During the Spanish rule in New Orleans many French Quarter street names were converted to their Spanish translation. For Rue Du Maine or Dumaine the Spanish name of Calle del Maine was introduced. Today if you look around you will see these ceramic tiles on the sides of buildings denoting the Spanish name for the street on which you stand. All the names that changed eventually returned to their French heritage and the Spanish influence to the street names has faded from memory. With so much history, each street can tell a story of the many sovereign nations who ruled over our city in its almost 300 year existence.
In 1925 the literary genius William Faulkner wrote his first novel here in this little yellow house on Pirates Alley in New Orleans. The residence was built in 1840 on the yard of the French colonial prison, by the widow of Jean Baptiste LeBranche. Now, in honor of William Faulkner and the literary history of this home, the current owners have opened a quaint book store on the ground floor. For anyone who loves Faulkner, literature or history it is a relatively unknown site here in New Orleans worth a visit.
Facing the side of the St. Louis Cathedral are the cathedral’s offices. The entryway at 615 Pere Antoine Alley is topped by a regal statue of Louis IX King of France, better known as St. Louis. The splendid architecture is often overlooked, but take a moment to study the facade and details. You can see in subtle ways that it mirrors the beauty from within the cathedral itself and reminds you that we are a european city at heart.
The Historic New Orleans Collection comprises of not only a collection of New Orleans exhibits but also historic structures and homes. One of these homes is the Williams residence located at 718 Toulouse right around the corner from the main exhibits. This home was built in 1889 and its lush courtyard was once the stables for the Meruilt family home on Royal. This beautiful Italianate style home was lastly owned by the Williams family until the 1960s. Peering through the tall fence you see why this is known as the hidden house.
Tortorici’s opened its doors in 1900 and continued serving patrons for the next 105 years. Making the restaurant the fourth oldest in the Quarter standing among the greats like Brennan’s, Galatoire’s and Antoine’s. The Italian restaurant sprang up from humble beginnings as a cafe on the ground floor of the Tortorici’s family home to become a recognizable landmark in New Orleans. In 2005 the historic restaurant closed its doors to prepare for what would become citywide devastation, but unfortunately never returned. Lost to future generations all that remains of this once great restaurant is the sign adorning the building to remind us of its exsistance. The sign is a unique piece of art in itself and we hope next time you are at the corner of Royal and St. Louis you will look for it.
On our trip to City Park this past weekend we found this beautiful little butterfly enjoying the sweet pollen of these flowers in one of the many gardens around the park. With such beautiful weather it’s hard for even the small creatures of nature to resist getting out to enjoy NOLA.
Homes with flat roofs once dotted the French Quarter. Now all that remains of this Spanish colonial design is this home on Dumaine. The roof terrace was an extension of the home, where family would gather, women would do the wash, and with the homes nestled so close the men would hop from roof to roof to socialize with the neighbors. The De La Torre House was built in the 1800s after the great fires ravaged the city. The flat roofs were soon replaced by sloped ridges of the French style to rid the constant struggle with keeping the moisture out in this city of tropical weather. The terrace life was replaced by the growing popularity of the courtyard. This home was one of three in a row built by De La Torre during this time, but today is the loan survivor.
These fleur de lis are adorning the top of a small fence outside Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave. It’s one of the simple over looked details on such a grand building of New Orleans of old. With so many of these NOLA symbols dotting the city, we never know where they may turn up next.
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in NOLA’s City park is a part of NOMA and home to sculptural art from artists around the world. From Rodin and Renoir to George Rodruigez ’s local “Blue Dog” all sitting together among beautiful mature oaks and tranquil water features. This past weekend we took advantage of this wonderful free art and natural surroundings. We enjoyed walking through all the sculptures soaking up the last few days of the summer season.
A recognizable structure across the NOLA skyline is the Louisiana Superdome, now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Home to the New Orleans Saints since its opening in 1975, the Superdome was once the largest unsupported dome structure in the world and was designed by local architect Arthur Q. Davis. It was believed that the Saints new home was cursed due to the fact it was built over a historic cemetery. After years of losing seasons, the dome saw its worst defeat during hurricane Katrina in 2005, when it became an infamous refuge for stranded citizens. After the storm, the dome underwent massive renovations and upgrades to become the glimmering giant in our city again. We felt today was the best day to share the story of this iconic structure, being the team’s first game at home, which ended in the first win of the 2014 season.