Yesterday we really began to experience what New Orleans is all about. It’s below the surface, you know. The one thing I learned is that to know the Crescent City is to leave the cliche of Bourbon Street. Locals pretty much disdain it, so you probably won’t find them there.
A delicious, five star breakfast was hosted by KBIS at Luke’s. This is where I devoured, with relish, my first beignet. Afterwards we took a quick ride on the trolley then embarked on a walking tour of the beautiful Garden District.
This tree lined collection of streets was a feast of New Orleans architecture at its best. The style is a hybrid of Southern plantation, Caribbean and French. At times Key West and even Lake Worth comes to mind. I was excited to see the home of “Gothic” author Anne Rice but the real treat was running into Mr. Okra larger than life, after having seen him on this beautiful short film! Check it out here if you missed it. It is so worth it, trust me.
The Big Easy is also known for its antiques galore and so that was next on the agenda. We met up with Shaun Smith of Shaun Smith Home for a tour of some of the best antique shops.
Shaun Smith, a New Orleans sweetheart. Both his smile and his jacket were a refreshing white. His style retains a New Orleans flavor but with a little New York chic which makes it something uniquely his own.
We also explored Petricia Thompson Antiques, Empire Antiques and an interesting eclectic store called Malachite. Last but certainly not least we met Gerrie Bremermann in her shop. Let me tell you about Gerrie. Remember those amazing homes I just mentioned in the Garden District? Well she’s had a hand in making most of them fabulous. She is a much sought after designer in these parts but also, on a larger scale, she’s sought out by national publications as a barometer of southern design. Currently in her mid eighties she continues to immerse herself in her trade. She loves it and she is a true inspiration.
When it comes to my own personal taste I loved Shaun Smith Home the best. In fact I believe antiques are at their best when they are a part of a more modern decor where there is enough space for them to be a focal point. Think about it, in a room crammed with antiquity no one gets to be the star!
Shaun also carries a couple abstract impressionist artists’ work which I admired. He was a gracious host who showed us what southern hospitality is all about.
Next up was a visit to the Ogden Southern Art Museum for a book signing by the dynamic designer/author Miles Redd. You can listen to a fabulous interview of him over at The Skirted Roundtable. Mile’s book “The Big Book of Chic” is BIG and the many takers are evidence that the world of paper books is still very much alive.
I loved how Miles is not afraid to work out of the box, in fact he works entirely out of the box taking much of his inspriation from great works of art. I am a maximalist, he claims!
The day was made complete by a breathtakingly delicous dinner at Bayona hosted by our sponsor Mr. Steam. I am really enjoying getting to know all the others on the tour. It’s amazing how each has such a unique story with creativity and innovative thinking being the common thread. Three more days to go. Wow. Stay tuned, more to come.