The Monacelli Press
New Orleans New Elegance
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.
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.
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 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.
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