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Seldom have I opened a book and been gob smacked by goosebumps, but Debra Shriver’s exquisite The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish has me squealing with delight. Debra’s new book is filled with lush photographs she took with her cellphone. It’s the story of why she bought a one-way ticket to Paris and spent almost a year there. A “sabbatical” as she called it. A much needed intermission in the midst of her busy life. A chance to reset and begin again.

Her new book is a Francophile’s view of Paris and her version of Paris along the Mississippi, her adopted hometown of New Orleans.

Debra Shriver’s The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish will make you want to take your leave, flee to Paris and step-up your cellphone photo game. Some of her gorgeous photographs can pass for watercolors, while others look like Monet just got up and left his canvas. Then there are the ones that transport us past glittering windows and sparkling chandeliers to dinner tables set with crystal glasses and old silver—the good stuff—where you’re seated in a red ballgown from La Traviata. The book is luscious, the font is captivating, the story is life-affirming: a woman in the process of reinventing herself. A much needed validation for anyone who’s wondered whether they could do the same thing.

But Debra’s book doesn’t stop with Paris. She traces the Parisian blueprint that became New Orleans, her home. In both cities, “Few Things Are Done or Eaten in Haste. Time is the Silent Ingredient.”

Debra Shriver’s eye for color, balance and design is extraordinary, and I’m not saying this because she’s my friend, and I’ve seen how she uses color and art and yes, restraint, to make her home in the New Orleans French Quarters sing. You can follow her on Instagram and see for yourself. She’s a rare talent who can curate design, food, shadows, and old Tarot cards in Coco Chanel’s salon and create exquisite images.

With The French Leave: From Paris to New Orleans Parish, Debra shows us how we can go to Paris and “through a looking glass, you come face-to-face with yourself.” Seated at cafe bistro chairs on the sidewalks of Paris, she studiously observed Frenchwomen, their fashion and grooming habits, and she shares it all from their haircuts to hemlines and heels. Debra Shriver is that woman, but it’s not just her hair or her lipstick she changed. She changed, and what she wanted out of life, which includes becoming the publisher of her own imprint.

She’s a role model for every woman of a certain age who wonders if she can remake the next chapter of her life.

As publisher, Debra’s been hands-on with every step of getting The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish to print. It took her 54 press checks to get the color and shine of the paper and the text just right. At the same time she made another gutsy decision: to only distribute her book in New Orleans and Paris. 

“I decided I didn’t want Amazon to carry it because New Orleans has a higher than normal number of independent bookstores, and I want to help them,” Debra told me. “And in Paris, it will be carried by Ralph Lauren and The Ritz Hotel. Those are the only places you can buy them, and I’m giving my markup to the local foodbanks. I’m not John Grisham, so this book isn’t going to make me wealthy, but I’m trying not to lose money, plus it will be an education. After my book comes out I’m announcing two other local authors and artists whose books I’m publishing next year. Then I have my cookbook, The Oyster and the Egg, which is already written, which is coming out a year and a half from now.”

“This is my third book about New Orleans, although it’s really about Paris. It’s the end of my trilogy. It’s me coming home. It’s about slowing down, being in the moment and enjoying simple pleasures—which is what I learned from almost a year in France. I learned not to multitask. In Paris I went to market, intending to buy bread, wine and cheese and wound up buying bread. Wine. Cheese. One at a time from three different people because that’s how they do it.”

Debra Shriver has outdone herself with The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish, and I’m thrilled for her. Her book goes on sale Monday, October 25th, at independent bookstores and shops in New Orleans, including Faulkner House, Garden District Book Shop, Sud, Scriptura, Perch, Hazelnut, Ogden Museum Store, and NOMA store, and of course Ralph Lauren and The Ritz in Paris, which will be announced on the US onsale date of October 25th. You might want to call, right now, and order a copy for yourself and another one as a Christmas gift. I predict they’ll sell as fast as hot New Orleans-style beignets dusted in powdered sugar. 

Love, Brenda


  • Reply Tara Dillard October 16, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Debra’s new business model, publishing, aside from her benefit, greater benefit to those she’ll be publishing. Not choosing the amazon river, instead, community.

    Adore anything about use of ‘time’. Personally, use ‘pace’ instead of the word ‘time’. Especially how films use ‘pace’. Delighted seeing, Cry Macho, recently; pace, choice of era, choice to keep people & relationships the focus, the big view. In all it’s glory and horror and in-between.

    Reading, writing, walking, gardening, designing gardens take me there, that sweetspot of pace; not knowing time, hunger, physical exhaustion exist.

    Look forward to getting into Debra’s ‘time’. Want to take that ride, her pace.


    Pace, my silent drug of choice.

