Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Building Letterheads V

Came across this one today, a small printed image of Whaley's Merchant Tailors, Inc., located at the corner of Common and Carondelet Streets in the summer of 1936.  The Moderne building had been constructed after the Depression, from circa 1933-1935. Today the structure -- altered by New Orleans architect Edward Silverstein (1909-1989) in the early 1950s --  is occupied by Brother's Food Mart.

Image from T.L. Whaley, letter to Guy Seghers, August 1936, Guy Seghers Office Records, "District 3 Square 328," Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Building Letterheads IV

In 1905-1919, the National Realty Company was operating out of the former home to the Crescent Mutual Insurance Company, located in the First Municipal District on the corner of Camp Street (401-05) and Commercial Place (604). Real estate agent Michael A. Baccich (1858-1935) was one of National's founding members, and served as company manager; Charles Roth (1860-1932) served as president and auctioneer. The firm purchased the 1850 Henry Howard-Lewis Reynolds structure for $80,000 and hired architects to modernize it.

Image above: "A certain lot of ground together." Letterhead, National Realty Company, New Orleans, La, c. 1905-09. "District 3, Square 255" Guy Seghers Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, April 9, 2012

120 Years Ago

The American Architect and Building News reported on a disastrous New Orleans fire:

"The terrible fire which has just occurred in New Orleans, causing the destruction of nearly four million dollars' worth of property, and drawing probably six million dollars from the pockets of the people who pay insurance premiums throughout the country, calls to mind the fact that New Orleans has no proper building law, unless one has been adopted within a few years. If anything of the sort has been done, the enforcement of it must have been rather feeble, to make it possible for the careless disposition of a lighted cigarette to consume a large part of the town. Merely as a matter of legal interest, it would be curious to know whether the insurance companies, who have suffered heavy losses, might not get some of their money spread to the buildings in which they had an interest. It has been held, in other matters, that the laws of England, which were adopted as the common law of the States formed from English colonies, do not form part of the common law of Louisiana, Texas, or the other States formed from Spanish or French colonies. Now the common law of most of our States, which relieves a man from responsibility for damage by fire spreading from his premises to those of his neighbors, is founded on an English Act of Parliament. No such statute was ever known to the French law, or probably, to that of Spain. On the contrary, the French code, which embodies the common law as it existed in the time of Napoleon, expressly imposes that responsibility; and it would be a nice point for the lawyers to determine, whether the Code Civil forms part of the common law of Louisiana, or, if not, whether anything in abstract justice, which, as we take it, supplies such ingredient in the Louisiana common law as is not furnished by descent from the French law, entitles a man to arrange cotton bales, or construct buildings, in such a way that, if they take fire from a cigarette, they communicate fire to the property of other people."(1)

The article was in direct reference to the Cotton Warehouse Fire of April 1892, which had been blamed on a cigarette cavalierly discarded near the cotton bales.(2)  Shortly after the fire, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company developed a new atlas for New Orleans, including a special sheet dedicated to the Cotton Warehouse District.  New firehouses and water reservoirs were delineated, and structures considered "fire proof buildings" were identified by color.

The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains an extensive collection of fire insurance atlases for New Orleans and other municipalities in Louisiana and Mississippi.  An inventory of those atlases may be found online at:

(1) The American Architect and Building News (9 April 1892): p. 17. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

(2)"Acres of Fire: Two of the Largest Conflagrations That Have Afflicted New Orleans for Half a Century." The Daily Picayune (4 April 1892): p. 1.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Courthouse Architect

From 1895-1910, itinerant architect Andrew J. Bryan had a virtual monopoly on county courthouse projects in the Deep South.  A part-time New Orleans resident who frequented such hotels as the Grunewald, the St. Charles, and the Park View Guest House, Bryan established his office in the Hennen Building.

His county courthouse work --sometimes remodels, sometimes new construction -- included:


Lee County Courthouse, Opelika, AL
Monroe County Courthouse, Monroeville, AL
Randolph County Courthouse, Wedowee, AL


Chattooga County Courthouse, Summerville, GA
Coffee County Courthouse, Douglas, GA
Colquit County Courthouse, Moultrie, GA
Douglas County Courthouse, Douglasville, GA
Habersham County Courthouse, Clarkesville, GA
Muscogee County Courthouse, Columbus, GA
Pulaski County Courthouse, Hawkinsville, GA
Stephens County Courthouse, Toccoa, GA
Stewart County Courthouse, Lumpkin, GA
Troup County Courthouse, LaGrange, GA


Iberville Parish Courthouse, Plaquemine, LA
Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse, New Roads, LA
West Feliciana Parish Courthouse, St. Francisville, LA


Attala County Courthouse, Kosciusko, MS
Claiborne County Courthouse, Port Gibson, MS
Jefferson County Courthouse, Fayette, MS
Prentiss County Courthouse, Booneville, MS
Simpson County Courthouse, Mendenhall, MS


Rains County Courthouse, Emory, TX

Bryan also designed the Nix-Arensman Residence, located at 2140 South Carollton Avenue in New Orleans (1922).

Image above:  "Andrew J. Bryan, Architect." Men of Affairs in Progressive New Orleans. New Orleans, 1908. Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NOLA Arc de Triomphe

A few months ago, we posted images associated with 1852 and 1878 New Orleans civic pageantry.  Today, we came across this 1889 image of the triumphal arch that was erected to celebrate the Fête de la Fédération, Bastille Day.   It was the 100th anniversary of the storming of the French prison, and the city honored the event with elaborate festivities at West End, as well as an enormous arch that spanned Canal Street.

The Daily Picayune reported: "So it came that the two nations celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the greatest events of their history almost at the same time. The thought was emblematized by the central painting on the arch of triumph on Canal Street, two large female figures, representing the respective countries, standing side by side and clasping hands in sight of all the world." (15 July 1889)

Architect J.V. Delpierre designed the arch, which was pictured in The American Architect and Building News in advance of the day's events.

Image above: J.V. Delpierre. "Triumphal Arch erected for the Celebration at New Orleans, La., of the taking of the Bastille." The American Architect and Building News (13 July 1889): p. 18.  The Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Business Directory: Architectural Aluminum

Metal Trims, Incorporated (MTI), was a Jackson, Mississippi-based company that specialized in extruding, fabricating, and finishing architectural and industrial aluminum.  Its products were popular in mid-20th-century New Orleans, perhaps due to local representation by the R.P. Guilbault Company. MTI brises soleil were utilized at the New Orleans Public Library (Curtis & Davis), the Montelepre Hospital (Ricciuti Associates) and the Moisant International Airport (Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse in association with Herbert Benson & George Riehl).

Images above represent Moisant International Airport:  Upper:  MTI Industries. Architectural Aluminum: New Freedom in Design, brochure. Jackson: MS, n.d.; Lower:  MTI Industries. Solar Aluminum Grid, postcard. Hiatt-Ford Photography. Jackson, MS, n.d. Trade Catalogs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. "Modern and Handsome Passenger Terminal Building at Moisant International Airport Will Give New Orleans One of the Newest and Finest Facilities of Its Kind in the Nation. The Dominating Feature is a Domed Main Lobby with a Parabolic Roof Rising 53 Feet above the Floor of the Building."  The Annual Report of the Mayor. New Orleans: 1958/59. Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.