Around Jefferson: Art auction showcases priest’s works _lowres

Photo provided by Our Lady of Divine Providence Church - The Rev. Michael Mitchell, pastor of Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Metairie, will have a show and auction of his work as a fundraiser for the church and school at 7 p.m. on June 4 in the parish’s Bahan’s Center.

This year, the Rev. Michael Mitchell will celebrate 10 years as a priest. But long before he ever thought about entering the priesthood, he was an artist.

“When I was a junior in high school, I won first place overall in dry media in the St. Bernard Parish Art Fair for a portrait of my older brother,” said Mitchell, a native of Violet in St. Bernard Parish. “It was done using vine charcoal on newsprint paper. So you see, I’ve been an artist all my life.”

His love of art and his dedication as a Catholic priest will coincide next month at a special art show to benefit Our Lady of Divine Providence Church where Mitchell serves as pastor.

There will be 50 original pieces of Mitchell’s work on display and up for auction at 7 p.m. on June 4 in the church’s Bahan’s Center, 1000 N. Starrett Road in Metairie.

All proceeds benefit Our Lady of Divine Providence Church and School. The parish is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

“Much of the artwork I do is based on photos that I have taken over the years,” Mitchell said. “A lot of the animal artwork is from photos I took at Audubon Zoo. I also work a lot with colored pencil, but I also do oil pastel, acrylic paint, pen-and-ink, chalk pastel and pencil. And all of these mediums are in various sizes and will be displayed at the show on June 4.”

Mitchell worked as a graphic artist from 1975 to 1977 as a soldier in the Army stationed in Washington, D.C. After studying fine art at ULL, Mitchell then earned a degree in education from LSU in 1980.

“Almost all of the electives I took at LSU were art courses,” Mitchell said. “After I graduated, I worked for a company in Metairie doing graphic art. Then, in 1982, I got a job teaching art and coaching basketball at my high school alma mater, St. Bernard High School.”

Following his teaching job, Mitchell moved to Florida where he worked in art and computer graphics. He moved back home to Violet in 1993 and began doing computer graphics and then 3D computer animations for Court Cases in New Orleans. And then in 1999, he entered Notre Dame Seminary to study for the priesthood.

“I generally make computer prints of a lot of my artwork for family and friends,” Mitchell said. “I have also donated the prints, matted and framed, to various fundraisers to organizations such as Notre Dame Seminary, the Woman’s New Life Center, St. Michael’s Special School, St. Andrew’s Village, Dumb Ox Productions, St. Andrew the Apostle’s School, St. Christopher School and the Divine Providence school fair.”

For more information about the June 4 event, call Mitchell at (504) 466-4511 or email him at

Car show Sunday

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation will again sponsor its annual car show from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday along the Al Copeland Meadows inside Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie.

In addition to more than 150 custom cruisers on display, there will be food, refreshments and arts and crafts. There will be live music by Dustin Galle, the Prescriptions and The Top Cats.

Admission is free. No outside food or refreshments will be allowed.

For more information, call (504) 836-7285 or visit

Alliance meeting

The Jefferson Chapter of the Alliance for Good Government will meet at 7 p.m. June 4 at the Harahan Senior Center, 100 Elodie St., Metairie.

The guest speaker is John Burkhart with the Louisiana Public Defender System.

For information about this meeting or the Alliance, call Jamie Balser, chapter president, at (504) 812-1332.

Fishing rodeo

The second annual Gretna City Park Fishing Rodeo, open to children 12 and younger, is Saturday.

All participants must be accompanied by an adult. Cash prizes will be given to those with the largest strings of fish.

Registration is $10 per person and the event is limited to the first 100 participants. There will be food, refreshments and door prizes.

Check in will be at 3 p.m. near the Bellevue Park Gazebo, which is at the intersection of Lafayette Street and Gretna Boulevard.

For more information, call (504) 363-1597.

Bromeliad show, sale

The River Ridge Bromeliad Society will hold its annual show and sale from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Clearview Shopping Center, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions. Admission is free.

For more information, call (504) 467-6415.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at or by calling (504) 430-8053.