Since the Preternatura Book Club is on hiatus until January, I’m taking this time to share some of the places that play a part in my upcoming urban fantasy, Royal Street.
The lead character in the Sentinels of New Orleans series is Drusilla Jane Jaco, aka DJ, who lives in an area in New Orleans called Uptown. Now, for those of you unversed in the NOLAsphere, New Orleans is actually a conglomeration of about 63 distinctive neighborhoods, each of which has its own personality, style, and sometimes even accent.
The area where DJ lives, at the corner of Nashville Avenue and Magazine Street, is a mixed business-residential area. On the corner where DJ’s house sits, in real life, a little shop called the Quilt Cottage existed at the time of Hurricane Katrina. I used to go in there a lot, and I remember going a couple of times after the hurricane when the owner had reopened it, but she had suffered a lot of damage to her home and, sadly, passed away a couple of years later. The storm had so many more victims than what the official records show. There’s a meat market on that corner now.
But in my book, that’s where DJ’s house is located. Her house is based on my neighbor’s house in New Orleans in a style called a Victorian Camelback. Here’s what the outside of DJ’s house looks like.
In the book, DJ’s house is painted a deep red color, and it’s on a corner, with a parking area in the back she shares with the house next door. The “camelback” name comes from a second story being added to the back part of a house but not to the front–like a camel’s hump.
Across the street from DJ’s house is the home of her best (human) friend, Eugenie Dupre–who doesn’t know DJ is a wizard because, you know, wizards don’t exist. She thinks DJ is a risk-management consultant for Tulane University, which is nearby. Eugenie is a hairdresser, and has a salon in her first floor called “Shear Luck.” She lives upstairs. In real life, the house across from where I located DJ’s house is Cafe Luna, and it does have a hair salon located in the building. Here’s the real Cafe Luna:
Across Magazine Street from DJ’s house is Marinello’s Pizza, which I named in honor of my friends Nick and Noelle Price Marinello. And Marinello’s such a great Italian name, eh? In real life, that spot is occupied by Reginelli’s Pizza (also a fine Italian name). And here’s Reginelli’s.
Catty-cornered across the intersection from DJ’s house at the time of Royal Street was a closed-down coffee shop. In real life, there was a Starbuck’s on that corner that didn’t have damage from the storm but didn’t reopen–we got so tired of seeing that empty building with graffiti-covered boards–seemed like it was that way forever.
That’s it for this week’s tour. Next week, we’ll take a tour of the Lakeview neighborhood, where DJ’s mentor Gerry lives.