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Crescent City Culture: Our open-door policy

By Mary Lou Atkinson

For a fail-safe fund-raiser, you can bank on a home tour in New Orleans.

The other day, lines were almost around the Uptown blocks when the New Orleans Museum of Art resumed its Home and Art Tour after a post-Katrina hiatus. At the same time, the Junior League’s Kitchen Tour also played to packed houses, as usual.

Sponsors of such tours would have you believe that folks flock to these events seeking inspiration for improving their own home décor. To that notion I say: Nonsense. We want to peek into other people’s lives. We want to open those closed doors because in New Orleans, we will not settle for the façade.

We want to know who’s your mama, whether you bleed black and gold and how you spend your money. (We also want to know how you made that money, but we don’t always give in to the urge to ask, especially if we can find out on Google.)

But we are not voyeurs indulging a prurient interest. New Orleanians merely have a highly developed sense of community. The feeling is: We’re all in this together, so we might as well be neighborly. And it’s not a one-way street. At the drop of a doubloon, we’ll tell you who’s our mama, whether we bleed black and gold and how we spend our money. Just for starters.

The spring home-tour season is winding down as midday temperatures go up, but May still offers a few options, such as:

Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association Home and Garden Tour, May 15, noon-4 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 day of;

The Home Show at Lambeth House, May 15, 2-5 p.m., $20 advance, $25 at door;

Beau Chene Garden Tour and Luncheon, May 18, 9 a.m.-noon, Mandeville, $15 tour only, $35 tour and luncheon; 985-845-1671.

At Home in the Vieux Carre Series, May 20, 5:30-7 p.m., 1028 Bourbon St., $10 ($5 for Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates);

Mary Lou Atkinson offers observations on the art of living in New Orleans whenever the spirit moves her, for NolaVie. For more information on NolaVie, visit


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