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New Orleans Style Revisited: New Orleans New Elegance – Book Review

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Kerri McCaffety’s elegant excursion into new New Orleans style

Award-winning photographer Kerri McCaffety has done it again with her new coffee table book New Orleans New Elegance. This is a beautifully executed photo book of the new New Orleans style with an introduction by social commentator Julia Reed.

In New Orleans the past seems indistinguishable from the present. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quote that in the south the past isn’t dead, it’s not even past.

New Orleans is a place like no other, unique in the world with a complex mix of cultures, French-Spanish-African. Throw into the mix exotic spices, the wails of jazz and blues and the distinctive sub-tropical climate, a place that some call the Caribbean’s most northern coast.

New Orleans Style Revisited: New Orleans New Elegance

New Orleans designer and writer Mimi Read sums it up best:

New Orleans style is different from anywhere else on earth because is springs from its genius loci, the mud of this place. At its best New Orleans style means old Southern architecture with high ceilings and gorgeous plasterwork, a client who favors French antiques, and an irreverent designer to inject some modern dash.

That is the thing about New Orleans, a respect and love of the past and tradition with that irreverent bent that helps to keep things always fresh.

But while New Orleans, the heart and depth and soul remains the same, there is much play with contemporary sensibilities, new styles and a contemporary elegance that still embraces the past.

McCaffety has gone into over forty homes uptown and downtown giving us a bright and rich photographic excursion into this ‘new’ interior decorating and architectural style. Her beautiful fine photographs are sumptuous and most of all elegant. In paging through the book what strikes is the freshness and brightness of these rooms that makes you want to crawl into each photograph, take a deep breath, settle in and marvel.

Non other than film director Francis Ford Coppola says:

“Kerri’s work is lush with natural light that makes the images sensual and rich, and transforms the places she photographs into poems.”

Kerri McCaffety has served this subject well as she has nobly done on all of her previous books most notably Obituary Cocktail and The Majesty of the French Quarter. Since Hurricane Katrina not only has New Orleans roared back to life but now New Orleans style has taken a leap forward as evidence by New Orleans New Elegance.

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