Old Culture, New Context

In the Crescent City, design entrepreneurs incorporate elements of hometown history and tradition to create their own inspired styles.

Just mention New Orleans, and a distinctive style comes to mind: antebellum architecture, decorative ironwork, crumbling above-ground cemeteries and iconic black-and-white street signs. While hallmarks of the city’s French, Spanish and Caribbean heritage infuse the very essence of the city, visitors who never venture far from the bricks of Bourbon Street might believe that its style is set in amber — a static scene of eternal Mardi Gras. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Crescent City hosts a vibrant and varied design scene, especially when it comes to furniture and home décor. The savvy entrepreneurs behind each of these popular independent boutiques and galleries have developed distinctive aesthetic approaches that draw upon elements of their hometown’s provenance and make them relevant to the present. From vibrantly updated vintage monograms to unexpected furniture groupings and outsider art, both old and new, here’s where to discover a new class of modern classics.

Leontine Linens
For proof that formal doesn’t have to be fussy, just look to Leontine Linens, the go-to boutique for bespoke embroidered monograms. Jane Scott Hodges founded the business in 1996 with the goal of bringing luxe embroidered linens out of the darkness of closets and cupboards and into the light of everyday use. Her approach was simple: Combine vintage-inspired monograms with brilliant, saturated color and embroider it onto durable, washable fabrics. What started as a modest endeavor run out of her own home quickly took off, becoming a fast favorite among celebrities, interior designers and other décor influencers. Stepping into its Magazine Street showroom is to be surrounded by endless, elegant possibilities, from unique color combinations and graphic design styles to the myriad ways that an embroidered monogram can be used to enhance indoor and outdoor spaces.
3806 Magazine St., Ste. 3
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

Modern Market
“Just Good Design” is the mantra of this sophisticated showroom that specializes in contemporary furniture, lighting, home goods, décor accents and gift items from independent and emerging designers around the world. Owner Sherrie Hope is the talent behind this store’s signature mix of items, large and small, including the “Me Time” bed with a leather-wrapped headboard and powder-coated steel legs, the “Hot Mesh” collection of indoor/outdoor tables and chairs, and a minimalist pair of salt and pepper grinders designed to make stray granules a thing of the past. This year, Modern Market moved from its Magazine Street spot into an expansive 1,900-square-foot showroom. It’s open for business during its beautification process — shoppers may just have to sidestep a ladder or two until the target completion date in May — but they’ll appreciate the additional space to browse, dream and discover tomorrow’s treasures.
1200 Annunciation St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Longshore Studio Gallery
For anyone obsessed with both Instagram and fashion, a visit to this Magazine Street stop is akin to a pilgrimage. That’s because it’s the home base of artist Ashley Longshore, whose insouciant, candy-colored style has earned comparisons to Andy Warhol. Last year, The New York Times called her an “avatar of pop feminism,” thanks to canvasses that could be described as folk art for the layer designer labels and glamorous faces with cheeky comments that capture the zeitgeist. But Longshore also works in three dimensions, creating sculptures and furniture pieces infused with her signature wit and whimsical aesthetic. Standouts include a Chesterfield sofa upholstered in rainbow glitter fabric, a Dom Perignon cork the size of a pommel horse and faux supermarket-style decorated sheet cakes frosted with snide sentiments like “I’m Sorry I Threw Up in Your Birkin.”
4537 Magazine St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

Malachite Home
It takes a very talented eye — or, in this case, two pairs of eyes — to bring disparate elements together to create a cohesive room, and that’s why Melissa Miles Rufty and Adrienne Casbarian have been Crescent City’s most in-demand interior design duo for more than a decade. With Malachite Home, they have created a must-stop for aesthetic junkies, where they can peruse their flawless style, which brings together an eclectic yet expertly curated selection of high-end vintage. Recent finds range from a sleek 1960s cream-colored sofa with acrylic arms and legs to a gracious 19th century French walnut console with hand-carved legs and hand-forged bronze pulls. The selection of art and accent pieces is equally expansive, with porcelain-lined wicker vases sharing space with antique oil paintings and other one-of-a-kind items that bring definition to a home and joy to a homeowner.
3806 Magazine St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

Material Life
Treasure hunters, take note. This orchid-painted storefront houses an eclectic trove of ephemera, original artwork and vintage finds, all created by black artists or highlighting black history or culture. Owner Carla Williams is a writer, photographer and photography historian, and she uses her creative vision to curate an always-changing collection that covers every colorful wall and antique tabletop. Where else can you find vintage Jackson 5 pennants, miniature paintings of lip piercings, colorful throw pillows, cross-stitch art depicting signs of the zodiac and so much more. Be sure to budget enough time to linger — in addition to retail.
2521 Bayou St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119