Fellows Tour of New Orleans April 2016
Fabulous Gardens, Architecture and Food!
Fellows member Janice Jerde, on the Tulane University School of Architecture Advisory Board, arranged an incredible tour of New Orleans and upriver plantations for the Fellows. Professor John Stubbs, Christovich Senior Professor of Practice and Director of the Masters of Preservation Studies Program at the Tulane School of Architecture, also helped with the arrangements and accompanied us throughout the tour, providing interesting detail and insight into the architecture and history of New Orleans. Through Janice and John, we were invited to tour and have cocktails at private homes and gardens not open to the public.
Our days were filled touring the gardens, historic homes and the beautiful architecture of New Orleans, including a tour of the rebuilding of the Ninth Ward. We learned about the heroic efforts that go into restoring antebellum architecture in an area affected by water in every way imaginable. Standing on the levees of the Mississippi, we observed that the level of the river is higher than the land.
While touring the plantations up river we visited Afton Villa, a privately owned and restored plantation garden. We were greeted with a most delicious drink, an Afton Villa Iced Café au Lait, and were entertained by the gracious owner, Genevieve Trimble, who at age 93, just wrote a beautiful book, “The Birth and Rebirth of a Nineteenth Century Louisiana Garden”, detailing the history of these historic and restored gardens.
New Orleans is also about the food. Our cooking class the first night provided us with the knowledge of the differences between Creole and Cajun cuisines. We also found out who made the best pralines in New Orleans and came home with the recipe. Our dining experiences ranged from Shaya, named the best new restaurant in the U.S., to a picnic BBQ at Oakley House Plantation. Our farewell dinner was at Antoine’s, the oldest restaurant in New Orleans. We dined privately in the revered “Rex Room” which hosts the Council that names the annual Mardi Gras King. John Stubbs, whose wife Jerelyn is a cookbook author, hosted a delicious cocktail party in their beautiful home and garden where we met Jamie Charbonnet. Jaime is a New Orleans native whose family has been in New Orleans for many generations, and he relayed the story about meeting Virginia Robinson.
An amazing experience enjoyed by all, the Fellow’s tour of New Orleans has set a very high standard for future Fellows’ adventures!
Post by Marian Powers
Friends of Robinson Gardens member