Tears for Our Lady

I watched in horror on my computer screen as the grand spire on Notre Dame tumbled, surrounded by flames. Like thousands of others, I felt my heart break to see the grand old lady, smoke billowing around her, glow in the orange light. Immortalized by Victor Hugo in his Notre-Dame de Paris (Americans know it as the Hunchback of Notre-Dame), it is one of the most beloved structures in the City of Lights. Its history is long. Napoleon took the emperors’s crown there in 1804. Joan of Arc was beatified in the church in 1909.

It is literally at the center of Paris. Just a few paces from the cathedral’s entrance is Point Zero from where all the distances are calculated.

During my fourteen years there, I’d pass the cathedral on my way to the Left Bank. My painting buddy and I would meet in front and then continue on to one of the bridges where we’d set up our easels and paint. I usually tried to capture the intricate ?rose? of stained glass on the river side. I never succeeded.

Let me offer few of my visual memories of this iconic landmark, in my own pictures and sketches, to celebrate Our Lady. She will never be the same. But, like all grand ladies, she will always be remembered, she will always be Our Lady of Paris.

Doug Cushman
Doug Cushman is a former Redding artist/author who now lives and works in Paris. He was born in Springfield, Ohio, and moved to Connecticut with his family at the age of 15. In high school he created comic books lampooning his teachers, selling them to his classmates for a nickel apiece. For more information about his books or to contact him, visit doug-cushman.com.
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