G is for Garden District

Garden District home
Garden District home

When you picture the gorgeous, sprawling mansions of the South, there’s no better living monument than the Garden District of New Orleans. This charming neighborhood, blending a mixture of modern gentility and old world decadence, is also the backdrop for most of The House of Crimson and Clover series.

The land that makes up the Garden District was originally the site of several large plantations. As the city grew post-Reconstruction, the need arose for a neighborhood that was slightly more sophisticated for the upscale crowds and so the land was parceled out in the early 19th century. Built on each lot were large townhomes bearing the popular European styles like Greek Revival, along with Spanish, French, and Italian architectural influences. Each home was surrounded by an ornate garden, giving this neighborhood the name it still has today.

The Garden District remains an elegant, living museum of beautiful mansions and a showcase of wealth. The neighborhood was heavily featured in many of Anne Rice’s novels (where she wrote about, among other buildings, her own home), and although she no longer lives there, you can still visit 1239 First Street. Among the other notable mansions that you can walk past are The Briggs-Staub House, Colonel Short’s Villa, Magnolia Mansion, and the Women’s Guild of New Orleans Opera Association House. The Claiborne Cottage on St. Charles Ave was the inspiration for Oz Sullvan’s house, architecturally.

Aside from the homes, you can find notable features such as Audubon Park, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, the Universities of Loyola and Tulane, and the Garden District bookstore. And, of course, a visit would not be complete without stopping in for a jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace.

The historic St. Charles streetcar runs through the heart of the Garden District, stretching 13 miles, from Carrollton to Canal Street. Many people still use it as transportation to and from work.

I’m including some pictures here from my personal collection, as a glimpse into the lives of the Sullivans and Deschanels of New Orleans.

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18 thoughts on “G is for Garden District

  1. Nice post. I love Ann Rice and the Mayfair books. Hey, I have a real quick question. I am struggling with a synopsis. I was looking up “how to write one” online and figured asking someone who has actually done one how I should go about it. Is is just like the summery you would find on the back of a book? How many details do I tell, how much do I keep a mystery.

    1. It depends on what you’re writing it for. If you’re writing it just so you can display it on your site or give someone an overview, it can be variable (anywhere from 1-4 paragraphs). if you’re talking about the type you send with a query letter that’s a bit more complicated and those have to be TIGHT. Read the archives at http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ and you’ll see what I mean.

      If its just the former you’re after though, I would do two kinds: a 1-2 sentence synopsis that gives as much information as possible in a short amount of time, and then a longer one (like the back of the book, as you mentioned) that goes into a little more detail. As a general rule, you only give away as much as you have to in order to get the reader interested.

      1. I posted one that I have so far just to give people an idea. I will want to write a more “professional” one after NaNo and editing because I plan to try to find a publisher. I want to be prepared and practice writing them that way when the time comes I end up with one that is both eye catching and proper. For the NaNo site I just wanted people to have an idea what I am writing about. Thanks I will look at the link.

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