The Garden Chronicles: A New York Writer Moves to New Orleans by

Issue 70 · Spring Fling · April 30, 2013

The Garden Chronicles: A New York Writer Moves to New Orleans

Issue 70 · Spring Fling · April 30, 2013

Across the street from the Garden District mansion where vampire novelist Anne Rice used to live, writer Julia Reed bought a three-story Greek Revival house in New Orleans—barely a year before Hurricane Katrina swept through town.

Reed and her husband spent the next few years renovating the storm-damaged house, which became the subject of her book The House on First Street. For help outdoors, they turned to Nashville-based landscape architects Page/Duke, who re-imagined the space as a classic courtyard garden:

Photographs by Page/Duke.

metal garden gate at julia reed new orleans house garden district page/duke

Above: Ferns and azaleas flank the iron garden gate at the house on the corner of Chestnut and First streets.

  three story greek revival mansion new orleans garden district julia reed page/duke gardens

Above: Reed documented the story of how both her house and her city got rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina in a memoir she wrote on her laptop. A few days before she was due to turn in the manuscript, the house was burglarized and her computer—on which she had stored the only copy—was stolen, forcing her to rewrite the book.

terrace and outdoor dining area at Julia Reed's New orleans house

Above: Of the Page/Duke design philosophy, partner Gavin Duke says: "We like to use trees to form a canopy; which would create an outdoor room."

  hosta edge a paved path at julia reed's new orleans house

Above: After the storm and contractor problems,"my friend William Dunlap, an artist whose work graces our walls, gave me a spot-on working title: 'A Year in Provence Meets The Poseidon Adventure,' " Reed wrote in Elle Decor.

  ground cover interplanted with pavers at Julia Reed's New Orleans Gothic Revival mansion

Says Landscape Architect Ben Page, "I am definitely in the reductionist phase of my design journey. I really do passionately believe that less is more."

  espaliered tree against the house at Julia Reed's New Orleans mansion

Above: Creating intimate areas within a larger space achieves a sense of privacy. To dampen outside noise, Page/Duke planted shrubs and trees.

a fountain in the courtyard at Julia Reed's New Orleans mansion

Above: A fountain in the courtyard and, in the distance, a garden bench enhance the sense of space.

Julia Reed's brick driveway in New Orleans

Above: The brick driveway edged with ivy.

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