New Orleans Architecture Tours

November 2015

Happy Birthday Thomas Sully! (1855)

Thomas Sully was born in Mississippi City, Mississippi, November 24th, 1855. He lived for a time in New Orleans and then moved to Austin, TX to study architecture with the Larmour and Wheelock firm. He opened his own architectural firm in 1881 in New Orleans, and from 1889-1893 he joined Albert Toledano to create the Sully and Toledano firm. During this period architecture was well into a transition from Greek Revival and Italianate to Renaissance Revival and Victorian, and Thomas Sully’s work reflects this change. (Here are some of the highlights.) In 1883 Sully was contracted by Simon Hernsheim, a[…]

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Plans Submitted for New Orleans Custom House (1847)

On this day in 1847, plans for the New Orleans Custom House were submitted. This structure is the third Custom House in the city, as a growing city meant that a larger building was needed to house all of the Federal Government Offices. Alexander Thomson Wood’s plans were selected over those drawn by James Gallier Sr, James Dakin and other well-known New Orleans architects. Construction on the building started in 1848 and lasted until 1881. This building is a unique blend of Egyptian and Greek Revival elements. The Egyptian Revival elements are most recognized in the enormous columns on all[…]

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Plans submitted for Rivergate Convention Center (1964)

On this day in 1964, C.H. Leavell & Co submitted plans for the Rivergate Center, a convention center located at the foot of Canal Street. This convention center was an attempt to revitalize the downtown area and was used not only for conventions, but also Mardi Gras Balls, High School Graduations, and even the funeral of Mihaela Jackson in 1972. Three weeks later, on December 4th, ground was broken on the project, which was designed by the firm of Curtis and Davis, who previously designed the Thomy Lafon School, the main branch of the New Orleans Library, the Angola Prison[…]

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The Friends of the Cabildo “Marigny Tour” is fantastic!

This morning I took a Marigny tour offered by Friends of the Cabildo. It was a wonderful tour led by Sandy (I believe her last name was Baptie.) Sandy is an architect who volunteers her time with Friends of the Cabildo to take people out on tours. This tour started at 10 am at the U.S. Mint located on Esplanade Avenue. At this landmark, she gave her intro and explained the history of this neighborhood. As every member of the group were locals, she didn’t have to delve too deep into the history of the whole city- we all had[…]

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76% Louisiana Voters Approve of Superdome (1966)

On this day in 1966 voters in the state of Louisiana voted yes to amend the Louisiana Constitution to allow the Superdome to be built. This amendment called for a 4% tax on hotel and motel rooms to pay for the domed stadium that was estimated to cost $35 million. This plan was met with staunch opposition from fiscal conservatives who thought that the state had no business financing such a large project. Their concerns were not heard over the excitement of the NFL’s decision to award the city of New Orleans with their very own football team a week[…]

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