Friday, May 9, 2014

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? by Christa Allan



The topic for our latest cycle is setting. Being a New Orleans chick, born and bred, I consider myself fortunate to have such a rich history to draw from for settings for my novels. In 2012, my first (and only, to date) historical released. Love Finds You in New Orleans , which takes place in the 1840s. I discovered that so much of  the landmarks and landscapes of my city are like patina, a richness that forms from fine scratches on silver over years of use. On the surface, those shadows and dark highlights may seem to spoil the luster of a piece, but it actually adds to its value and beauty.



This is how I described my city in the novel to bring it alive to readers:

New Orleans is a city much like the gumbo for which it is famous. Populated by the Indians, founded by the French in 1718, and later inhabited by the Spanish, the Germans, and the British, various cultures have simmered for centuries creating a stew of rich, hearty, and vibrant people.

Called “the Crescent City” because its communities expanded along the half-moon curve in the river, New Orleans is as genteel as it is raucous, as flamboyant as it is understated, and as historic as it is contemporary. In one day, visitors can admire the towering triple steeples of Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North American; meander into the French Quarter for Sunday bunch and listen to jazz in the lush courtyard of the Court of Two Sisters; shop for antiques along Magazine Street; stop at Plum Street’s Snoball Stand, where the treats are served in Chinese takeout containers; dine on the two-hour Natchez steamboat cruise along the Mississippi; and end the night with coffee and beignets at CafĂ© du Monde, the original French Market coffee stand.

Soulful jazz spiraling from clubs on Frenchmen Street, lavender wild irises and pink azaleas splashed along Creole cottages, beads and doubloons tossed at Mardi Gras parades, streetcars clanging along St. Charles Avenue, and fleur-de-lis flocked Saints fans chatting “who dats” all the way to the Superdome—New Orleans wraps her arms around you and hugs you so close, you can feel her heartbeat.


Christa Allan's newest novel, Test of Faith, released in March. You can find her at www.christaallan.comFacebook, and Twitter. She and her husband live in New Orleans with their three neurotic cats and new dog, Herman. You can find her other novels here.





12 comments:

  1. Such beautiful descriptions of New Orleans, Christa. It's one of my favorite cities and the current setting of my WIP. Congratulations on TEST OF FAITH. I'm also anxious to read your historical. Both sound wonderful!

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  2. Thanks, Lori. So glad you love the city, and I'm looking forward to reading about it in your next book!

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  3. Great post, Christa! I've only been to New Orleans once, about 20+ pictures ago. I saw a painting there that I fell in love with and took the gallery's card, promising myself I'd buy it if I ever struck it rich. Well, *that* never happened. And even if it did, I'm suspecting it's sold by now!

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    1. What's the gallery? It's never too late!

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  4. One of my all time favorite cities. I feel ... just so many things when I am in New Orleans. The history, the cultures, the mystery and magic. I swear I lived there in another life. I love it and it is one of the few places I could see myself living other than LA.
    Thank you for the post!
    xoMaggie

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    1. You just might have been sipping mint juleps on a plantation in a former life....

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  5. Oh Christa, NO is one of my favorite cities on the planet. I'd read so many books set there, that I just knew what it would be like...and it was! The food is just like I imagined, too! My top 3 are probably (in no order) NO, Toronto, and San Francisco.

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    1. Oh, the food....and new restaurants open constantly---and, of course, we must check them out.

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  6. Loved reading your description of the city, Christa! I still haven't had the pleasure yet of visiting New Orleans -- it's been on my wishlist for a long time! -- but I feel I can see it a bit more clearly now ;).

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    1. Well, when you do, call me. And don't plan any trips during Mardi Gras season if you're here for the first time unless you're being sheltered by locals! Oh, and avoid summers...so damn hot.

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  7. As always, Christa, you make me want to go back

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    1. Not sure when you last visited, but such fun to be had! A great weekend is the French Quarter Fest...lots of music and it's free!

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