Laurel Street Blog

Archive for July 2009

New Orleanians have a thing for the past. Sometimes it’s a pristine Garden District mansion filled with ‘perfect’ European antiques provided from the French Quarter & Royal Street shops. Sometimes it’s a French Quarter slave quarter filled to the brim with offbeat, eclectic finds that take on a ‘Curiosity Shop’ feel. There’s room in by home for a little of both. I saw these rooms this morning in the paper and did a double take – I was sure these folks were from New Orleans as the seem to have mastered the collected life:

From Today's Times: "The Hoveys' loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has no windows, which means more wall space for deer heads." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

From Today's Times: "The Hoveys' loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has no windows, which means more wall space for deer heads." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

From today's Times: "The link between Mr. Crowley's objects and his impulse to acquire them isn't nostalgia, he said. It's '"the draw of authenticity, whether it's an aesthetic, a recipe or a technique." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

From today's Times: "The link between Mr. Crowley's objects and his impulse to acquire them isn't nostalgia, he said. It's '"the draw of authenticity, whether it's an aesthetic, a recipe or a technique." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

From today's Times: "Their Fort Greene, Brooklyn, apartment is chockablock with Edwardian-style portraits, heraldic devices and mounted antlers." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

From today's Times: "Their Fort Greene, Brooklyn, apartment is chockablock with Edwardian-style portraits, heraldic devices and mounted antlers." Photo: Michael Weschler for The New York Times

You can read the whole piece here or check out the slideshow. I understand that one of the most popular shops in Paris is the world famous taxidermist Deyrolle (46 rue du Bac), though I must admit I’m not so much a fan – and the later slides of Ryan Matthew leave me more than a little icked out. Otherwise, these folks would fit right in with my stylish New Orleans friends.

You know I’m a fan. You have kept me prepped since the 80’s. Your paints color my walls. Your towels are still perfectly navy blue after 4 years of weekly washing. I understand that you are a giant conglomerated-omnimedia type thing now and it’s hard to keep track of every little detail, but may I mention one thing that has come to my attention?

This is a all out, God forsaken mess and I cannot believe I paid almost $50 for two pillow cases that look like Shar-Pei's when they come out of the dryer.

This is a all out, God-forsaken mess and I cannot believe I paid almost $50 for two brand new pillow cases that look like a couple 0f Shar-Pei's when they come out of the dryer.

And you should see the sheets – even worse. Can I call your attention, dear reader, to the lovely smooth duvet cover beneath these hideous, wrinkled messes? It’s from Restoration Hardware – and it came out of the same dryer as the pillows and sheets.

Now I know that there are some people in the world out there that are interested in things like ironing sheets. I know that they even make fancy little scented sprays that once can delicately spritz across the linens while ironing them to make them small like – I don’t know – Provence.

I am not one of those people. Heck, my housekeeper would laugh me out of my own house if I asked her to iron the sheets. Perhaps these will mellow with age… but I’m disappointed. They pick up a perfect little taupe high note in the paisley duvet.

So please Ralph, pay attention. For the sake of your loyal fans.

Yes you can! Check out Idea Paint. Fun for a play room OR a board room. Paint it over a door, a table top…. Heck, even a refrigerator.
I love to see a beautifully simple idea executed perfectly. It makes me cringe to think of the ugly,wasteful, bulky whiteboards I’ve bought for offices over the years. This is a far more sustainable solution. Bonus: It’s fun!

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Idea Paint

Photo: KEVIN ZANSLER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A model of the new Columbia Parc housing complex, which sits on the site of the former St. Bernard housing complex

Photo: KEVIN ZANSLER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A model of the new Columbia Parc housing complex, which sits on the site of the former St. Bernard housing complex

Or this?

Rendering of Columbia Parc, New Orleans

Rendering of Columbia Parc, New Orleans

Rendering

Rendering of Columbia Parc, New Orleans

Rendering

Rendering of Columbia Parc, New Orleans

I love New Orleans, deeply. However, there is resistance to innovation that bubbles up all too often in our city… I saw it most recently and succinctly summed up by a local on one of the episodes of “Architecture School,” a T.V. series that focused on the complete design and construction of a new home in long neglected neighborhood (Central City) by Tulane architecture students. The students were challenged to understand the vernacular architectural language of New Orleans buildings, then create a new innovative sustainable, modern design in that setting.

Asked for comment on a previous house that was built, a neighbor said to the camera: “That doesn’t belong here. Look around at these other houses. We’re not guinea pigs.”

A city filled with humble and efficient shotgun homes, creole cottages, and grand St. Charles Avenue mansions, majestic cast iron galleries of the French Quarter…. Well, a city like this is not always able to immediately grasp the benefit of a new design.

Yes, New Orleanians tenaciously cling to the past. However, not all of our past is, in fact, worth saving.

St. Bernard Project Building

One of nearly 100 barracks-style buildings in the former St. Bernard Housing Project

And yet folks still argue. Vociferously. The model and renderings of a new development called Columbia Parc (shown at top) will soon replace the Roosevelt-era New Orleans housing project known as St. Bernard. Located only four blocks from the vast and lush New Orleans City Park, these buildings were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, were demolished (amid great protest) and will be replaced by the master-planned, mixed-income community shown above. This is not the much maligned gentrification of the 70’s. This is the creation of a new community, from the ground up, to meet the needs of a wide range of residents – first and foremost the former residents of St. Bernard (applications are being accepted now).

The new Columbia Parc development is sustainable, LEED certified and filled with amenities that growing families can enjoy.  Two schools, an early learning center, a recreation facility, retail shops, a library plus a community entertainment complex featuring:

– Entertainment rooms
– Catering kitchen
– Internet café
– 46-seat resident movie theatre
– Resident conference room
– Fitness center
– Interactive splash park
– Resort-style pool with sun decks & lounge furniture
– Playground & tot lot

So why everyone continues to argue about replacing things like this (see below) in New Orleans is simply beyond me.

St. Bernard Kid Spot

St. Bernard Kid Spot

Don’t miss this gallery of wonderfully creative art photography by Czech photographer Vlad Artazov. They’re really a wonderful diversion that I guarantee will make you smile (even if you’re not that into DIY).

Photo: Vlad Artazov

Photo: Vlad Artazov

Photo: Vlad Artazov

Photo: Vlad Artazov

Photo: Vlad Artazov

Photo: Vlad Artazov (One of my favorites)

Check out all the photos from this series from Vlad Artazov here.


Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime LaurelStreetNola@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

July 2009
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