Faubourg Marigny

If you cross Esplanade Avenue along the northeast side of New Orleans’ French Quarter, you’ll find yourself in the neighborhood known as Faubourg Marigny. On our last trip to NO, we stayed in the more sedate eastern side of the French Quarter and walked across Esplanade Avenue into Marigny to sightsee and eat gumbo. Word is the music scene has moved to Marigny. Plenty of clubs, particularly on Frenchmen St, which is an extension of Decatur. Being early risers, and therefore early retirers, we didn’t got to any clubs that trip. Maybe next time. At any rate, the atmosphere in Marigny is a more authentic and more earthy alternative to the frat-boy entertainment over on Bourbon Street.

Marigny has a fascinating history. The area was laid out in the early 1800s on what had been a large plantation. Must have been one of the first suburban developments! It quickly became a favorite spot for white Creole gentlemen to build cottages for their second families–light-skinned mistresses and their illegitimate children. In my forthcoming novel Evermore, I chose Marigny as the natural location for the home of Lucinda, Marcel Chamard’s mistress and the love of his life. One reason I love visiting New Orleans’ older neighborhoods is that I feel Lucinda and Marcel, Nicolette and Cleo, strolling along Rue de Chartres right along with me. The mint at the corner of Esplanade and Decatur is the site where Deborah Ann, Marcel’s wife, spies Lucinda on the street, follows her home, and . . . . At the other end of Decatur is the huge gray granite monolith, not quite finished but finished enough that Union General Butler made it his headquarters during the Civil War occupation. Just down Canal Street from that building, Admiral Farragut arrived, the conquering naval presence, and in front of it, up Canal Street, marched the conquering Union. Nicolette and her brother Marcel watch that parade with very different feelings about their beloved city being occupied. I’ll get that novel out toward the end of 2011. It just needs polishing.

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About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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