Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

11.09.2010

Stealing Magnolias

[Photograph by David Halliday  
©Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard 
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

  -- Roald Dahl

This Dahl quote, chosen by writer Debra Shriver to open her poetic and sumptuously illustrated scrapbook, Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard,  sets the tone for the entire book.

[Photograph by Maura McEvoy  
©Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010. 
Beads strung by Thomas Jayne. Click to enlarge.]

[Photograph by John Kernick 
©Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard 
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

Once again, I found myself conflicted over which images to share -- struggling to narrow my choices -- in hopes of converying the spirit of her tale.

 [Photograph by Maura McEvoy  
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

 [Photograph by Karena Cawthon  
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

I thought about keeping the focus on Shriver's elegant 19th-century Greek Revival townhouse on Dumaine Street -- purchased with her husband three months post-Katrina. As Shriver is a connoisseur of fine photography, both her house and her book are filled with moody images of Southern landscapes and culture. Those pictures alone could've become the focus of this post. And then there is the architecture she includes. And the antique shops.

 [Shrimp & Strawberries photographed by Simon Blake
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

Oh, and the food too. Shriver sees herself as simply adding her voice to the large chorus that has previously sung the praises of New Orleans. Her musings and stories -- describing days when she barely resists the temptation to snatch a blossom or two during regular walks under the big old magnolia trees in certain parts of the Quarter, or acquiring feathers, beads and all manner of random objects to unconsciously create her own type of bricolage -- really make the book. Ultimately, it's an ode to a city where dancing in the street is an everyday thing. But there is enough tangible information on the pages that it's sort of an artful guidebook/cookbook as well.


[Photograph by Erika Molleck Goldring
by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]

While there's no question that New Orleans is an original, I did finish the book inspired to look for magic in my own surroundings. Next time you're in a bookshop, flip through a copy, read Mary Randolph Carter's Forward, skim the glossary for more fun words such as lagniappe, and discover your own favorite parts; I've barely scratched the surface here.

 [Photograph directly above and two below by Maura McEvoy  
©Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard by Debra Shriver, Glitterati, Inc. 2010.]


[Above, Shriver's marble eggs are part of her bricolage.]

 [The author.]


 

6 comments:

Blayne Beacham said...

I love the photography! The picture of the chairs is my favorite.

Style Court said...

Hi Blayne,

Yes! So many talented photogs represented in this book. Maura did the principal, including the shot of the tiny chairs. I think you'll enjoy her amazing website.

quintessence said...

Looks so wonderful! I can imagine how it was difficult to choose which images to include as they all seem so evocative but you did a splendid job - I am totally intrigued and can't wait to see the book!

Style Court said...

Q --

Oh good! Intrigued is good. It was very hard to select just a sampling. Thank you :)

John T said...

I had never thought of pairing strawberries with shrimp, but why not?

Laura Casey Interiors said...

What a wonderful quote, I am inspired! I think this book should be on my mother in law gift list. Thanks for sharing the beautiful images.