A handbook for discovering the architectural gems in the Vieux Carre
In New Orleans the French Quarter packs itself into a little grid of a colonial town behind the levee of the Mississippi River. Established in 1718, the town received its gridded plan from a French military engineer in 1721. Most of the buildings standing today date from the nineteenth century, with eighteenth and twentieth century structures interspersed.
This detailed architectural handbook describes how to "read" French Quarter architecture by determining a structure's "type," its component parts, and its style. The basic "types" are termed the French Colonial house, the Spanish Colonial house, the cottage, the town house, and the shotgun house. The basic "component parts" are doors, windows, shutters, balconies, courtyards. The styles are based upon decorative motifs common to distinctive historical periods (Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic, Italianate, etc.). Each reveals that the colonists' native architectural traditions were transformed into a set of structures adapted to the moist heat of semitropical Louisiana. With images of buildings, plans, and sections from the French Quarter's remarkable inventory, this guide illustrates how a succession of styles from the eighteenth to the twentieth century has been draped over a range of building types.
Thoroughly indexed and cross-referenced, it will provide with equal satisfaction a start-to-finish "read," a search for specific information, or a concentrated browse.
Illustrated with some 200 photographs and 50 line drawings, this handy manual will be essential for architects, historic preservationists, and general readers interested in the buildings of one of America's richest historic districts.
Malcolm Heard is an architect and a teacher in the school of architecture, Tulane University.
144 pages, 250 b&w illustrations