While Storm Sandy was ravaging the Eastern Seaboard, I spent a week in that usually most hurricane-prone city, New Orleans, under sun-gilded blue skies and temperature a balmy 80ish degrees. The renowned US architect and garden designer, Joel Barkley, of Ike, Kligerman Barkley was there at the same time, and his demonstrated his expertise in draughtsmanship by making a detailed working drawing for the awnings my clients, the Rodney Smiths who own the fabled Soniat House hotel, want to install on their house opposite. Joel’s drawings have that all too rare, inspiring quality, what the guru on the subject, Geoffrey Scott, called The Architecture of Humanism.
As it was Halloween, and yet another excuse for New Orleanens to dress up in weird costumes; froggies went a-wooing in restaurants and the mace-flavoured spinach covering the oysters Rockefeller at Galatoire’s, my favorite food and place, was as dazzlingly green.
Ghouls, ghosts and girls gulped Sazeracs at a full-moon party on a levee perched plumb above a bayou on the Mississippi. The shanty had been built and decorated by the owners boatman, all from flotsam fished from the banks below, with rope forming cornices and trim to the windows, and jetsom junk decorating every surface.
Meanwhile the actual junk shops on Magazine Street, where we whizzed to in a tiny, open, three-wheeler car (hired from New Orleans Cruisers, and the BEST possible way to explore the French Quarter or the Garden District) provided objects and inspiration for the new restaurant, ‘Marty’s’ that Patrick and Rebecca Davenport Singley are opening next year.
They already own the town’s top eaterie, Gautreau’s, and Rebecca runs the Southern office of NH Design, so its great we have this ‘in-hand’ project together. In a thrift shop on Magazine I also found a couple of those once-fashionable collar tie-pins which I think are so chic again now, and help to perfect the Cary Grant image I’m currently channeling. Talk about Southern comfort………