I lived in New Orleans from the late seventies through the mid-eighties and although country living is more my style these days; I love having New Orleans so nearby that I can easily drive down to attend a party or visit my daughter who just started her first year at Loyola.
Last Friday, I accompanied artist Hunt Slonem to a fabulous dinner party given by the author of my new favorite book, Stealing Magnolias (Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard). Debra Shriver’s book showcases this magical city like no other–and there have been plenty of books written about New Orleans!
Besides being a gorgeous coffee table book filled with beautiful photos of her French Quarter home; it also includes original works by more than twenty photographers and artists from her private art collection.
The preface of the book was written by blue dog artist George Rodrigue who was also at the party with his wife Wendy, who was telling us all about the George Rodrigue Foundation they formed in 2009 as a non-profit organization to provide financial assistance and expose children to education in the visual arts, hoping to inspire in others an early and on-going creative passion similar to his own. (George mentioned that he knew he wanted to be an artist at age 4.)
But back to the book! If you were ever curious about New Orleans and have never been to visit, this is the perfect book to get you into the mood. It also includes several of her favorite recipes, my favorite being the “Cheddar Biscuits with Gulf Shrimp and Creole Meuniere Sauce” from her favorite caterer Joel Dondis, who not only catered the dinner party, but was also a guest. (Joel’s mother lives right down the street from my mother in Lake Charles, Louisiana and he also owns Sucre, where we go for an afternoon treat every time we visit the city.)
I am dying to meet Debra’s decorator Hal Williamson, who created some of the most exquisite colors for her home–very organic-looking shades of pinks and purples. I heard from another guest that he was out-of-town, but has an antiques shop on Magazine. I will definitely pay a visit on my next trip!
I can hardly wait for another excuse to go visit!