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Step Outside

Cheryl Gerber Photograph

My spring cleaning was different than I imagined. For months I’d made sure not to schedule anything the weekend after Jazz Fast. I had every intention of donating clothing I hadn’t worn in a few years, re-arranging some artwork, planting flowers in the yard, scrubbing the floors and taking care of other miscellaneous tasks that had been put off. I was looking forward to a calm, productive weekend at home.

I like deadlines; I need them. I am rarely someone who gets things done ahead of schedule. But a few days before the weekend, on my way back from a photo shoot in Lafayette, where my colleague and I had been working on our sister publication, Acadiana Profile, I received a frantic text message informing me that the neighbors had a flea infestation, and in order to eradicate the problem, everyone in the immediate vicinity would need to coordinate schedules and hire an exterminator. He arrived a good 30 minutes early, so I “evacuated” to the nearby Laundromat to wash (what seemed like) everything I owned after throwing it into my car. While waiting for him to finish spraying toxic, flea-nuking chemicals into the house, I joked to a friend with a twinge of shame, “Can you believe I edit New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles?” I don’t think of myself as a control freak, but it was frazzling that “revamping and updating the house” plans had transformed into an attempt to get rid of a possible dormant infestation.

“It happens. It’s just that time of year,” she responded. Later that day after everything was washed, I took a break to sit in my (hopefully) flea-free backyard, enjoying the last few minutes of daylight. As the sun set, I heard the melodic chirping of a frog, and it had a soothing, lullaby-esque effect on me as it reminded me of the lushness of summer that’s about to take place. I felt stress-free and postponed the remaining chores till the next day.

My backyard has always put me in a state of bliss, and it’s where I prefer to do most of my entertaining, whether it’s having a glass of wine after work or inviting 15 people over to grill.

I’m excited about this issue, because we focus a lot on being outside. On pg. 38, Valorie Hart and Sara Essex Bradley showcase some amazing, eclectic outdoor spaces, offering tons of helpful tips, whether your style is simple and elegant or funky and colorful. Complementing this is Trendwatch (p.25), where Vesta Fort shows you all the accessories and necessities you’ll need for outdoor entertaining.

Speaking of outdoor entertainment, Steve and Ellen Frischhertz (pg. 32) hit the jackpot when they purchased their Victorian home on City Park Avenue. When Ellen isn’t strolling in the park (which she does daily), she’s often spending time on one of her porches that overlooks it. The interior of the home is just as fabulous as the setting – with a light, neutral palette, the breezy home is a sanctuary during the hot summer months.  

Another highlight of this issue is “Summertime Bounty,” pg. 50. Robert Peyton constantly tests out recipes before finalizing them for publication. Here he shares six creative originals that are especially tailored for the summer months. We have tons of other helpful articles in this issue, too, and I hope that you enjoy it and find some inspiration as you linger in your own outdoor oasis, during this anticipated time of year.

On the Cover: Jill and Peter DeBroeck’s patio
Photographed by Sara Essex Bradley

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