Moon Over Bourbon Street by Mary Ellen Simmons

Moon Over Bourbon Street

Mary Ellen Simmons

Johnson City, Tennessee, USA

Artist Statement

The idea for this quilt is three-fold.   The initial inspiration came from having lived in New Orleans for six years at two different times, a gritty city I grew to love.  The second inspiration came from the bluesy jazz song “Moon over Bourbon Street” by Sting.  Lastly, unknown too many, NASA runs the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. I remember the sights, the feel, and the sounds of New Orleans.  Living there was a textural and a sensual experience.

I went to the French Quarter frequently to walk up and down its streets, to eat the wonderfully unique food, to hear the unforgettable music, often on moonlit evenings. This quilt attempts to capture the atmosphere of an evening on Bourbon Street and is a representation of a memory of the street musicians in the French Quarter.

For the moon and sky I selected fabric to represent bright evening with a glowing moon. I chose smoky fabrics to reflect the time-worn look of the buildings and the hazy light from their windows.  I chose black fabric, with muted swirling colors to represent the rich swirling sounds, for the silhouette of the jazz musicians as they strolled the street. These hazy and gritty selections blend well with the melancholy sounds of the song.

In summary this composition represents the assembly of the rich sounds, sights, and atmosphere of a night on Bourbon Street.


The quilt was machine-pieced with some fused applique, and machine quilted.


100% cotton with one piece polyester blend and Rayon thread.