House of the Week: Greek Revival side hall on Prytania Street

When I moved from the Carrollton neighborhood and back to the Garden District three years ago, there was a house just a few doors down that had been almost wholly razed except for the foundation. As the months passed, construction began, and after a year or so, it almost looked as if it had always been there. They designed the new house (at least the exterior) to look practically identical to the 1830s-era home they tore down.

While I am generally not a fan of new construction, I was pretty impressed with this particular house. Not only was the foundation and structure essentially the same, but they also kept the old wrought-iron railings and fleur de lis fence. One day, I noticed a Re/Max sign mounted on the fence and as soon as I got home, I looked it up online to see photos of the interior, but strangely enough, it is nowhere to be found. Even to this day, I can’t find it on Remax, Realtor, or Zillow. I mean, is the house for sale or not?

Every day, I walk by the house and hope the sign has come down or has the “sold” or “under contract” bit added to it. After all, a beautiful house like this one just sitting empty pains me deep down inside.

One day I was standing outside the house, admiring it while Pippin took his time smelling the grass out front when an older gentleman walked towards us and paused to grasp the front gate with both hands and stare up at the house. Being the social person I am, I commented on how long the house had been on the market and that I hope someone buys it soon. He turned to me and said, “It used to be my house!”

It seemed he was eager to talk about it and I love to listen to people’s stories, so over the next half hour or so, he regaled me with tales about his life on Prytania Street. From a  polite, but uninvited Mardi Gras guest who crashed on their couch to the neighborhood dachshund who wandered about freely impregnating female dogs he found in heat, it seemed the quirky and hilarious tale would never end.

The man told me how he had to sell the house because they could no longer afford the upkeep, but that he dearly misses it and the neighborhood. They miss it so much, in fact, that his wife and their dog still get their hair done at the same neighborhood shops they’ve always frequented in the past.

I hope I see him again in a month or so to hear more stories about their life in the Garden District. Until then, I am planning on calling a realtor to get a tour of the house, although I know I couldn’t even come close to affording it! I don’t know about you, but I am dying to see what they did and didn’t change on the inside.

House of the Week: Sidehall Camelback on Coliseum Street

New Orleans’ wretched summer heat is already upon us and it’s not even officially summertime yet. Though I love taking walks with Pippin around my gorgeous neighborhood, my sweet pup turns 17 this year and he’s really slowing down … especially when the heat index is over 90°.  Our long, long walks have recently shortened to a quick jaunt then back into our air-conditioned apartment.

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House of the Week: Side Hall Cottage on Constance St.

This past Saturday, my friend and real estate agent Zuheily from NOLA Living Realty invited me to her first solo listing. She knew there was no way I could afford this particular property, but she also knew how smitten I am with classic New Orleans architecture and the open house offered an opportunity for me to step inside a private building that was nearly 140 years old.

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House of the week: Victorian on Belleville St.

The things I could do with this house!
The things I could do with this house!

The more I look at houses for sale, the more I am disappointed by the culture-eradicating renovations I discover. Developers and contractors are tearing the heart and soul out of New Orleans’ architecture and it honestly makes me want to weep. While I appreciate some new design, there’s a lot to be said for the creativity and elegance of the past. Don’t rip out transoms and dividing walls for an “open floor plan.” Go live in a suburban tract house if that’s what you’re looking for. Continue reading

House of the week: Mary Plantation on Hwy 39

While people are spending millions to live in a 500 sq. ft. flat in Manhattan or a tract home in Northern California, you could have your very own plantation for little over a million. Located in Braithwaite, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles from downtown New Orleans, there is for sale a property that is over two centuries old offering over 2500 sq. ft. of living area and over ten acres of land. Continue reading