Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Les Bons Temps...

Lafayette Square, New Orleans

This past weekend while Andrew was busy serving as a house captain for the Pleasant Home house walk in Oak Park, I had the privilege of attending my dear friends, Erin and Cree's wedding at the Degas House in New Orleans. Regardless of how the state of Louisiana codifies marriage, these two ladies put on a beautiful ceremony, and gave me a great excuse to check out NOLA design and history for a few days.

My first day in town I met up with friends for lunch, checked into my hotel and then took a walk down Royal Street to check out some of the French Quarter's antique shops. I knew going in that these places are notoriously overpriced, but despite the mind-obliterating prices, there was one storefront that stood out among the rest.

Whisnant Galleries, Royal Street, New Orleans - Antiques

Whisnant Galleries had, by far, the most eclectic collection of antiques ranging from tribal art, 18th century bronzes and one behemoth 5ft. tall mounted bison head. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it, but believe you me, it had STUDY written all over it. Had I $4,500 lying around, I would have carried this thing back on the plane with me.

Sure Whisnant - and New Orleans antique stores in general - was a little over the top, but it was a nice break from all the mid-century modern madness that goes on, especially in Chicago. I mean who doesn't want a four poster bed with ostrich feather shooting out the top?

Whisnant Galleries, Royal Street, New Orleans - Antiques

Whisnant Galleries, Royal Street, New Orleans - Antiques

Whisnant Galleries, Royal Street, New Orleans - Antiques

A few days later I toured the famous above-ground Lafayette Cemetery.

Lafayette Cemetary, New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetary, New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetary, New Orleans

I was in there at about 2pm and just as I'm rounding the corner of a crypt, I run into a caretaker - WITH a Creole accent - who says that it's a good thing he saw me since he was about to lock up. Do they hire these guys to scare the hell out of people? After picking my shattered nervous system up off the ground, I left for the friendlier - and living - streets of the Garden District. Good thing since I came across this impressive reno job:

Garden District Victorian, New Orleans - Renovation

Garden District Victorian, New Orleans - Renovation

Garden District Victorian, New Orleans - Renovation

Even though it would never last in the humidity of Louisiana, there's part of me that wants them to leave the wood stripped. It looks like those weathered Victorians of northern California, or maybe the McKittrick Hotel from Vertigo.

Finally the big day arrived at Degas house. You'll have to forgive the crappy photography, as I didn't bring the motherload, but you'll get the idea of how ridiculously gorgeous this house/ceremony was. Degas lived here from 1872-1873 with his mother and aunt, and produced a considerable output of paintings during the stay, including many set in the home.

Degas House Exterior, New Orleans

Degas House Exterior, New Orleans

Degas House Interior, New Orleans

Degas House Interior, New Orleans

IMG_4864

In the end, Erin and Cree left a happily married couple and I left New Orleans, happy to get back to Chicago, and sort of feeling like this:

Mardi Gras Beads Over Barbed Wire, New Orleans

Les bons temps indeed.

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