Holiday Gift Guide for the ‘Bookworm Preservationist’

The holidays are quickly approaching and many of us are scrambling to find the perfect gifts for our friends and families. If someone on your holiday shopping list is a lover of preservation, it might seem daunting to find a meaningful gift for them this holiday season. Fear no more – we have a few holiday gift ideas that are sure to impress the preservationist in your life. Since they are as unique as the buildings and places they love, we have created a few different gift guides for all different types of preservationists.

Our first gift guide is for the ‘bookworm preservationist’; the type of person who might spend their Friday nights this winter curled up next to a historic fireplace with a good book instead of going out for a night on the town. For the preservation-loving bookworm on your shopping list, a compelling book about local New Orleans history would be an excellent gift that they will be sure to enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite picks:

by Roulhac Toledano and Scotty Veazy


This visual biography of an acclaimed New Orleans preservationist and artist is an ideal gift for any well-read preservationist with an interest in visual arts. The large book features over 120 stunning full-color images of Martha Wright Ambrose’s portraits and plein-aire paintings of landscapes, New Orleans streetscapes, and architecture. Contemporary photographs contrast with the early 20th-century paintings to show what has changed and what has remained intact.

This book can be purchased at the Garden District Book Shop located at 2727 Prytania Street. Copies can be ordered over the phone at 504.895.2266, or directly through their website.

2) Spirits of the Bayou

by Deborah Burst


If your preservationist has a fascination with mystical places or an affection for places that might be considered downright creepy, then this book will be sure to capture their interest. Spirits of the Bayou is a page-turner that follows the author’s journey through the sacred places of New Orleans and its surrounding bayou hamlets. Explore the area’s castles of faith, funerary architecture, cemeteries, and the ever-changing landscape of the bayous and swamps.

Purchase this book through the author’s website here, or on Amazon.

3) Garden Legacy

by Mary Louise Christovich and Roulhac Toledano


This book would be a wonderful addition to any New Orleans preservationist’s collection, especially if they have a green thumb. Garden Legacy is a highly-illustrated book that discusses the French traditions of landscape design and its arrival to Louisiana by colonial French settlers. The book contains beautiful prints, period maps, and illustrations from the Historic New Orleans Collection and other institutions. If the person you’re shopping for attended our Holiday Home Tour this year, they’ll love this book – the home of one of its authors was featured on the tour!

The book can be purchased through the Historic New Orleans Collection

4) PRC Membership


A membership to the PRC is a gift that will keep on giving well beyond the holiday season. The bookworm preservationist will love having nine issues of the award-winning Preservation in Print magazine delivered to their door throughout the new year, as well as four issues of the New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles magazine. Other benefits include free admission to our Renovator’s Happy Hours, Annual Meeting, and Mint Julep Reception in addition to discounts on PRC merchandise and other events. Buy a membership here!

If none of these gifts ideas strike up any inspiration for your special someone, they might not fit into the ‘bookworm preservationist’ mold. Perhaps the person on your shopping list would rather spend their Friday nights gallery-hopping on Julia street instead of staying in and keeping cozy with a good book. If so, stay tuned for the next gift guide in our series for the Artsy Preservationist.