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Literature

Auction of Estate of Southern Author, Journalist Julia Reed

January 25, 2021

NEW ORLEANS — The estate of a writer who chronicled Southern food and life will be auctioned next month to benefit a charity created to continue her philanthropy. 

Julia Reed was 59 when she died in August of cancer. She was a contributing editor to Garden & Gun magazine, which chronicles life and culture in the South, and wrote numerous books about the region.

Reed's estate includes art, furniture, china, flatware and jewelry from her homes in New York, New Orleans and Greenville, Mississippi, according to Neal Auction Co. of New Orleans. 

They'll be auctioned online Feb. 5 to benefit the Julia Evans Reed Charitable Trust. Phone, absentee and online bids will be taken. 

The collection being auctioned ranges from coconuts carved in the 19th century to work by contemporary artists about whom Reed had written admiringly. 

The coconuts, which include two flasks, are expected to sell for $400 to $600, according to the auction catalog.

It quotes Reed as describing "Guarding Nefertiti," a papier mache and beeswax coyote skull by Ashley Pridmore of New Orleans, as decorated "with incredibly lifelike but highly unlikely barnacles. Yet the piece looks as if it somehow evolved that way." 

That sculpture is expected to bring in $1,800 to $2,500, while a storm-suffused landscape by Mississippi painter William Dunlap — one of several pieces of his work to be auctioned — is expected to raise $12,000 to $18,000.

The sale is estimated to bring in at least $128,000 to $197,000 for the trust, Bettine Field Carroll, spokeswoman for the auction house, said in an email. 

"However, our estimates are constructed conservatively so as to appeal to the broadest audience and to compel competitive bidding," she added. "We hope and believe that the items from Julia Reed's estate will exceed their presale auction estimates."

The Reed trust's webpage states that it continues her work to help people in need "by supporting organizations dedicated to providing the things in life that Julia deemed essential: a good home, nourishing food, a quality education, and opportunities for learning, literacy and engagement in the arts." 

Reed's estate is among a number being auctioned over the weekend starting Feb. 5. Six other collections include the estate of Dr. Kenneth McLeod Jr., a descendant of New Orleans architects James Gallier and James Gallier Jr. It includes the Gallier coat of arms and three groups of early 19th century paintings that the elder Gallier collected during a trip to Italy, according to the catalog. 

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