What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Artifacts

The Charming French Product Designer Who Made Mid-Century America Look Clean and Stylish

From Refrigerators to Coca-Cola to Air Force One, Raymond Loewy’s Distinctive Curves Sold Products—and Himself

by John Wall

Raymond Loewy, the legendary American product designer and businessman, isn’t familiar to consumers today, but in the latter half of the 20th century he was a household name for his practice of applying the principles of what he called “cleanlining” to create starkly memorable designs. The 1934 Sears refrigerator; the packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes; the Exxon logo; dozens of car models for the Studebaker Automobile Company—all were Loewy’s designs. Following his credo that “the loveliest curve I know is …

Identities

The Flamboyant 19th-Century Creole Aristocrat Who Built New Orleans’ First Suburb

Bernard Marigny Is Famous as a Swashbuckling Gambler, but His Real Estate Developments Shaped the City’s Character

by Scott S. Ellis

In the New Orleans pantheon of colorful personalities, Bernard Marigny is one of the caricatures: an arch-Creole with a sword in one hand and deck of cards in the other. His persona was said to be that of “swashbuckling gambler, duelist, and playboy.” High living and careless with money, his best-known but apocryphal trait was lighting his cigars with $100 bills. Less remarked upon, but far more significant, were his roles as real estate developer, politician, and slave holder.

Indeed, …