Today marks an anniversary in American history that forever changed our nation. We’ve come to mark today as a day of remembrance and reflection, a day we come together in thought, moments of silence, ringing of bells and prayer.
Never Forget: September 11, 2001
Today marks an anniversary in American history that forever changed our nation. We’ve come to mark today as a day of remembrance and reflection, a day we come together in thought, moments of silence, ringing of bells and prayer. Never forget the fallen heroes, families, friends and fellow Americans whose lives were forever changed that day. Our memories will forever be filled with the events of that horrific day in our history, and even though painful to remember we should never choose to forget.
‘Tis the weekend of the 127 Yard Sale aka The World’s Largest Yard Sale. The Places In The Home Gang hit the sale in Gadsden, Alabama many moons ago on our way back home from our annual trek to the hills and mountains of East Tennessee. The already overloaded Excursion and U-Haul ( it was very normal for us to pick, hunt and buy enough treasures, trinkets and trash to warrant renting a u-Haul). Have any of you ever been to The World’s Largest Yard Sale? Please share! I love this pic from Authentica Classics. More where that come from here.
Gone with the Wind is as famous for its lines as it is for the movie itself. If I had a nickle for every time “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” has been quoted well, you know. Good Housekeeping recently informed its readers the infamous ending almost wasn’t the famous ending as we know it. An alternate ending has been revealed through the recent findings of a script. Take a look at what words Scarlett may have spoken over at Good Housekeeping.
Holiday at home in Louisiana themed decorations, lights, treasures, treats, and reminders find their way into my holiday thoughts and decor.
From mid November through early January, 2013 the Natchitoches, Louisiana Landmark Historic District along the Cane River is illuminated in over 300,000 Christmas lights and 100 riverbank set pieces in celebration of the Christmas Festival of Lights. Shopping, dining, antiquing, horse drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, and legendary fireworks displays each Saturday night make this one of the most anticipated traditions of the holiday season.
Sleigh Ride by the Louisiana born, raised, and swingin’ Harry Connick, Jr.
These vintage snaps are blasts from Louisiana Christmas past of my mother and brother, uncles and cousins and yours truly with the Claus.
Dave the Builder and I took a Christmas light walking tour through our neighborhood a couple of evenings ago, and this Christmas nativity display captured the essence of the season for both of us.
The large glass pine cone and Santa ornaments cast a vintage feel, taking me straight back to the country Christmases spent at my maternal grandmother’s house.
New Orleans knows how to throw a party and a holiday celebration! No trip to New Orleans, the French Quarter, and the French Market would be complete without a visit to Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines Shop. Believe me, Christmas time is the perfect time for a box or two of New Orleans’ signature candy. Ca c’est bon, y’all!
My small but cherished collection of hand-painted Louisiana cypress Santas add a dash of Louisiana seasoning to the holiday scheme each year.
Architectural integrity through architectural elements is the indelible mark of historic homes and landmarks.
It is usually the only tangible proof of bygone golden eras ruled by classic styles.
Restoration efforts and day to day upkeep of historic homes can be financially mind boggling. The sheer expense of replicating these styles in today’s market can create financial hurdles difficult to clear. Aging and changing neighborhoods coupled with a natural progression away from this style of living places most of these homes in the private sector on an endangered species list.
The craftsmanship, detail to details, and artisan skills used to envision, shape, form, and build these homes fascinate me. Over the years we have had the opportunity to tour, consult on, and donate antique pieces to several state and privately owned historic homes.
As much as I love antiques I will walk right by a period piece without so much as a glance to get to the heart of the historic matter. Architectural elements grab and hold my attention.
In our city we have a block that is known as Mansion Row. Anchoring the far left corner of the block stands the Thompson-Hargis Mansion. Built in 1907, this Greek Revival home with characteristic Ionic columns,porte-cochère, triangle pediment, and transom entry was once a jewel in the crown of our city history. The exterior and grounds showed the weathered look of sun and time- nothing paint and repair could not fix. The property was structurally sound and the architectural integrity intact.
The furnishings were removed years ago, the windows and doors boarded, and the grand dame beautifully sat idling until this past Sunday evening when she fell victim to a senseless demise.
Neighbors who recall the elegance of what was and admirers of what could have been mourn the total loss of of property, history, and hope.
It is a sad turn of events and an even sadder realization that original, historic, and one of a kind architectural elements were destroyed. Dollars do not factor into the equation, there is no replacement value for the architectural integrity of this 105 year old home. RIP Thompson-Hargis Mansion.
