coasters have a great deal of practice picking up the pieces and moving on, especially following some extremely active hurricane seasons. The billboards that hadn't blown over delivered one of the few signs of hope. The Beau Rivage casino was hiring for all positions and the insurance companies spoke of solidarity and rebuilding.

About midway through Mississippi, we began to see evidence of the sheer force of Mother Nature. Entire forests were bent over and their roots exposed. A shrimp boat had washed into the sawgrass lining a canal, taking with it a family's livelihood. But even hard-hit Slidell was somewhat back to normal. Then we came to the 24-mile bridge that spans Lake Pontchartrain, one of the bodies of water that spills into the city, heading into New Orleans East. About a third of the bridge was temporary, replacing the large sections carried away by the water.

Slowly, a ghost town developed before us, with cars sunk into canals and piles of debris waiting to be hauled to a final resting place. New Orleans East was devastated. Both the Inter-Coastal Waterway levees and the Industrial Canal levee gave way, leaving four feet of water for days. Continuing along, we passed the Circle Food store in the now infamous Ninth Ward, an area that Matty and I always enjoyed. Here you could get fresh produce and gold teeth under one roof. Now, it's the sobering image in the American Red Cross ads, water cresting to the top of its arched entryways.

Finally, we made our way down the curling exit ramp to the French Quarter (Vieux Carré). We breathed a sigh of relief. Construction workers were everywhere, working hard to repair the city water system and the streetcar lines. The streets were full of activity and, although some windows along Canal Street were still boarded up, the area seemed almost normal. It was an amazing feeling being back, as all of the nervous anticipation washed away. We made our way down Bourbon Street (the street is open to vehicles during the day), which was bustling with the last of the Jazz Fest visitors. Our home for the next few days would be the Chateau Hotel. Wrapping around a lush center courtyard and pool, the various sections of this venerable home have been divvied up into welcoming rooms within walking distance of all the French Quarter sites.

After a hearty Italian dinner at Mona Lisa's, we finalized our plans to check on old friends. We noticed a girl walking by with a fleur-de-lis tattooed on her shoulder, the symbol of New Orleans. It made us smile. Aside from the opportunity of seeing the Revolting Cocks, Ministry and Pitbull Day Care at the House of Blues, this trip was about seeing how the local tattoo artists were faring since the storm, especially with so many of their loyal clients scattered throughout the country.

Beginning the day with a classic breakfast of beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde, we dusted off the powdered sugar and nosed around some of our favorite French Quarter haunts, like Peligro, a great folk art gallery. Then we made our way up to the House of Blues to pick up our tickets. Al Jourgensen (Ministry and Revolting Cocks) and the rest of the troupe were just exiting the tour bus, and stopped for a quick chat. He shared that the entire crew had been saving their money for spending in New Orleans, hoping to help in some way.

We then made our way to Magazine Street, a funky, artsy avenue that runs from the Garden District to the University area. We made a quick stop at Crescent City Tattoo to visit with Cornbread, Scraps and Kimmie. New Orleans was dubbed the Crescent City for the way it wraps around the Mississippi River like a crescent moon. This vibrant shop weathered the storm with little damage. Unable to enter the city, Cornbread and the gang had spent the first three weeks after the storm working at Addictive Arts just outside of Atlanta. Though Cornbread had his machines with him, the guys at Addictive Arts generously gave him everything he needed.

The next day, we stopped in to see Annette LaRue at Electric Ladyland on Frenchman Street in the Faubourg Marigny, the neighborhood on the east side of the Quarter. When news of Katrina finally reached the Ladyland troupe, they were in San Francisco winding up a convention. Three of the crew stayed behind to run the shop, but, just to be safe, took on the well-rehearsed task of boarding up the store, along with Annette's home, just blocks away. Stuck on the other side of the country for weeks, with only three days' worth of dirty clothes, Annette was almost entirely cut off. But she knew her crew would be all right. They had run through all of the preparations for the shop, just for such occasions. But you can't plan for bedlam. "They always thought I was going overboard keeping cases of canned pineapple juice for hurricane season," says Annette. "With no access to water, they think it's a very good idea now." Strangers offered jobs, clothes and places to stay, and Annette's cell phone rang off the hook with people wanting to know she was okay.

One of those calls, however, was terrible news. Cameron Sweet, an artist at Electric Ladyland who commuted from his home on Biloxi Beach in Mississippi, had lost everything. At the last minute, he and his wife decided to evacuate with just a couple of suitcases. Except for a handful of pieces at the shop, everything at his house had been crushed by waves of water. Then came another shock. The second location of Electric Ladyland, uptown on Carrolton Street, had collapsed. The uninsured building held up against the damage from the water, wind and rain as long as it could, but finally gave way.

