New Orleans Architecture Tours

Local History

The Rink Myth Debunked!

Standing on the corner of Washington and Prytania, beneath a yellow barn-shaped building, you’ll hear it. Wild stories about the history of the building. “Right in this spot in 1884, the city of New Orleans opened an ice skating rink.” “For two years, this building was an ice skating rink, then it became a mortuary.” “Ice was imported from the North, so guests could skate.” The guides’ stories are varied and incredibly detailed. Some go as far as to discuss the technology of creating an ice rink in this era. The first ice rink was opened in London in 1876[…]

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The New Orleans Architecture Foundation’s Poydras Tour is great!

Last Saturday I took a Poydras Tour offered by The New Orleans Architecture Foundation. It was led by Shannon French, a local architect and NOAF board member. I really enjoyed the tour, it was well researched and equally well delivered. It is clear that Shannon was excited about the material and wanted to share it with his guests. The tour started at Harrah’s Casino at 9:30 am. In this space Shannon gave an intro and briefly discussed the history of the Poydras Corridor. This street was laid out as early as 1788 (the same year as the Great Fire) and[…]

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Ways that architecture was designed to fight summer heat.

August is upon us again and with it brings sweltering temperatures and humidity that makes you feel like you should have brought flippers with you. We are incredibly lucky that we can escape the heat and relax in air conditioning. But what did people do to alleviate high temps before the invention of air conditioning? Was there any way to cool off? As it turns out, there are many different ways that southern architects used home design to help residents feel cooler. Outdoor spaces In New Orleans many colonial and antebellum homes make use of outdoor space. This is a[…]

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Women in Colonial Louisiana

For Women’s History Month, I’d like to share with you a paper I wrote for a Colonial Louisiana Class in 2013, about the mark that Louisiana women have made on the landscape. I have made a couple of little notes in the body of this work to reflect some changes since then, which can be found inside parentheses.  Enjoy!! Women in Colonial Louisiana After searching all over the internet, looking for women from the colonial era of Louisiana, one might believe that there simply were not many women here during this time period.  These of course were the days before[…]

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Free People of Color in Architecture (Part 1)

For Black History Month I thought I would learn a little more about contributions made by free people of color in the architecture of New Orleans. I want to share the names of some of the free people of color who built homes around the city. Sure, you might have heard about James Gallier, Henry Howard and Thomas Sully but do you know about the works of Jean-Louis Dolliole, Louis Nelson Fouché or Norbert Soulié?   Colonial Era To start at the beginning, Africans were brought to New Orleans as early as 1719 (a year after the city’s founding).  In[…]

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