Q & A with our Newest Editor, Laura Chassaigne!
Melissa and I are so excited to welcome Laura Chassaigne as our new Contributing Editor! As she is in the final stages of obtaining a PhD in Archeology, she will be our resident arts & culture correspondent. In addition, Laura will be sharing events and other exciting happenings around town.
Full disclosure: she is my sister!
To kick things off, we decided to sit down with Laura and have an informal interview.
Natalie Kurtzman: So, Laura, you are back in Boston after 12 years away. Are you happy about it?
Laura Chassaigne: I am incredibly happy to be back! It has been amazing to be close to family again, and to rediscover the city.
NK: So where have you been anyway?
LC: I went to university at McGill, in Montreal, and then did a Master’s degree in London, England. I went back to McGill for a PhD, and spent a little more than a year in Paris for my research. I am writing my dissertation from Boston.
NK: Briefly, what is it you study?
LC: I work on very early symbolic material. My PhD research focuses on objects from France with regularly spaced lines and dots, dating from between 28,000 and 40,000 years ago. Although I have spent a lot of time working in prehistory, I am fascinated by the whole human story, especially through the lens of the symbols we use to express ourselves.
NK: In your free time, what do you love to do?
LC: I love yoga – I actually just finished the yoga teacher training program at Kripalu, in the Berkshires. It was an absolutely amazing experience. I also really enjoy painting, drawing, knitting, and I am starting to learn how to sew. I like creative, tactile, hobbies.
NK: OK, 12 hours in Boston – what do you do?
LC: Boston is so walkable – strolling around the city and exploring would be a perfect day to me! In the morning I might wake up to banana pancakes at The Paramount and then take a refreshing walk through the Boston Common and Public Garden. Walking down Newbury Street through the Back Bay, I would take my time and pop into some galleries and shops. For lunch, I would chose something from the Copley Square farmer’s market (my perfect day is in the summer!) or the fun food trucks parked nearby. Continuing on to the Fenway, I would spend a few hours perusing the collections of the MFA or the Gardner museum. Dinner might be in the North End, where I would be tempted by a cannoli from Modern Pastry. A walk along the waterfront, ending with a cocktail on the patio at the Boston Harbor Hotel, would be a perfect ending to a perfect day.
NK: Aside from being a lemonade connoisseur, what other foods do you love?
LC: I really, really, love my lemonade. My other favorite food is strawberry shortcake, on a biscuit rather than a cake, and with lots of strawberries. I love really great vegetables – like tomatoes and basil from the garden. Although I don’t have a space to garden myself anymore, I am really looking forward to taking advantage of all the amazing farmer’s markets we have in Boston.
NK: What do you consider to be Boston’s best-kept secret?
LC: I just joined the Athenaeum, a membership library and museum near the State House, and I have been loving it. It is a great place for me to work, and they also host lots of fun events for members. I hadn’t heard of it until recently, so I would consider it a bit of a secret. I am looking forward to uncovering more of Boston’s secrets, and sharing them with the BDB readers!