Years ago, as spring approached and citizens of New Orleans anticipated warmer weather, crawfish season and the blossoming of nature’s beauty, local interior designers, landscape architects and various artists anticipated partaking in the Junior League of New Orleans’ Decorator’s Show House. This marvelous event allowed both established and aspiring home designers to showcase their artistic skills and creative imagination among some of the most historical homes in the city. Each year, the Decorator’s Show House committee selected one home for artists and designers to showcase. Among the show house and artistry were events such as luncheons, sneak previews, and before and after parties tantalizing guests with fine cuisine from local staples such as Commander’s Palace, Maurice French Pastries and Ristorante Bacco, to name a few. 


The Decorator’s Show House committee prepared for the main event, which occurred once every three years, by selecting a home and a number of designers and landscape architects. Each artist was assigned to a specific room at the home or within the yard, which essentially became the canvas from which to work. The year 1996 showcased 5411 St. Charles Avenue, which was identified as Decorators’ Show House VIII. Built in 1906, the 6 bedroom, 5 bathroom Mediterranean style structure has garnered its place among New Orleans’ historical homes. Interior designers and landscape architects such as Sherry Haydel, Louis Guevara, Pamela Desselle, Carl Palasota and numerous others from across the state submitted sketches of their assigned canvases and personal biographies, which were published in the event’s program. 

As time progressed, the Decorator’s Show House became a part of JLNO’s history rather than its future. A similar event called Christmas in October, which was established in 1989 and occurred simultaneously with DSH, eventually took center stage. Christmas in October, later called Rebuilding Together, aimed to assist elderly and disabled homeowners whose homes were in need of renovations. Through the program and in partnership with Preservation Resource Center, JLNO selected one home each year and provided renovations such as interior and exterior painting, stuccoing, bathroom rails, sustainable kitchens and any others that would make the home a safe and happy place to live.  

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