The contributions of the Wolf family to the cultural and commercial life of New Orleans went back five generations by the time Peter was growing up in Metairie, just outside the city. Despite their deep roots, Jews were still outsiders to the country clubs as well as the powerful social organizations behind Mardi Gras. Peter’s parents, somewhat disengaged from Jewish culture, seemed relatively unfazed by anti-Semitism as they managed a glittering life. Peter followed his father to Yale but, drawn to the Jewish roots he found among his East Coast friends, wanted a different life for himself. After years of struggling to resist the charm of New Orleans and the appeal of a comfortable career in his father’s firm, he finally made peace with his southern heritage. A noted urban policy expert and architectural historian, Wolf offers a loving and beautifully written portrait of New Orleans in the 1950s and 1960s as well as beautifully rendered memories of New Haven, New York, and Paris in this journey of self-discovery and tribute to his roots. --Vanessa Bush
"I adore this book and read it in a kind of dreamy fog, unable to put it down and think of anything else. It strikes just the perfect note for a New Orleans memoir, smart and graceful, with the affectionate heart of a native son and the clear eyes and keen intelligence of a scholar of cities. And it's a very brave book, coming from a man who's struggled and taken the risks of his passions. What a lovely way Peter Wolf has found to reconcile his past and present selves." -Susan Larson, The Reading Life, WWNO, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO FOR NEW ORLEANS.
"A noted urban policy expert and architectural historian, Wolf offers a loving and beautifully written portrait of New Orleans in the 1950s and 1960s as well as beautiflly rendered memories of New Haven, New York, and Paris in this journey of self-discovery and tribute to his roots." - Venessa Bush, Advanced Review for BOOKLISTPeter Wolf's book is a charming, insightful memoir, which is beautifully written and descriptive of what it was like to grow up Jewish in New Orleans in the mid-20th century. Peter's journey is worth reading for those who enjoy memoirs steeped with interesting people, places and experiences. - Scott Cowen, President, Tulane University.
A heartfelt, intimate, and painfully honest account of the coming of age of one shy boy and of the exotic city he left behind, but will never forget. A story of the courage of breaking away and the "you are there" descriptions of places and people that make the reader part of this narrative of struggle and triumph. -Barbara Goldsmith, author of Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie, and Historian. -
Peter Wolf has planned communities, and written meaningfully about the importance of place, for much of his life. In New Orleans: Gone Away, you realize where it all comes from, and how powerfully the aura of New Orleans has influenced everything he has done. Wolf's story is personal and intimate, yet addresses something that matters to every one of us: the compelling theme of home, and how all of us are shaped by it.
-Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Why Architecture Matters.