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On August 23, 2005, Angèle Parlange traveled from her hometown of New Orleans to attend a birthday party in Sag Harbor. That same evening, Hurricane Katrina hit the Crescent City, and Parlange had no choice but to stay in New York. “It’s quite literally the only reason I landed here,” says Parlange, who is now happily settled in the West Village. “The circumstance was shocking; I still pinch myself today that I’m living here.” Manhattan may now be her home, but New Orleans will always remain in Parlange’s blood. Born of Creole stock, she grew up on the oldest plantation in Louisiana. Called, appropriately enough, Parlange, the French colonial home was constructed in 1750 and has housed eight generations of her family. Antique French furniture still outfits the house, and the walls are adorned with portraits of her ancestors. “It gave me a very eclectic sense of design [and taught me] to appreciate the imperfect,” says Parlange. “It’s become a part of both my voice and aesthetic.” As a designer and a writer, Parlange eventually let her upbringing surface in her work. In 2006, she published Creole Thrift, a book detailing her knack for repurposing family heirlooms, personal mementos, and antiques in affordable, creative ways. In an effort to keep her ancestors’ spirits alive, she’s reupholstered Louis XV chairs with fabric inspired by her great-great-grandmother’s calling cards, and silk-screened old photos of her great-uncle’s college football team on white cotton shower curtains. “History is really the root of all my designs,” says Parlange. “It helps to create a story…and people love a good story.” After settling in Manhattan, Parlange lived briefly on the Upper East Side, although she eventually found her way downtown. “It has a little bit more of a Bohemian slant,…which reminds me of New Orleans,” she says. She often takes advantage of nonstop flights back to her hometown, but admits she’s also caught the New York bug. “It certainly wasn’t in my plan, but it’s been thrilling,” Parlange says. “Just one of those fortuitous things.” r Parlange created a versatile and decorative display piece by covering a bulletin board with wrapping paper and placing it inside an ornate 19th-century frame. 2010 134 Lonny december 2010 december Lonny 135