Richard Sexton, Casa Hinard Parlor, Peter Yokum Residence, French Quarter, 1992, Color pigment print, 20 x 25.5 inches
New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence features 17 photographs by Richard Sexton from the book of the same name, which has become in the 30 years since its release, a contemporary classic. The book, and this exhibit, focus on the interiors, furnishings, art collections and gardens of a handful of creative people in New Orleans in the 1990s. Dreamers and urban pioneers, they included bohemian artists, artisans, architects, preservationists, activists, antiquarians, restaurateurs and teachers, all living outside the American mainstream. They tolerated crumbling plaster, exposed lathe and sagging galleries in exchange for communal festivity and joie de vivre. Photographer Richard Sexton documented how and where they lived; what they hoarded, collected and worshiped. In this new 30th anniversary edition, historian Randolph Delehanty weaves together the history of New Orleans from the fragments he saw in those photographs. The authors explore in images and words how the combination of climate, a strongly European and Catholic culture, African influences, and the revelry of Mardi Gras has created a modern ambience unlike that of any other city in America. Much has changed in New Orleans since this book first appeared, but far more has stayed the same. Elegance and Decadence celebrates the joyous spirit of this distinctive culture, an inspiration to everyone who pursues the art of living.