After Hurricane Katrina, a handful of small, independent developers began building houses that blended New Orleans' history, modern design, and an innovative focus on environmental sustainability. "As with jazz, gumbo, and some remarkable cocktails, this style illustrates the city's talent for crafting extraordinary things from the ordinary stuff it has at hand," Wayne Curtis writes. In surveying these efforts, particular attention is paid to five new houses, the architects who built them, and their contribution to "an entire country that needs to rethink the way it designs its cities and homes."

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