The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story

The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story

by Julia Reed


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After fifteen years of living like a vagabond on her reporter's schedule, Julia Reed got married and bought a house in the historic Garden District. Four weeks after she moved in, Hurricane Katrina struck. The House on First Street is the chronicle of Reed's remarkable and often hilarious homecoming, as well as a thoroughly original tribute to our country's most original city.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061136658
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/30/2009
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 478,423
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Julia Reed grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. She is a contributing editor at Newsweek and is the author of the essay collection Queen of the Turtle Derby. She lives in New Orleans.

What People are Saying About This

Adriana Trigiani

“Julia Reed knows how to live. She also knows how best to write about it in hilarious, sensual and mouthwatering detail....This book is so poignant and delicious, you may want to eat it instead of read it.”

Cokie Roberts

“In The House on First Street, Julia Reed, one of the cleverest crafters of prose writing today, tackles the country’s most fascinating and frustrating city....With her usual keen eye for the quirky and outrageous, Reed finds much to amuse the reader in this delightful volume.”

Walter Issacson

“Wow! This is the most brilliant and delightful memoir to come out of post-Katrina New Orleans. With great literary panache and a throaty humor, Julia Reed captures the magical allure of the city, its food and its people...destined to be a classic.”

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The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story (P.S. Series) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, one reviewer was of the opinion that they were deeply dissapointed that, for them, Julia missed the point of her story when she veered from describing her lovely Garden District home remodel into the horrors of Katrina and its aftermath. I disagree. So sorry, you should avoid reading spot-on reportage and instead watch the home improvement networks and buy shelter magazines if you don't want the real world to intrude on your life and prefer a santized view of 'fancy' homes and the lives therein. In taking us from the comfort of observing yet one more upscale redo of a home and the ensuing 'perfect' life of the future occupants into the change of course Katrina forced upon every resident of New Orleans, Julia Reed exposes many of the shocking still kept secrets behind of the veil that has been dropped by the current administration over our collective memories about the horrific disaster and the even more appalling mismanagment of relief as perpetuated at every level of government in this country. The way people have found to survive, thrive, revive, and celebrate post-Apocalyptic New Orleans is touching, memorable, and a call to action. Julia's book is call to not forget Katrina, to not forget the underserved people in our land. Julia show us that they can be the poorest folks who are lost and also lost everything or the poor national guard who are doing their duty, living on the edge seeing horrific things daily, eating horrible rations, until Julia brings some real food and the touch of our common humanity to them, in their service to protect and help restore this iconic part of our country. Y'all read this inspiring book and then go forward to help lest we forget. It won't hurt if you commune to eat/cook/serve some good New Orleans food in the process! This is going to everyone on my gift list along with an invitation join me in action in New Orleans and in the myriad pockets of despair in this country. It is so nice and easy to take out your checkbook and to help folks far away, so very much harder to see and deal every day with what is right in front of you. So, mirror the grace and good humor of Juila Reed in her courageous coverage and restorative love: it won't hurt and it may be just what we need to save our wonderful country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love New Orleans and Louisiana - you will love the depth and richness of this book. I have purchased numerous copies as gifts to friends and each has loved it. It's one thing not to like a book and to say so honestly but the trashing that another reviewer posted is unwarranted. I found her story charming and her writing worthy of Vogue. The details that seem to irritate the other reviewer as "trivia", I found colorful enhancements of her basic story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Julia Read made my childhood and love of that era come alive in The House on First Street. She captured the warmth and charm of the South and Southern women. I gave it to all my friends and relatives for birthday or Christmas gifts. If you like old houses, decorating, history, and good food you will love The House on First Street. I miss Julia on the cable news programs of which she once frequently appeared. Her common sense and quick wit are needed today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, while not what I expected,was a really good read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others. While it tackled a serious subject (Hurricane Katrina) it didn't weigh the reader down with grim details but focused on the rebuilding and lack of support in the community by leaders.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was excited to read this book after visiting New Orleans a few months ago and remembering the good food and a clean city. You were very descriptive in telling your story. I enjoyed it very much and give Henry a hug for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One has to wonder if the world really needs a Katrina memoir by someone who didn't have to swim for their life, who didn't get stuck at the Superdome or Convention Center, who didn't lose their home, or who didn't lose a loved one. One would have to grudgingly say, yes, Julia Reed provides a perspective that had yet to be well documented - that of the self-employed Uptown homeowner who came out remarkably well after the storm and the subsequent failure of the federal levees. Reed's book is - generally - a pleasant read, so to speak, but there are moments where readers will want to hunt her down and whack her over the head with her book. Her breezy writing style feels so completely wrong when she writes about encountering dead bodies during a ride- along with the National Guard. She also can't seem to help but sound arrogant and flippant in many parts of the book, particularly in the passages that deal with a few overzealous animal rescuers, or with African-Americans, whose antics she seems to find simply precious. The author name-drops with irritating regularity, and pretty much every interesting character in New Orleans is referred to as 'My friend,' something that becomes annoying very quickly. She also has a slippery grasp of some of her facts, including one that appeared on page two (New Orleans was not exactly devastated by the 1927 flood), and makes one take everything that follows with a grain of salt. Still, despite its many infuriating flaws, the book is a quick, easy read, and it has its moments of grace and humor. Reed is one of her generation's most skilled magazine writers, and this attempt at memoir writing is a good effort, albeit one that could have used a better editor. Read it, but be forewarned, especially if you're from New Orleans....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good writing and reading
KidsCatsBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Highly engaging combination of home renovation saga, food writing, and Katrina memoir. The author is a clearly wealthy contributing editor for Vogue and Newsweek whose historic home survives the storm and its aftermath. The focus is on the food industry in the wake of the storm. This proves to be a truly unique perspective. There is plenty of grit and graphic bits to represent the abundance of horrors the Crescent City endured. While the availability of fresh oysters and lump crabmeat cannot possibly compare with the carnage, there is merit in the notion that life, and the party (in New Orleans, anyway), must go on. The author also repeatedly acknowledges with great wonder at her good fortune as well as her immense guilt at having same. I truly enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Reed writes in run-on sentences about her socializing, dining and drinking experiences. There is not a redeeming quality in this book, other than a mere mention of her saintly mother and her acts of charity. How can Ms. Reed experience the tragedy of hurricane Katrina without a life-changing transformation of her materialistic self-loving existance? She name drops and rattles on about trivia while glazing over any potential for an interesting story. Reed seems to think the meaning of life can be found in numerous cocktails. Save your money and your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book would have been a charming memoir of restoring one of the beautiful old homes in the Garden District of New Orleans and having some wonderful dinners that the city is famous for, but it turns hideous when it is set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina and the author feeling noble for buying some ribs for the National Guard of Oklahoma while then going on to eat and drink well every night while mentioning in passing the dead bodies in the streets. In one part she wryly described how silly she thought the people who went in to save stranded house pets were.(I was one of the people of South Florida who turned out in droves to take those little creatures into our homes) What about the Lower Ninth? Or the Doctors who weren't making pronouncements by phone, but living in the hospitals trying to keep people alive? What about the Super Dome? The whole thing is treated as a minor discomfort for Ms.Reed and her well to do friends. In one part of the book she says that her editor tells her she has the 'Marie Antoinette Syndrome...let the eat cake....'precisely what I was thinking by the time I hit that page.