Preserving history and restoring things runs in my family. Dave the Builder and I preserve antique and architectural pieces. My brother purchased, moved, and restored his circa 1903 Victorian home – his second property to restore. I am currently in the process of photographing his home to feature in a future post. Stay tuned.
Today’s Natchitoches, Louisiana post is an updated version in tribute to Natchitoches being chosen Best Southern Small Town by USA Today readers. Visit Natchitoches once and you will come to know why this comes as no surprise to me.
It’s the time of year for travel. Vacations, staycations and day trips refresh our recreating souls, renew connections and give us ideas to implement into our home decor.
Natchitoches, Louisiana is a small town rich in history and bragging rights. Natchitoches (NACK-uh-tush) is located about one hour south of Shreveport and five hours north of New Orleans. Natchitoches was established by the French in 1714 and is the oldest permanent settlement in the 13 state territory Louisiana Purchase.
French and Spanish forts, historical homes, national historic landmarks, bed and breakfasts, antique shops, and fantastic restaurants line the original brick Front Street. The thirty-three block National Historic District and plantation district along the banks of Cane River Lake is made up of 100 historic homes and buildings.
One of my favorite shops to visit on historic Front Street is Kaffie-Frederick, Inc., General Mercantile. Kaffie-Frederick is the oldest general store in Louisiana. The front door swings open to a blast from the past decor full of charm, hardware, tools, classic toys and utensils all in I remember these splendor.
Natchitoches is the hometown of writer, producer and film director Robert Harling. Robert Harling is best known as the writer of the play, Steel Magnolias. Rooted in location and hometown authenticity, Natchitoches was the star of the South for a brief period of time in 1988 when Hollywood came calling. The excitement surrounding the filming was a statewide topic of conversation, and the memories of the stars and their time spent weaving in and out of the local landscape a souvenir program in Louisiana film history.
The Taylor-Cook home, better known as The Steel Magnolia House, remains one of the most recognizable and popular historic homes in downtown Natchitoches. As a surprise birthday gift to me, Dave the Builder purchased tickets to the Natchitoches Fall Pilgrimage Candlelight Tour of Homes.
The evening tour of Taylor-Cook aka The Steel Magnolia House was a candlelight and cocktails themed party not to be forgotten. Several hundred guests strolled the grounds and toured the home filled with period antiques tastefully paired with stylish accents while sipping cocktails by moonlight, music and magnolias. Natchitoches throws a good party.
Clockwise from top left: Taylor-Cook House, Front Street, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation
One of my favorite artist, African-American folk artist Clementine Hunter (late December 1886 or early January 1887 – January 1, 1988), is closely associated with Natchitoches. Miss Hunter was born near Cloutierville, Louisiana, moving to Melrose Plantation when she was fifteen years old. Clementine Hunter (pronounced Clementeen) was a self-taught artist who painted from memory.
Clementine was encouraged to paint and locally promoted by Melrose plantation curator, François Mignon.
The Wash ~ Clementine Hunter
The subjects of her paintings portray plantation life as it were in the early 20th century. Although most of her works are untitled, the subject would be verbally described by the artist herself when asked.
Picking Cotton ~ Clementine Hunter
In the early days of her painting dating to the 1940s, Clementine Hunter sold her works for a quarter. Her paintings can now sell for thousands of dollars. It is estimated Clementine Hunter painted between four and five thousand paintings in her lifetime. Miss Hunter continued to live in Northwest Louisiana until her death in 1988.
I was extremely fortunate enough to have the opportunity to purchase my Clementine Hunter painting in 1986 before forgeries of her work hit the market. The local couple I purchased “Outdoor Cooking” from were actual friends of Clementine Hunter. To authenticate the painting the couple took a photo of Clementine Hunter actually holding the finished painting. They gave me photo to keep when I purchased the painting, and I cherish her photo as much as I do the painting.
Cane River runs through downtown Natchitoches. There is not an empty spot to be had on the banks of Cane River on the first Saturday in December. On the first weekend of December, Natchitoches illuminates the Southern night sky in a festive Christmas festival firework spectacular. Approximately 150,000 visitors descend on the small town to experience this annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights, a tradition of lights and holiday merriment.
Oprah Winfrey made an unannounced and very surprising visit to Natchitoches in 2002. The visit was prompted by an on-air invitation from Peggy Plunkett who was in the audience at a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah came, saw and declared Natchitoches the “Best Little Town in the Whole USA!” Now that’s an endorsement!
