The House on First Street, title of a great book, New Orleans home of a great writer, Julia Reed. I am a big fan of Julia Reed. As a Connecticut girl who has adopted South Carolina as her home state, Julia Reed has been quite the inspiration. Not long after my husband and I moved to Charleston, my aunt sent me a copy of Julia Reed’s But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria! A book full of stories about friends and family, eating and drinking, entertaining, and all the other things that southerners seem to have a knack for. I devoured that book, and have subsequently sought out her her other books, articles in Garden & Gun, and features in Southern Living. Despite the fact that I know absolutely nothing about Julia other than what she has written about herself, I am convinced that Julia and I would be great friends. I would invite her over for cocktails on the porch and dinner in the garden, and we would drink too much and laugh too hard and it would be fabulous. We could bond over historic houses (obviously), preservation (definitely), great Southern cities, and how to make a good Southside.Julia was assisted in her First Street project by friend and amazing decorator Thomas Jayne, who was an apprentice to Albert Hadley. Need I say more? You loyal Lacquered Lifers know how I feel about Mr. Hadley … In her book, The House on First Street, Reed regales us with stories of the trials and tribulations of a home renovation in post-Katrina New Orleans. Although I absolutely cannot relate to what the citizens of NOLA experienced with Katrina, I can understand the frustrations associated with a construction project. Somehow Julia manages to make some of the most stressful moments something to laugh about. I don’t have nearly the number of cookbooks that Julia has, however, we did install shelves in the kitchen specifically for my cookbooks. Even so my kitchen bookshelves are full, and I think I may have to take a cue from Julia in the next project for back of the island shelves.Ready for a party. Julia, just let me know what I can bring over for the potluck. Thanks to Sara Foster, I can do a mean deviled egg … So when I’m in New Orleans next month, don’t think I won’t be strolling past the house on First Street and imagining all the laughing and drinking. Julia, let me know if you’re ever in Charleston.
The House on First Street and But Mama Always Puts Vodka in Her Sangria! are available at Barnes & Noble here.
Photos via Southern Living & Elle Decor