Maury Drummond, a Hammond doctor, said
that only in recent months has his mother taken up the paint brushes she
put down about 15 years ago.
Friends and family describe Sylvia
Rochester as a Renaissance woman -- a former Peace Corps volunteer, artist,
author and soon-to-be retiree.
She relocated about six years ago to a
house a stone's throw from Bayou Corne near Belle Rose, north of Morgan
Rochester spends much of her time
searching out landscapes for her bayou-themed paintings and dreaming up
romantic fiction set in south Louisiana. She said her solemn bald cypress
oil paintings, minutely rendered to the fibers of Spanish moss, sell well
both at her Web site and at a Baton Rouge gallery.
The swamp in Sylvia Rochester's back yard near Bayou Corne is where she
boats, fishes and finds inspiration for her cypress-themed paintings.
"I've always been one who wanted to
just do it," Rochester said, laughing. "I should have been in the
Rochester attributes her refound
enthusiasm for both painting and writing to the idyllic setting at her
Bayou Corne house -- in a complex of small streets, with names like Gumbo
and Sauce Piquante Lane. The area is home to many former Baton Rouge
"She was all over that bayou and the
Atchafalaya Basin real soon after she moved down there," said
Rochester's sister, Flavia Wright, a sixth-grade sciences teacher at
Parkview Baptist School. "She took me out into those waters and I was
lost five minutes after we left her house. But she already knew her way
…Rochester said her scenes and
inspiration come from the swamps….
"I love it!" Rochester said
even as Tropical Storm Isidore bore down on her bayou backwater in
September. She was riding out the storm, of course.