Another wonderful festival (and there are plenty of those in Natchitoches) is the famous Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival. The origin of the meat pie dates back to the late 1700s. Natchitoches Meat Pies are deep-fried pastries filled with ground beef and ground pork seasoned with onions, peppers, and garlic. The Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival is a two day festival celebrating the regional delicacy and the festival also has its very own official recipe courtesy of Mrs. L.J. Melder.
Official Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival Meat Pie Recipe
1 teaspoon shortening
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork meat
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 head garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste
1 tablespoon flour
Meat pie crust:
1 quart plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup shortening plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup milk
Melt shortening in heavy pot. Add meat. Cook until the pink is gone.
Add vegetables and season to taste. (Season well, as meat will lose seasoning during frying.) When the meat is completely done and the vegetables glazed, remove from heat and drain excess liquid. Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour.
For the crust:
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Beat egg and add to milk. Work gradually into dry ingredients until proper consistency to roll. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Break into small pieces and roll very thin. Cut into rounds using a saucer as a guide.
Place a large tablespoon of prepared meat along edge and halfway in the center of round dough. Fold the other half over, making edges meet and seal with water. Form edges with fork. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes. Drop in deep fat and cook until golden brown. Drain and serve hot.
Serves: 18 pies
Southern hospitality flows through the town like the Cane River and the welcome mat is always out. Natchitoches, Louisiana is a sportsman’s paradise and home to Northwestern State University, festivals, historic homes and plantations, bed and breakfasts galore, quaint shops and excellent restaurants.
Natchitoches, Louisiana is a great destination for day tripping, a weekend getaway or a stay for a week or two visit. USA Today readers know what they are talking about.
Christmas lights from around the world brought to you by holiday spirit, magnificent talent, skill and style extraordinaire, and historical architectural wonders of the world as seen through the lens of talented photographers.
Fifth Avenue~ New York, New York
Mann’s Grauman Chinese Theater~ Hollywood, California
Jackson Square~ New Orleans, Louisiana
Empire State Building~ New York, New York
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele~ Milan, Italy
Shops in Seiffen, Germany
U.S. Capital~ Washington, DC
Caesars Palace~ Las Vegas, Nevada
Auckland, New Zealand
Rockefeller Center~ New York, New York
Melksham, United Kingdom
calle de Alcala~ Madrid, Spain
Champs-Élysées~ Paris, France
Buckingham Palace~ London, England
La Grande Place~ Brussels, Belgium
Fifth Avenue: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
Mann’s Grauman Chinese Theater: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images
The nineteenth century lives on through character, color and design in the converted presbytery home of Muriel Dana. Featured in Campagne Decoration, the decor of this Normandy coast home reflects the fascination of a time gone by.
A self proclaimed decorator and bargain hunter, Muriel’s passion for furniture and objects of the nineteenth century swathe her home in a magnificent interpretation of romance, lace, and femininity. Shades of pink frame the space flattering brown accents, and the French settee done ooh la la lovely in complementing aubergine.
Repairs were made to cracking walls, doors, and windows, allowing detail to authenticity in the ground floor reception rooms. The greens of both the Louis XVI cane chair with gold accents and velvet curtains draw the eye to the finish of the golden brown mud walls beneath the wainscot. Two-tone walls, such as in this case, enrich the color palette.
The undeniable hallmarks of French decor- gray(or is it grey), blue, white- Très bien! The patina of the original mud walls allows an antique finish to be created summed up by two words, perfect imperfection.
Should I begin with the distressed beauty of the copper pot lined cupboard, the silverware cabinet door hardware and napkin holder, the embroidered sheets doing cuisine duty, or the gourmet feeling that French design and decor defines?It’s all so wonderfully French and so wonderfully good!
The upstairs master bedroom became the room Muriel had always dreamed of. Isn’t that exactly what a master bedroom should be? Baroque influenced accents from whitewashed walls, golden cherubs, and lace panels exemplify the new meaning of the three r’s ~ romantic, refined, restful.
Like mother, like daughter~ a dream room is the wish Muriel granted her daughter Sophie. Decor choices of framed vintage prints, pink as far as the eye can see, a bed crown befitting a sleeping princess, and toile de Jouy are perfect for child’s play.
Taking a meal in the intimate dining room overlooking the gardens would certainly be a dining and visual treat. The deep patina of the gray(grey) wall showcases the rosewood decorative wall clock as a focal point. The chicken wire doors of the china cupboard, the highly decorative appliques and crown, and toile lined shelves epitomize European charm.
Home design and decor should express and reflect the essence of its owners. The homeowner’s passion for the furniture and accessories, reminiscent of the nineteenth century, is uniquely displayed throughout the home. Character and charm are two elements of great design, and are the calling card of this stunning home.