It's always a bit startling to revisit someplace you haven't seen in a few decades, especially if it was a neighborhood you remember from your childhood. Nothing stands still, but some alterations can be especially dramatic. Many parts of downtown New Orleans in the 1920s and '30s hadn?t changed significantly in several generations, except for the addition of overhead wires. This lavish volume will bring you up to date, displaying before-and-after shots of many fondly remembered locations -- such as the intersection of Madison Street and Decatur in what used to be "Little Italy." A 1906 photo shows a decaying Creole townhouse which then housed a clothing store, and Madame Begue's famous restaurant across the narrow street. On the facing page, the 1996 view from exactly the same perspective shows the townhouse changed almost beyond recognition, but the 1830 building across the street, now the home of Tujague's Restaurant, which has been cleaned up and renovated (and is one of my favorites!), retains nearly all of its original design features. Other sites remind us of the days of parking your car on Canal Street's neutral ground, of the 1840s Greek Revival hidden behind the Sanlin Building's aluminum facade, of the gradual but continual decay of the De La Ronde plantation house in Chalmette. Other structures have disappeared entirely: The Poydras Market, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and the entire 300 block of South Rampart Street, among many others, most of them replaced by freeways and modern motels. This would be a terrific book to send to that New Orleans-born relative who moved to California years ago.