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Preview: Creole World

Will Coviello on the Historic New Orleans Collection's exhibition of photos from Richard Sexton's book



Photographer Richard Sexton beautifully captured the Crescent City's mix of architectural charm, lush fauna and bohemian flourishes in New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence (Chronicle Books). In its pages, sagging roofs and crumbling plaster imbue old homes and buildings with character as their interiors showcased their residents' lavish decorations. In his gorgeous new book, Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere, Sexton presents similar photos of New Orleans homes and public spaces and juxtaposes them with similar images from Cuba, Haiti, Cartagena, Colombia and other Latin American locales. Many facing pages seem like mirror images of vibrantly colored neighboring homes built in Spanish colonial styles, with battered shutters and balconies framed by rusted cast iron. There also are juxtapositions of cemeteries, nightlife, urban sprawl and panoramic views. Many of the architectural relics are extremely dilapidated, but bright coats of new paint and bustling street traffic lend them exotic appeal. The book features photos Sexton took during nearly four decades of travel. Images from Creole World are on display at the Historic New Orleans Collection, which published the book. Sexton signs copies at an opening reception for the exhibit.

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