This novel was one I picked up while walking New Orleans’ Garden District one gorgeous autumn afternoon and after having wandered charming streets and oogling stranger’s homes, and ended up in a upstairs bookstore. This is a familiar pattern to anyone who’s known me for a while. And while in such a bookstore, I always hunt through the local books. These are my favorite souvenirs. After having filled my arms with architecture books, I found a novel. I piled it on top as the back cover hinted at all my go-to story elements: old houses, food, family and romance. Turns out, of all the books I bought that day, this one is my hands down favorite. Julia Reed, a fixture in Garden and Gun magazine essays (that magazine has the best essays, articles and photos!) is one of the cleverest writers of our generation. She painted a picture of her life and times, and those of New Orleans in the pre-during-post days of Katrina, that is much like a Monet. (best viewed at various times, from various angles, and it will be determined to be first class.) Though I wouldn’t want her life, Ms. Reed did reel me in with every high and low she survived in the highs of buying a house to the pits of despair in renovating it. She also gave me a glimpse into a bayou lifestyle that I’ve often found decadent, and as it turns out, I was right. I read House on First Street like it was a juicy cinnamon roll and highly recommend you savor it too. Can’t wait to read more of Julia Reed’s reminisces.