House of the week: The Centanni House

While searching through the realty listings, my eyes scanning photos for the telltale architectural features I so adore like floor-length windows, double galleries and heart pine, hardwood floors, I came across a very unusual house. As it’s not anywhere near the typical style I long for, I almost skipped right over it until something about the unusual front entryway piqued my interest. Before I knew it, I was searching for other sources, looking up it’s history and longing to wander its rooms in a very real way.

As it turns out, this unique home is a quite well-known bit of New Orleans history. Built in 1917 by architect H. Jordan MacKenzie, The Centanni House was home to Salvador “Sam” Centanni and his wife Myra. Sam and his father owned the Gold Seal Dairy from the 1920’s to when it was sold in 1986. Many older locals remember the house because of the elaborate Christmas decorations the Centannis displayed every year between 1946 and 1966. As it turns out, these decorations not only inspired Al Copeland’s holiday displays, but several of the handmade pieces from the Centanni House can still be seen every year at Christmas in the Oaks in New Orleans City Park.

Well, now this landmark historic property on the “cemetery end” of Canal Street is for sale and I must admit, I would definitely dig living there. It’s a crazy combination of architectural styles like California Bungalow, Art Nouveau and more. If you gander at the photos, you’ll see that most of the house still retains the original design like coffered ceilings, gorgeous stained-glass windows, mahogany walls and gorgeous marble tile work in the kitchen and bathrooms. There are four bedrooms, four bathrooms and an elevator contained in 5800 square feet of living space. It’s amazing that one could purchase such a colorful piece of our city’s history for the bargain basement price of only $750,000.

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