cover image My New Orleans, Gone Away: A Memoir of Loss and Renewal

My New Orleans, Gone Away: A Memoir of Loss and Renewal

Peter M. Wolf. Delphinium (HarperCollins, dist.), $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-88-328556-2

Architecture historian Wolf recalls his youth in New Orleansand the changes his native city experienced in the latter half of the 20th century. Wolf's ancestors arrived in the 1830s, founding cotton, sugar, retail, and other industries, creating a network of prominent Jewish civic leaders. He revisits a materially privileged yet emotionally impoverished childhood, sharing tales about his beloved Dalmatian%E2%80%94who he eventually has to bury in the yard. His father sent him north to prep school at Exeter in order to ready him for Yale, where he became friends with cultural-critic-to-be Calvin Trillin. After an unsuccessful foray into medical school, Wolf returns home to his father's once-flourishing cotton brokerage. He does well, but his heart rebels and he attends graduate school part-time at Tulane. But instead of remaining comfortably unfulfilled in New Orleans, he heads back north to study his passion, architecture, at NYU, becoming a leading figure in land planning and urban policy. Wolf's journey from inhibited child to dream-chaser is beautifully told, full of love for New Orleans, tradition, and family, all trumped by the angst-filled awakening that led him forward. (July)