Friday, May 15, 2009

My New Orleans French Life

I have been in New Orleans for nearly ten years, and I am still enchanted.
One of the first things that captivated me was the relationship of New Orleans with so many French things.
Of course French history runs deep here, and after 300 years you still see little pieces of France in everyday life.
I would love for Vicki Archer and Carla Coulson to come to New Orleans and do a book about us, perhaps another version of their fabulous book "My French Life".

The city was originally laid out on the French plan, a grid of streets that still exists in the French Quarter. At one point all the houses faced the Mississippi River. But after a few major fires, and a change in governments, the houses were built with the fronts facing the street.

So many buildings are Paris inspired. Like the Pontalba Apartments that are modeled after the Place de Voges, built by a woman in the 1800's, the Baroness Pontalba.

Across the street is the oldest coffee stand in The USA, Cafe Du Monde, famous for beignets and Cafe Au Lait.

New Orleans is one of the few cities in the USA to have a French Consul living and working here. This is the French Consul's home in The Garden District.

The French Consul and his family live here. It's a lovely old house, but the public rooms are in dire need of redecorating. I think an important site like this should have the best New Orleans has to offer. There are so many gorgeous French antiques here, and designers who would be proud to lend a hand.

I would love to organize an effort to do a show house at the residence of the French Consul, with all the furnishings donated by the people of New Orleans.

One of the only standing buildings left that was built by the original French regime, is The Ursuline Convent. It's front still faces the River.

The classic proportions of the architecture and French style gardens truly look Parisian.

Of course St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square is about as French as you can get.

The Cathedral is flanked on one side by The Cabildo and on the other side by The Presbytere on Jackson Square, which is a classic European arrangement.

The French Market has been in existence since the beginnings of New Orleans, and this little archway is very much like a mini-me Arc de Triomphe.

The Napoleon House is called so, because the owner had prepared it for Napoleon for the Emperor's planned escape from his exile and imprisonment. Sadly The Little Emperor never made it, but he is fondly remembered in New Orleans.

New Orleans has a tremendous gilded statue of Joan of Arc.

This is an old court building that could be a Hausmann style building in Paris.

And of course the fleur de lis is everywhere here.

We also have The Degas House, where the artist and his family lived.

One of my favorite restaurants is La Crepe Nanou, Uptown New Orleans, but so very Parisian.

There are many French restaurants and bakeries, and La Boulangerie is one of the best.

So how about it Vicki and Carla? I know you'll have a great time in New Orleans, and make a wonderful book about it!


Jan said...

I'm enchanted V - great selection of images.
(have a lovely weekend!)

Linda Merrill said...

*V*V* - YOU should write a book.

vicki archer said...

Valorie, you are too adorable as ever and if you find a publisher I will be in New Orleans in a heartbeat. Wouldn't we have fun and what a book we could make together....xv

Anonymous said...

This post has certainly wet my appetite for a vacation to New Orleans. Thanks for the information; it sounds like a lovely city and the next best thing to visiting Paris for some French flair in these distressed economic times.

alice said...

Great post on such a magical city. I am so envious of those who get to live there every day!
I would buy My New Orleans French Life in an instant!

tracy said...

Just beautiful pictures! WOW


Things That Inspire said...

I went to college in Houston, and used to 'road trip' up to New Orleans at least once a year. After living in Boston, I had a dear friend who married a native New Orleans man, so I would visit her every few years. Alas, they divorced, so it has been way too many years since I visited your beautiful city. Every time I see a post on New Orleans it makes me want to visit!

Velvet and Linen said...

I wish you would have written this post before my visit! I missed way too much. I guess Steve and I will have to make another trip! New Orleans is such a magical city. I'll let you know when we are coming.
Miss you.


Renae said...

I learned something new! I had no idea Degas' home is in NOLA! I love his work and went to an exhibit once in Chicago at the Museum of Art!
Can we meet for beignets and cafe au lait tomorrow, say about 8:00? Let's go early to beat the crowds!
(hugs too!)

Jill said...

I love New Orleans and miss it terribly. You've given me a shot of absinthe with this post...thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

You're such a good siren for this city! We've always toyed with the idea of visiting New Orleans, and with every post you publish about it (including the Tango Week-end, the Walk to Work, and this Frenchy one), the idea percolates with increasing enthusiasm. I am dying to re-trace the paths you've been writing about.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Write the book and decorate the Consul. Go for it, Baby!

Kwana said...

I agree with you writing the book. You'd do a fab job. You know all the best spots and have the heart for it.

Kimberlie said...

I lived in New Orleans a few years ago and looking at this post has made me miss the city so much. Thank you so much for your photos and the memories.

Alicia said...

Aaahhhh NOLA...what can I say. Its a treat the week after Mardi Gras...beads in the trees everywhere but everso much less overrun with revellers.
Cafe du Monde tastes best in the wee hours of the morning.
The shopping on Magazine St, killer pastries at Rue de la Course..the McKendrick Breaux house...I could go on & on. This book needs to be done!!!

Erica said...

how gorgeous! i've never been to new orleans and i'm dying to go!

jerseygirl211 said...

Good Morning Valorie,

What a great read to have with my morning coffee, you've made it sound so, 'have to visit'. ;) As always , what a great time it is visiting your blog. Thank You.

Have a great day......


My Notting Hill said...

Agree with Kwana - you should write a book. Loved these pictures - makes me want to visit even more.

Anonymous said...

Well, I went and bought "My Life in France." LOVE IT. Beautiful book, and I'm so glad you brought it to my attention. It plucks at my heartstrings, the ones that are so attached to Aix-en-Provence, so near to Vicki Archer's St.Remy. (So now write your NOLA book, Miz V. I'm dying, just DYING, to have it.)