Contrasting House Colours and Trims in New Orleans

Orange and purple brick wall in New Orleans
New Orleans-style brick wall

In Lancashire, our buildings are conservatively coloured. We don’t use each feature as an excuse to add a new colour. I wish we did.

Purple house with banana trees
Purple house with banana trees

While some of the combinations a visitor will see in New Orleans are startling, really there’s no idea why they should be. It turns out that purple, pinky-orange and beige go well with green banana leaves.

Navy house with purple, turquoise and green paintwork
Navy house with purple, turquoise and green detailing

I would never in a million years dream this colour combination up… no, I take that back. A year in New Orleans ought to do it. The painting is applied with such care too: how much easier it would have been to slap a single colour on that pillar?

Bar sign New Orleans
A blue sky accentuates the contrasts

It does help to be in a sunny place. When colours dance together in the  light, pretty much anything goes.

Lady with skeleton in hat and coat tails, NO

It has taken a good few trips for me to get used to the imagery of New Orleans too. I don’t think I’ve seen so many skeletons anywhere, in the shops, markets and even on the garage doors.

But there’s a consistency to it: on the right of the picture, the smart terracotta, yellow, white and green building sits perfectly well with the grungier left.

Pale blue house with purple door and shutters

Here, the shutters draw the eye, but the pale blue and fuchsia pink are pulled together by purple accents on the steps, down the edge of the building and on the finials, while the white is so neat and fresh.

Green house with yellow door
These soft colours appealed to me

I didn’t get a great picture of the last one, but I loved the combination of green, teal, pale yellow, lilac and white, and the patterns they create.

Every one of these colour combinations challenges me in a different way, but I am secretly thrilled by their care, individuality and freedom. It shows how a community can resist the urge to batten things down, and instead inspire each other to do their own thing. For who says which colours are right and which are wrong?

This post is inspired by HeyJude who invites us to share strong contrasting colours.

30 Replies to “Contrasting House Colours and Trims in New Orleans”

  1. Love the colours and precision each building is painted, although I must admit to being a boring pastel person myself.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your captures for this challenge.

  2. Exactly how I feel about the colors of this city. My roots on both sides of my family are all NOLA, but I was raised in Dallas with frequent trips here. I have lived in NOLA now for 4 years and I’m not at a point yet where I take the colors and architecture for granted. I could wander through the different areas for hours, just looking at the homes and the gardens and all of the little quirks that make it so unique. Thank you for your post.

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