Diana Hollingsworth Gessler completed her work on Very New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. In a note in the front of the book, she states that New Orleans will have the resilience to recover, but some of the places she included in her illustrated guide to the city may no longer be. She hopes her book will serve as a tribute to the places lost.
Very New Orleans is a very attractive book filled with drawings and watercolor sketches of all things "Nola." On page 17, which introduces the reader to James John Audubon, she has sketched the double doors with green shutters to Audubon Cottage #1 and added three yellow orange and black Louisiana tanagers. On page 42, she has drawn Germaine Wells in her Mardi Gras costume as seen in the museum in Arnaud's restaurant. She has also depicted the floor tiles in four of the thirteen rooms of the famous restaurant. On page 55, she has drawn different boats one might see on the Mississippi River. Every page in book is colorful and worth consideration.
I am attending the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans this June. I see in Very New Orleans several sites I want to see in the French Quarter, in the Warehouse Arts District, and about the city. I can probably walk from my hotel near the convention center to many of them, but I also hope the streetcars are running. Look for me at Faulkner House Books or the Garden District Book Shop. Anne Rice once arrived at the latter in a coffin. If I am not in a book store (or at the conference), look for me Lupo Salvatore eating a muffuletta or at Hansen's having a nectar with cream sno-ball. It should be an interesting trip.
Gessler, Diana Hollingsworth. Very New Orleans: A Celebration of History, Culture, and Cajun Charm. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. ISBN 1565124472