Back in NOLA, the chanting hum of generators was the mantra of the marked. The shops opened with skeleton crews, burning the midnight oil, pushing ink. Rescue workers, day laborers and locals alike lined up for fleur-de-lis.

Reports trickled in that Electric Ladyland was doing all right. It was trying to deal with life, mounting garbage and few resources, like running water and grocery stores. Annette's team, including Dave from uptown, worked until all hours of the night tattooing locals and the multitudes of military and rescue groups. They all wanted a souvenir, to prove that they were there. The Fire Department Maltese Cross and the hurricane symbol were very popular choices.

Meanwhile, uptown, Cornbread and the crew, who are always happy to create custom work, kept busy marking their customers with fleur-de-lis and the infamous crosses the search and recovery workers spray-painted on the doors of their homes.

About five weeks after the storm, Jacci Gresham was finally allowed to come back to survey the damage of her shops, Aart Aaccent Tat-2 and Aart Aaccent'sTat-2 Kitchen. She was staying at her second home in Picayune, Mississippi, about 55 miles away. All of the bridges had been damaged and had not been cleared to reopen. In order to get to her shops, Jacci had to drive first to Baton Rouge and then double back east to New Orleans, a 150-mile commute one way. First, she saw the trash, the mud in the streets, the houses twisted around and the cars astride electrical poles. Wires littered the streets like spaghetti and there were no traffic lights. Making her way to Rampart Street, on the North side of the Quarter, she found Aart Aaccent in decent shape. The roof in the back was missing and the ceiling dropped but, although there was some water damage, everything was basically intact.

The Tat-2 Kitchen location in the Ninth Ward was another story. With her shop on the first floor and apartment on the second, Jacci lost both her home and part of her business, in a matter of moments. The building was still standing, but the shop was under ten feet of water for more than four weeks. Everything on the lower level was destroyed. The collection of world-wide reference books she gathered over the last 30 years had turned to mush, along with all of her irreplaceable sketchbooks. Jacci did not have flood insurance.

With help from the owner of Renegade Tattoo in St. Bernard, Jacci opened the Rampart Street location on generators. St. Bernard, just outside of New Orleans, was nearly wiped off the map and he and his wife stayed with Jacci in Picayune. Bringing food, water, supplies and gas into town with them each day was the only way to survive. Jacci started advertising that the shop was open, by making signs on the debris. When the long, daily drive through heavy traffic on one-lane roads in the heat proved too much, they began sleeping in the shop.

From day one, business was booming. Images of the Superdome, silhouettes of the state of Louisiana, even the numbers 504 (New Orleans area code) were frequent requests at Aart Aaccent. Some were getting memorial pieces done for loved ones lost in the storm. Each client had a story to tell, whether it was walking through contaminated water, escaping through the attic or staying in the Dome without food or water. The skin changed and the tattoos changed, but they had all been a part of the horror.

We headed out to Kenner on Airport Highway, part of Greater New Orleans, to catch up with Doc Don. Though it was nearly a year after Katrina, we encountered long stretches of road without working traffic signals and fields of FEMA trailers. As fellow archivists, we were greatly concerned about Doc's amazing collection of tattoo memorabilia that fills the three stories of his Victorian home. We had heard that parts of Kenner had also flooded, when water rose from its canals. Don evacuated, taking his machine collection with him, moving everything else up to the second floor and saying a prayer. While staying in Arlington, Virginia, Keepsake Tattoo and Waverly Ink gave him the space and materials he needed to keep working. Doc Don and his wife, a doctor at Tulane Medical, were able to return after about a month. Their house had weathered the storm, needing only minor repairs to the roof. But the store about two blocks away had water damage to the ceiling and floor. Yet, Don's was one of the only shops to open in the area, and he was slammed with non-stop work for the next four months. Currently training to be a Southern Baptist minister, he found tattooing after Katrina to be a way to help heal the spirit of his clients. He eventually took three weeks off to repair the shop and rest.

The Big Easy ain't. At least not these days. It's hard work scrubbing the stains that wrap around everything like a chair rail. Highway ramps across from the Superdome are emblazoned with 30-foot-long graffiti reading ESCAPE, with the letter E morphing into an arrow pointing out of town. Many of the city's great institutions are at risk of vanishing, including Marilyn Manson's favorite, the Barrister's Gallery. It's work convincing some tattooists to stay and others to return. Most shops are working with a third of their regular staff, if they're open. Jason Boatman came to help Annette after leaving for Little Rock, Arkansas, where he kept busy tattooing Katrina evacuees. One of Ladyland's crew couldn't find it in his heart to return to New Orleans. Months later, he has made a new life for himself on the West Coast. His Louisiana landlord tossed all of his possessions on the street, including his firearms.

