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.

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