One might think an estate’s auction would be a stuffy, somber affair – all dust and chintz. Even the idea of selling off an individual’s furniture, artwork and heirlooms is a bit sad. But I’ve come to see things from a different perspective. It is a renaissance! A last chance for that underutilized, “I don’t have room for it” or “hidden in the back” piece to find a new home. 

For example, back in 2018 I purchased a set of French Art Deco dining chairs at Crescent City Auction. They were a great deal but worn in and covered in a sad, faded greige velvet. But, with the help of my great friend and decorator Marian DeMeyers, we looked past the dinge and imagined something new and fabulous. First, we upholstered the seat in a contemporary faux leather (because my little boys would destroy the real thing). Then, we covered the back in a sumptuous Donghia zig zag pattern. And voila! The final effect was something entirely fresh. Now, instead of these chairs residing in a dusty attic or journeying back and forth between indifferent family members, they are a talking point at my dinner parties. With a bit of imagination and (if you’re lucky) a decorator or friend with great taste, you can create something uniquely yours.  

Penn’s new chairs


New Orleans has several great auction houses you can patronize – either online or in person – this fall. I’m certain you can find a great piece to give new life and call your own.  




New Orleans Auction: 

Oct. 23-24: Important Estates Auction (Includes collection of Bush Antiques owner and collector Allain Bush) 

Nov. 8: Modern & Contemporary Art + Design 


Neal Auction: 

Oct. 27: Presidential Memorabilia & Coins 

Nov. 19-20: Louisiana Purchase Auction 

Dec. 9:  Modern & Contemporary Art & Design 


Crescent City Auction: 

Nov. 13-14:  Private Estates Auction   



  1. Denyce Celentano “Figure Study,” 21st c., oil on canvas- Crescent City SOLD
  2. Pair of Monumental Painted Canvas Panels, New Orleans Auction
  3. Cast Iron Garden Urns , fourth quarter 19th century at New Orleans Auction
  4. United States Large Cents 1793-1857 Collection, Neal Auction
  5. Mid-Century Pair of Pewter Inlaid Turned Walnut Candlesticks at Crescent City  SOLD 
  6. Venetian Hand-Carved Figure on Pedestal, New Orleans Auction