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PUBLIC SPACES, PRIVATE GARDENS
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PUBLIC SPACES, PRIVATE GARDENS

$55.00

WILLIAMS PRIZE WINNER 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0-8071-3837-3 CLOTH
Page count: 340
Trim: 7 x 10
Illustrations: 77 halftones, 20 color plates
Published: April 2011

Landscape architect Lake Douglas employs written accounts, archival data, historic photographs, lithographs, maps, and city planning documents many of which have never been published until now to explore public and private outdoor spaces in New Orleans and those who shaped them. The result, Public Spaces, Private Gardens: A History of Designed Landscapes in New Orleans, is the first in-depth examination of the city’s landscape history.

Douglas presents this “beautiful and imposing” city as a work of art crafted by numerous influences. A survey from the colonial period to the twentieth century finds that geography, climate, and, above all, the multicultural character of the city’s residents have made New Orleans unique in American landscape design history. French and Spanish settlers, Africans and Native Americans, as well as immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, and other parts of the world all participated in creating this community’s unique public and private landscapes.

Landmarks such as Congo Square, Audubon Park, the river levees, “neutral grounds”–local residents’ own term for medians–together with ordinary residential gardens are all testaments to the city’s international imprint. Douglas identifies five different types of public and private designed landscapes: squares, linear open spaces, urban parks, commercial pleasure gardens, and domestic gardens. Each has its own character, and all represent influences of those who occupied them.

Discussing these types from perspectives of design, function, and content, he shows how local examples contribute to the city’s unique character as well as fit within the larger context of the history of designed landscapes in America. While in New Orleans many have been stratified in arenas such as language, cultural identity, economics, and race, New Orleanians found common ground, literally, in their community’s both public and private landscapes.

Douglas’s sweeping study, illustrated with over 90 color and black-and-white images, includes an exploration of archival horticultural books, almanacs, and periodicals; information about laborers who actually built landscapes; details of horticultural commerce, services, and marketing materials; and an exhaustive inventory of plants grown in New Orleans for agricultural, medicinal, and ornamental uses.

Public Spaces, Private Gardens, an informative stroll through the last two hundred years of the designed landscapes and horticultural past of New Orleans, offers a fresh look at the cultural landscape of one of America’s most interesting and historic cities.


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A unique museum gift shop located in the French Quarter that offers reproduction maps and prints, jewelry and gifts by local artists and our own publications as well as many other titles related to the culture and history of New Orleans and Louisiana. Many of the items in this shop can only be found at The Historic New Orleans Collection. This gift shop features reproduction items from our collections that are educational and exclusive.