Cindy Allen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
With a blockbuster September issue behind me and a huge October issue in the works, I did still find time for something I'd planned a year ago: my own personal pilgrimage to New Orleans. Heartbreakingly, the city turned out to be what I expected. My experience could best be described as a visit to the Day After Tomorrow movie set, minus the snow. Entire neighborhoods are still desolate. The macabre spray-painted signage, inventorying the dead, is visible everywhere. And human jackals roam the streets, filling up their trucks with demolition material.
My hotel was in the Vieux Carré, and the Creole preference for building above sea level put my stay on terra firma. However, what truly succeeded in lifting my spirits was visiting one of this year's Hall of Fame inductees, Sergio Palleroni, who was shepherding a flock of University of Texas architecture students conducting field work for the Green Project in the Bywater District. Almost a real-time view of talent being hatched, the experience was thrilling because it afforded a firsthand look at future architects being nourished on a solid diet of sustainable principles, environmental enfranchisement, and community service. For the main course, Sergio's group was unabashedly learning to build from the inside out. There is something to be said for standing firmly on your own two feet when surrounded by destruction. You start working an inch away from your skin before you even consider sketching a bearing wall. If interiors will indeed come first for these talented young people, who am I to stand in their way?