New Orleans New Elegance
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
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Award-winning photographer Kerri McCaffety looks at the city's most innovative and iconic interiors in a quest to define the essence of the unique New Orleans style. Sumptuous fabrics, elegant architectural details, intricate collections, bold abstract art, and fresh, contemporary lines are all captured in her stunning photographs.
What makes New Orleans different from everywhere else? The answer is its history: three centuries of complex cultural influences—French, Spanish, and African—converging in a unique climate and a strategic location at the mouth of the Mississippi River. It’s an alluring but elusive mélange 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 dimensions—political, 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 city—the French Quarter, the Warehouse District, the Garden District, and the multiple neighborhoods that comprise Uptown.
Social commentator and Vogue contributor Julia Reed’s 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.
Julia Reed grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. She is a contributing editor at Newsweek and is the author of the essay collection Queen of the Turtle Derby. She lives in New Orleans.
“New Orleans style is different from anywhere else on earth because it springs from its genius loci, the mud of this place. At its best, New Orleans style means old Southern architecture with high ceilings and gorgeous plasterwork, a client who favors French antiques, and an irreverent designer to inject some modern dash.” —Mimi Read
"New Orleans' post-Katrina renaissance has been accompanied by thrilling developments in interior design. Award-winning photographer Kerri McCaffety explores 40 of the Crescent City's most compelling residences, from a Garden District carriage house filled with 18th-century antiques to a Coliseum Square mansion accentuated with massive modern canvases. With more than 200 pages of stunning, full-color photographs and an introduction by the celebrated writer (and New Orleans resident) Julia Reed, McCaffety's book offers a portrait of a city with a rich cultural legacy and a penchant for avant-garde design." —Lonny magazine
"In the post-Katrina design world, local homeowners maintain a healthy respect for the past (this is New Orleans, after all), but they are no longer confined by it. Lucite tables, bold colors, abstract art, and graphic fabrics mix with old-world antiques and architecture. Thumb through the pages of New Orleans, New Elegance for a peek inside more than forty eclectically appointed homes and apartments from the French Quarter and the Garden District to the Warehouse District and Uptown." —Garden & Gun magazine