Love Finds You in New Orleans, LABy: Christa Allan
Love Finds You in New Orleans, Louisiana
Writing a novel about finding love in New Orleans meant finding helpful friends and family from sea to shining sea. My gratitude is extended…
To everyone at Summerside Press who contributed to the birth of this novel and to those who will deliver it to readers, I thank you for your attention.
To Rachel Meisel, editorial director of fiction, for offering me the opportunity to write about the city I love and steering me along the way. To editor Ellen Tarver, for her insights and fine-tooth combing.
To my savvy agent, Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary. She’s wise and funny and patient. I couldn’t place the future of my writing career in safer hands. Sandra never does what I expect her to do. She does more.
Thanks to Jenny B. Jones and Ginny Yttrup for reading, re-reading, re-re-reading, and continuing to answer e-mails and phone calls even after they knew they were from me.
To my brother, John Bassil, for accompanying me to museums and antique stores without complaint.
To Stacey Alexius for her fact-finding missions. To Michelle Mecom, for providing reference novels and sanity breaks between classes, and to Adam Rowe, for clearing out his Louisiana history collection.
To the monthly GNO group who, even when I couldn’t tear myself away from the nineteenth century to join them, checked on me to give me glimpses of the twenty-first century.
To Elizabeth Pearce, culinary historian at the Hermann-Grima Historic House in New Orleans, for answering my food questions. Along the way I discovered the Southern Folk Artist & Antiques blog written by Andrew Hopkins. His lovely photographs and detailed descriptions were invaluable.
To the Starbucks crew on Barataria Blvd., I appreciate your allowing me the corner chair to write away the day.
To Shea Embry and Cam and Will Mangham, thank you for welcoming us home to Camellia Manor and being a part of rewriting our history.
And last, but never least:
To my husband, Ken, for entertaining himself during my time travels and welcoming me back from the 1840s in the most unexpected and delightful way.
To my children for continuing to support and encourage me.
And to a most loving Father, who reminds me that I’m not the boss of Him and who has been generous beyond measure.
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 America; meander into the French Quarter for Sunday brunch 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 Café 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 chanting “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.
Grand-mère and Abram were due home from the French Market at any moment, and Charlotte could not convince Henri to leave her bedroom.
“You know Abram will throw you out the door, and after Grandmère is finished with me, I may never leave this bedroom. Forever a prisoner of this house.” Well, forever until the day of her coming-out party. Lottie knew there would be no missing that event even if she wanted to. And most days, she wanted to forget the event entirely.
Henri yawned and stared back at her.