featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Patricia Preston is an award-winning Southern author who writes historical and contemporary romance as well as humorous Southern fiction. Learn more about Patricia and her books at her website. Today Patricia stops by to share her love of the French Quarters in New Orleans.

Exploring the French Quarters: The Creole Townhouse

One of the most unique features of the French Quarters in New Orleans is the Creole townhouse. These lovely homes, with lacy ironwork balconies and courtyards, have come to symbolize the Quarters. On my trip to New Orleans in the fall, I was thrilled to get to see them and even tour one. 
The townhouses dominate the narrow streets of the French Quarters. In the early 1800’s, the residents of the French Quarters were of French and Spanish descent and were known as Creoles. France had colonized Louisiana and founded New Orleans. Later, Spain governed the city until it went back under French rule. Most of the lacy ironwork comes from the Spanish period. The earlier French houses in the 1700’s had wooden railings.
There are no front yards in the Quarters. What you see facing the street is the rear of the house. The front of the house faces a courtyard behind the house. The enclosed courtyards were the center of social activity for the Creoles. To access the courtyard from the street, houses had a carriageway, which was a brick tunnel that ran the width of the house.

At the end of the carriageway, there was a covered staircase leading to the second and third floors. There were no staircases inside the house and no hallways. One room led to another room. The kitchen was in a building behind the townhouse, usually in a wing that joined the main house.
I am including some pictures I took of townhouses while in the French Quarters. It is a great place to visit. The food and music are always terrific! As you are reading this, I will be (if nothing happens) en route to New Orleans. I am going on a weekend research trip and I will be staying in the Bourbon Orleans hotel, which has a great history as a former ballroom and a convent as well. It’s considered haunted, too. Maybe Lois will have me back again and I can let y’all know if I saw any ghosts!

I appreciate your comments, but it may be a day or so before I can respond because I will be on the road, but I will get back to you!

Almost an Outlaw

Rancher Austin Cade rides into Liberty looking for his old comrades, the James-Younger gang. He needs their help tracking down the horse thief who's stolen his prized mare. In town, the former gunfighter is reunited with Darcy, the first girl he ever kissed—and never forgot.

Young widow Darcy Branson owns a shop full of fashionable ladies' attire, but continues to wear mourning black so she won't forget her role in her husband's death. Austin stirs a passion inside her that has long been dormant, but can Darcy learn to believe in Austin—and love—enough to let go of her tragic past?

Time is rapidly running out... As a cousin to Jesse James, Darcy has attracted unwanted attention, thanks to her rumored association with the gang. Soon Austin and Darcy are faced with confronting not only their growing desire, but danger in the form of a deadly bounty hunter...

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