What makes New Orleans different from everywhere else? The answer is its history: three centuries of complex cultural influencesâFrench, Spanish, and Africanâconverging in a unique climate and a strategic location at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Itâs an alluring but elusive mÃ©lange of sophisticated and primitive, elegant and raw in a sultry, seductive atmosphere of faded glory.
But as New Orleans recovers from the devastation wrought by Katrina, there is an infusion of contemporary energy, manifest in all dimensionsâpolitical, social, cultural, culinary, artistic. Interior design is moving toward a fresh elegance while still embracing the extravagance of the past. The grandeur of the Greek revival architecture and the drama of the live oaks are tempered by a fresh, more relaxed elegance that respects classical proportions and details but introduces a more contemporary vocabulary in furnishings and accessories.
More than forty houses and apartments are featured from all parts of the cityâthe French Quarter, the Warehouse District, the Garden District, and the multiple neighborhoods that comprise Uptown.
Social commentator and Vogue contributor Julia Reedâs introductory essay surveys the traditions of the city, placing its style in a cultural and historic context. Commentary from interior designers, scholars, and antiques dealers creates a rich tapestry of perspectives and opinions on a perennially fascinating place.
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