A book extra for The Italian’s Virgin Princess
I love New Orleans and seem to visit when it’s summer — hot and sultry and stormy — which was perfect for The Italian’s Virgin Princess. Joelle, a nightclub singer, needed a setting that was hot, moody and evocative and New Orleans in July with the daily afternoon thunderstorms is all of that and more!
Images of New Orleans: I used lots of street scenes from the French Quarter in The Italian’s Virgin Princess and while most tourists think of Bourbon Street as the happening street, I loved Royal and Chatres Streets, which are filled with antique shops, art galleries, and elegant restaurants.
Jackson Square: Founded in 1718, Jackson Square today is the heart of the French Quarter. The park, filled with leafy trees, is laid out in a sun pattern and is bordered by historic buildings, including St. Louis Cathedral.
Exploring the Bayou: At UCLA I did my senior thesis on Mark Twain and have long loved Southern culture and the Mississippi River, so I made a point to drive the winding River Road where I toured Destrehan Plantation, traveled along the banks of the great Mississippi River and explored the surrounding bayou.
Brennan’s: New Orleans is a city of music, food and culture and no trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to Brennan’s for their famous breakfast (Brennan’s is featured in The Italian’s Virgin Princess) or Cafe Du Monde, across from Jackson Square. Cafe du Monde is famous for its cafe au lait and beignets, which is the French version of the doughnut, served warm and dusted in powdered sugar. I’ve included both a recipe and some history behind Brennan’s famous Bananas Foster.
Colors of New Orleans: New Orleans is romantic and tragic, colorful and mythic. From the plantations homes and river, to the frenzied festivities of Mardi Gras, to the whispers of haunted houses, voodoo, and vampire folk-lore, when I visit New Orleans it’s so exotic that I feel like I’m in another country.