Although funding has been made available to many of the displaced artists of the region, Annette was refused because tattoo artists are not classified as artists. Plus, flood insurance is the only coverage for most of Katrina's destruction. FEMA money has long run out and the billions of dollars released by the federal government to the Gulf Coast states has yet to trickle down, a topic of discussion so popular that it has been dubbed "Blanco money," named for the Governor of Louisiana. Maybe the laid-back attitude that earned the city the title "The Big Easy" is exactly what has allowed these people to focus less on what has happened and more on their resolve to recover and rebuild.

It will be years before New Orleans recovers, but Jackson Square's facelift gives a squeaky clean background to the diehard artists and performers who are still performing and showing their wares. From Jazz Fest classics to the House of Blues Sunday Gospel Brunch and even Ministry, music is back with a bang. Bourbon Street, once again, has our favorite burgers sizzling on the grill under an American-made hubcap at the Clover, and there is a cloud of powdered sugar in the air at Café du Monde. Still the best way to start or end the day.

Like Jacci says, "We don't care if we have a week or a lifetime, we'll take whatever we can get!" Come hell or high water, only the strong survive.

*Note: Although we only visited with affected tattooists in the New Orleans area, we have not forgotten the difficulties that lie ahead for other Gulf Coast artists. Places like Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, were completely destroyed, and tattooist Cheryl Cline lost everything, as did many others. But there is one magnificent sign of hope: we'd like to congratulate Tattoo Tommy Echols from Aart Aaccent on the birth of his daughter, who safely made it into this world a few days after Katrina made landfall. Her name is Autumn Raine.

Aart Aaccent Tat-2
1041 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
(504) 581-9812

Crescent City Tattoo
4800 Magazine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
(504) 269-8282

Tattooing by Doc Don
3807 Airline Drive
New Orleans, Louisiana 70001
(504) 833-0190

Electric Ladyland
610 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
(504) 947-8286

No matter where you call home, in this day and age, anything can happen. Even to you. We've gathered some words of advice to help you prepare for the worst. Prepare your business as well as you prepare your home. Start with the basics and make sure to cover all your bases.

Know your insurance. Keep copies of your policies in a waterproof pouch inside a fireproof box or safe. Annette LaRue suggests looking into a separate policy rider to cover your contents. This is especially important for anyone who leases a location. A video inventory of the shop can be a handy helper if you actually have to make a claim. Another option to consider is "Loss of Business" insurance in addition to your other policies. This type of policy helps to fund your business, when you can't actually be open for business.

Keep backup copies of important documents in another location such as a safe deposit box. A digital backup of your accounting files can be easily stored away on CD ROM. This is also a great way to protect all those hours of work you've done building your portfolio. Sketches can be scanned and photos copied onto a disc for safekeeping, even from sticky fingers. Jacci will never be able to replace the sketchbooks she lost.

Create a plan. While it may sound a little cheesy, making sure you've discussed what to do in an emergency is vital. Everyone should have contact information with them for someone else. Keep in mind that communications may be affected by anything from a forest fire to a flood to a crisis like 9/11. Forwarding calls before evacuating can help both your co-workers and clients keep in touch with you. A vendor contact sheet can help you replace supplies lost and get you up and running more quickly. Although Annette was thousands of miles away, her crew was able to hold down the fort thanks to their annual dry run of their emergency plan. In fact, one New Orleans tattoo shop left behind their apprentice to watch the shop, while the others evacuated. He was later rescued from the roof.

One more thing: Stock the shop with emergency supplies. While you are surrounded with first aid materials, bottled water and non-perishable food should also have a corner in your supply closet. There will always be a stash of canned pineapple juice at Electric Ladyland. Take as much of your equipment with you as possible. Though it’s not worth risking your life, replacing equipment can be difficult and is one of the biggest expenses of disaster clean-up.

Although a trip to New Orleans would be the ultimate way to show your support, for some, that's just not practical. So, here are a few suggestions. Remember, it will take years for the Gulf Coast to recover and they need all the help you can give.

Simply putting money into the economy helps support the rebuilding efforts. Buying products like T-shirts and flash from the area tattoo shops is a great start. Handmade gifts from local artisans and galleries are plentiful, and fabulous music from independent labels can be found through Louisiana Music Factory. You could even hold a Mardi Gras party, complete with all your Bourbon Street faves. Hurricane and Hand-Grenade drink mixes can be ordered, along with muffulata salad, pralines, chicory coffee, beignet mix and even voodoo goodies. For every dollar spent in New Orleans, five more are created.

As we left, we asked everyone what we should tell people. The unanimous answer was, "Come visit!"

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