I have been in my house for about a decade. The first six years were spent in an exhaustive series of renovations. The two years following the significant renovations were spent recovering – mentally, financially, and emotionally.
Recently, I have begun to do the fun stuff that I can have people over and show them – it turns out no one wants to come over to look at your new roof. As I’ve embarked on this decorating journey, I have been amazed at how these touches make it feel like a home!
One of the first areas I focused on was my living room. After all, the living room where I spend most of my time! I started with a great rug. I initially loved the rug so much that I didn’t want anything blocking my view of it. Until the first stain, then it felt – once it’s blemished, it turns out it’s easy to want to cover parts up!
So I added a fabulous coffee table. I’ll be honest I had no idea how much I would love having a coffee table. It covers a variety of tasks – footrest, card table, eating space. It’s even been stood on for extra stage presence while drinking champagne & singing Careless Whisper at karaoke night. But, my favorite part of the coffee table is having the dedicated space for COFFEE TABLE BOOKS!
When I was prepping to write this post, I decided to start by looking up the actual definition of a coffee table book. To me, it’s a picture book, but I wanted to see what Merriam-Webster had to say about it, and this is what I found:
: a large expensive book with many pictures that is typically placed on a table for people to look at in a casual way
Now I’ll disagree that he must be large or expensive, but who am I to challenge the dictionary!?!
With the help of some friends, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations. All of these recommendations were created by locals or focused on our great city, New Orleans. Speaking of which, please consider popping into a local bookstore or ordering online through a local source – they need our support!
New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence; Richard Sexton & Randolph Delehanty
If you love all the ornate details of New Orleans homes, the lush gardens, and our streets that take you back in time – then this book is for you! Filled with gorgeous shots of the Crescent City, this is also a great gift for anyone who loves visiting here.
The Big Book of King Cakes; Matt Haines (author), Randy Krause Schmidt (photographer)
Are you a king cake or Mardi Gras fanatic? Then this is the book for you! With mouth-watering photos and a detailed history of all things king cake, this book is perfect for flipping through to get you in the Mardi Gras spirit!
Obituary Cocktails; The Great Saloons of New Orleans; Kerri McCaffety
New Orleans is well known for its bars – dives and the more upscale bars all perfectly meld together in this city. Filled with famous old haunts (some no longer there), this coffee table book will have you recalling memories with friends at some amazing establishments.
Cherchez La Femme: New Orleans Women; Cheryl Gerber
New Orleans women have never been known to be meek or timid. This one-of-a-kind book explores how New Orleans women have sculpted and changed the city. Cheryl’s incredible photos are accompanied by essays from local legends like Irma Thomas and Leah Chase.
Dancing in the Streets: Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs of New Orleans; Judy Cooper, with essays by Rachel Carrico, Freddi Williams Evans, Charles “Action” Jackson, Matt Sakakeeny, and Michael G. White
Second-line parades are an anomaly to New Orleans outsiders. A physical and symbolic gathering place for Black history and expression, this book takes a look into the “greatest real-life free show on earth.”
Lagniappe: Be on the lookout for MUTTS written and illustrated by our talented friend and photographer Olivia Grey Pritchard. Coming out Spring 2021!
Now go ahead and fill up those coffee tables y’all!