New Orleans: where a door is not just a door

Hiiiiiiiiii!!! I’m such a bad blogger lately, ugh. These last few weeks have been a little crazy with all sorts of events, travel, projects… and you know, life. It always seems like this stretch from spring to summer is so busy, like everyone and everything is coming back to life at full speed. Speaking of, this is my first spring at the barn and it is so fun watching all of the plants and flowers pop up. When we moved in last year everything was so overgrown – its amazing to see the beautiful variety we seem to have going. Even had a nice surprise stumbling upon a plentiful supply of asparagus. Yum! Can’t wait to see what else we find.

But really, this post is about our recent trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Every time I go back I fall a little more deeply in love with that city. Katrina shook things up, but this city is full of resilient and passionate people. I’ve also matured [a little] since my first trip to the fest in 1999. Bourbon St is now a drive-by for me rather than a destination. There is just so much to take in, I always leave there feeling more inspired. I wanted to share with you some of our trip, but apologies for the iphone pix as I was packing ultra light now that we have a kiddo in tow.

Why do I love New Orleans so much? It is the simple combination of music, art, food, and people – with Louisiana soul. The city honors culture and a passion for all things that please the senses.

the streets of new orleans

Jazz Fest brings us there every year because of our love for the local musicians. From the jazz tent, to the blues tent, to the gospel tent, to the kids tent and all of the main stages – there is music for everyone. Not to mention all of the artisans selling their talents, the kids craft area, the to-die-for selection of local foods [I am a total spice lover], and the experience of so many people coming together to just have a good time. Here’s a pic of one of the stages we pretty much set up camp at for the weekend, but there are several stages like this around the field.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Tribes parade through the crowds in Native American ceremonial apparel. You can imagine how excited I get over the feathers.


more feathers! (photographer unknown)

Artisans come from near and far to sell items, I always buy a piece of local jewelry but enjoy seeing the funkier items like this paper mache…

paper mache

paintings of local legends

Jack loved the kids tent so much he cried when we made him leave, screaming “I want the doggies!!”

kids tent

There is a whole area devoted to kid crafts and activities. Great concept to have them leave their mark on the festival with painted cloths.

kids crafts

Music, music everywhere.

Galactic with Trombone Shorty and War Chief Juan Pardo ©2012 Douglas Mason

It is not just the fest that we love, in fact my favorite trips there have been the ones when there are no big events and we can just enjoy the city. This year we took a few extra days after the fest to unwind and experience a city that speaks design. If you walk down any random street it’s hard not to get swept up in the architectural details and creative urban landscaping.

The Spanish-style architecture of New Orleans dates back to the 1700s, known for the quaint doors-windows and intricate wrought iron balconies. Let me tell you, this is a city where a door is not just a door. The scale and variety of details-colors is inspiring for anyone who loves design with character. Entries for this city are about the experience and an opportunity to make each home unique in an urban space.

doors of new orleans by ashley jacobsen

doorway by ashley jacobsen

There is an interesting concept behind one of the most common architectural styles known as the shotgun house, which is a long narrow single-story building set on a raised foundation of brick piers and typically has some great Victorian detail under the front eave. The Shotgun is a descendant of houses in the Caribbean – the first documented shotgun in New Orleans dates back to the early 1800’s. This style experienced a revival at the end of the 20th Century (following its decline after the Great Depression).

The design provides a necessary and natural cross-ventilation system in the hot Louisiana climate, but it also maximizes space while minimizing historic property taxes. Old tax laws used to be based on the width of the house and-or the number of rooms (closets and halls were considered rooms at one time); the shotgun floor plan minimizes both with no closets or hallways. Essentially you can shoot your shotgun from the front door all the way to the backyard without hitting any walls – ahhh, the simple things in life!

the typical New Orleans shotgun style, note the scale of windows + doors

The creole cottage is another popular style that you will find in the French Quarter with its gabled roof and front porch, blending Caribbean and French-Canadian designs.

the creole cottage

The american townhouse is common in the lower garden district with its beautifully ornate iron balconies.

American Townhouse; intricate iron balcony designs are pre-Civil War

The double gallery is also found in the garden district with stacking front porches and beautiful columns.

the double gallery

The arts/warehouse district is really a revived area now with large commercial buildings that showcase a new orleans flair.

Children’s Museum in the Arts/Warehouse District

And of course my trip would not be complete without a stroll down Magazine Street, filled with a range of coffee shops, restaurants, and stores. I have two favorite stores here, but I just love the variety of home furnishing shops that offer vintage new orleans to mod. Peaches has great mid-century modern finds that take you away from the traditional new orleans. Perch is a combo retail and interior design studio that always leaves me drooling a little. My photos do not do them justice.

Turquoise @ Perch

Perched @ Perch

fabulous ottoman @ Perch!

So there you have it, a fun-filled trip with lots of inspiration. I’ll spare you all the details of the food and drinks consumed, but lets just say the several miles of walking [and dancing] we did each day was a total necessity.

the rain dance

Can’t wait to get back there soooooooooon!


1 Comment

Filed under Ramblings

One response to “New Orleans: where a door is not just a door

  1. I just found you via facebook…I’m on the northshore as well. love your design work….and agree, NOLA is a pretty special place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s