    Garden & Be Well, T

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 16, 2021 at 11:19 am

      Tara, I always love your comments because they have that silent ingredient of TIME. I can’t read through what you write, quickly, because there is so much to unpack and think about on another level. You challenge me. “Cry Macho!!” I watched it the day it was released. Eastwood is one of my heroes for so many reasons, especially his prolific ability as a filmmaker. He was 91 when he produced, directed and starred in this sweet gem. Who else, but Clint, is still creating and working hard at this age, and on a horse? Most people don’t know he writes the music for his films. He, too, has that sweet spot of pace. Love seeing you here, my friend. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Barbara October 16, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Brenda you had me at gobsmacked by goosebumps. You have a way with words and if you like Debra’s then I know I will too. You’re both my kind of women. Xx Barb

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 16, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      What a sweet compliment, Barb! Wait til you read Debra’s writing. She knows how to tell a story that keeps you reading. I love you to pieces! Brenda

  • Reply LA CONTESSA October 16, 2021 at 11:57 am

    I went to New Orleans ONCE IN MY EARLY 20’s and bought 21 cement cherubs at a garden shop!
    Love that all photos came from her IPHONE!AND I GET THE FACT 56 CHECKS AT GETTING IT RIGHT!!!!!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 16, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Elizabeth, I bought and fell in love with Debra’s book, Stealing Magnolias: Tales From a New Orleans Courtyard, long before we became friends. (You can find it on Amazon.) Like her new book, it’s GORGEOUS and Debra’s writing seals the deal. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply LA CONTESSA October 16, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    WAITING ON MY TIPPY TOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 16, 2021 at 12:19 pm

      Brava, Elizabeth! You’re going to love it! You could do a book about your life in, and love affair with Italy!

  • Reply Linda Winder October 16, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    I’m not sure what brings me more joy …. your use of the word goosebumps, the anticipation of a recommended now ordered book or the anticipation of your next post! And the delightful comments of your other “guests”! All which are sheer love in a not always serene world. Thank you thank you once again. Linda

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 17, 2021 at 10:32 am

      Hello Friend! Thank you for your sweet comment. You’re doing exactly what our 1010ParkPlace community does: You’re supportive and loving and spreading joy! Thank you, dear Linda. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply [email protected] October 16, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Brenda, this sounds like my kind of book and author. I love Paris and have been traveling there most every year since I was a teen, at one point I thought I would marry and love there but life had other plans. I cannot wait to get this book, off to find the other two on Amazon. Have a wonderful evening and thank you for sharing not only your friend but an amazing, adventurous and talented woman with us.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 17, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, I’m overjoyed that Debra’s book and her journey resonated with you. I’m definitely behind in my travels to Paris and must confess I don’t know the city very well, something I’d planned to remedy before Covid. Debra’s new book is inspiring, so I need to think about planning another trip. Être bien, Brenda

  • Reply Donna O'Klock October 18, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Brenda. Books have always been my prized possessions… but, a book with photos, and ones taken on an iPhone, no less… will garner pride of place on my bookshelf. Cannot wait to see this! Going to call and order this for myself as the perfect birthday gift. Love you, darlin!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 18, 2021 at 9:51 am

      Donna, You’ve been stepping up your cellphone photo game for some time, so you will love Debra’s book as well as her story. Birthday? What date? Happy Birthday sweet lady! Love, Brenda

  • Reply Taste of France October 19, 2021 at 5:20 am

    It looks beautiful. And how exciting to become a publisher!
    You know how to say “French leave” in French? It’s “filer à l’anglaise.” Slip out like a an English person.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 19, 2021 at 12:02 pm

      LOL!! I didn’t know that. Thank you! I’m sure Deb will see this! Love seeing you here! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Vicki Archer October 19, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Deb is one of my very favourite people.. she is shifting, re-inventing and creating always. She faces challenges and excitements with equal gusto and she never ceases to inspire me. I cannot wait to savour her “French Leave” .. I know from my friendship with her, it will be nothing short of brilliant. X

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 19, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Vicki, I feel the same way about Deb. She’s always thinking about what’s around the corner. I love my conversations with her because she makes me step up my game and think about things I haven’t considered. Yes, you will go crazy over her book! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Sandra Sallin October 19, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Oh, how exciting. I just order this book. Sounds divine. You’re the best saleswoman!!! Got to find the book.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 19, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      Sandy you will love everything about Debra and her story! She’s like you: She makes things happen! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Sandra Sallin October 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Rats, I have to wait for it to be published i guess. Can’t order it yet at the Garden District Books Shop.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 19, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Sandy, It’s only a week!!! You can order it from any of the places I listed in red in the last paragraph. The Garden District Book zshop is one of them.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 19, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      Sandy, Elizabeth ordered it from the Faulkner House. Try that.

  • Reply Kimberly October 21, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I am so looking forward to reading this book. Thank you Brenda!

    • Reply 1010parkPlace October 21, 2021 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Kim, I think you’ll like it. Debra Shriver gave me a lot to think about in my next act. xoxox, Brenda

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