Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Lousiana's River Road
Vestiges of Grandeur:
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999
A second gallery edition of Vestiges of Grandeur was published in February 2011. It features a signed and numbered first printing of the trade edition, a custom belgian linen slipcase, and an original, signed and numbered color pigment print of the cover image, "Stairway, Ashland Belle-Helene Plantation". The new gallery edition retails for $400 and is currently available at A Gallery for Fine Photography. The first gallery edition of Vestiges of Grandeur is available directly from the author.
Richard Sexton's text and photographs are supplemented by the aerial photographs of Alex S. MacLean, which are a vital component of the photo-essay. Preservation architect Eugene Cizek contributed an historical introduction.
Richard Sexton chronicles the landmarks, both vibrant and decaying, that line the banks of our most storied river, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. His atmospheric photographs limn a landscape at once melancholy, contradictory, overripe, haunting, and scary.
Vestiges of Grandeur...is a landmark book, a moment frozen in time. Eloquent, passionate, and heartfelt...this work belongs on every Louisiana bookshelf.
With his gorgeous bookVestiges of Grandeur, Sexton does what no photographer really has done since Clarence John Laughlin shot the derelict plantation homes half a century ago. . . Though he has numerous books to his credit, Sexton's Louisiana photography is exceptionally organic. He writes about the "swampy infinity" of the River Road as if he grew up here, and nobody packs such a wallop with a shot of cracked ceiling plaster.
Through photography and writing, this book looks at the truth behind the myths and offers an insightful, yet beautiful portrait of the River Road
plantations. Even though you can read Vestiges of Grandeur for its factual information, its strength lies in the striking photographs that let you witness for yourself the power of the fact behind the fiction.
No one interested in Louisiana history should fail to get a copy of this book. It's not just pretty pictures. This might be the one coffee-table book that you
want to give as a Christmas present this year. Do yourself a favor and take a look at it.