Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my blog, Bayou Contessa. My name is Julie and I just discovered the world of design blogging a few short weeks ago. I stumbled into this wonderful world of design ideas purely by accident while searching on Google for a good lampshade source. Imagine how thrilled I was to find a group of people who are thinking and writing about the very things I’m interested and involved in. I'm a lighting and home furnishings designer and I grew up and live in New Orleans. I have a shop and workroom here on Magazine Street where I design and create my pieces. For more, see my website www.julieneill.com The city of New Orleans has always been at the center of my heart and soul not only because it’s my home, but because there’s no place quite like it anywhere else in the world. I’ve already made many friends in the blogosphere, and I want to especially thank Stylecourt and Cote de Texas for featuring some of my pieces in their wonderful blogs. And when Dianamuse posted an interview with me on her excellent blog, she asked me about the influence that New Orleans has had on my work. It was my response to this question that ultimately led to me wanting to do a blog myself. An excerpt from that interview follows:
“Far and away, the city of New Orleans, my home, my heart, my native city has the greatest influence on my work. This is a city of artists, it’s an antique city that’s beautiful, and decaying and intense and European and peopled by an amazing array of characters. The beauty of the architecture and the elegance of the old homes inspires me in every way. It’s a city of decoration and grandeur that’s tempered by a patina of decadence, a city that thrives on celebration, a city that stimulates all your senses. In this place, there is no way to escape being inspired."
So I’ll be blogging about the many treasures New Orleans has and how each of these inspires and enriches me and I hope they will inspire and enrich you, too. One final note: the "Bayou" part of the name is obvious, but the "Contessa" part refers to a small town in Sicily called Contessa Entellina where my ancestors migrated from to New Orleans in the late part of the 1800's. Many people from this little town came to New Orleans at that time, and many of their descendants still live here, and this, too has been part of my inspiration. Here are some photos of Bayou St. John and the lagoons in our City Park,which is adjacent to the Bayou. The lagoons were once part of Bayou Metairie. My "Bayou" Pictures: Now for some "Contessa" pictures. Here is an excerpt from Leita Spoto's very informative website about Contessa Entellina:
In the late 1800's people in Sicily began to emigrate to various countries. The people of this town began immigrating to America. They immigrated to Chicago, Illinois; New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Newcastle, and Stockton, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Hammond and Independence Louisiana and Tampa (Ybor City), Florida; Houston and Dallas, Texas. The greatest number immigrated to New Orleans, Louisiana. Their exodus was such that at one time there were more Contessioti in New Orleans then remained in Contessa Entellina. Today New Orleans is the home of the greatest concentration of Arbreshe-Americans.
I'm sure you can see from these photos how these immigrants were both drawn to New Orleans and great contributors to the city's diverse culture.

I am the owner of Julie Neill Designs in New Orleans where we create beautiful custom lighting. This blog is my love letter to the unique people, places and happenings which make New Orleans the amazing place it is.

Please visit my website to learn more about my lighting and our fabulous shop on Magazine Street.


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