New Orleans Architecture – Novel Inspiration

Walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into another world, which is one of the many reasons it inspires my novels.  It’s a city unlike any other.  There are so many things that make the place unique, like the food and the people.  But one of the most striking things in the city is the architecture.

Here is where the history of the city really unfolds.  French and Spanish influences collide here.  Buildings surrounding you as you walk can be hundreds of years old, depending on whether or not they survived the couple of fires that swept the city early on.  Construction techniques have a lot to do with the longevity of the buildings: cypress wood, brick, and stucco sealing the brick.  Some buildings are more “cabin” looking, while others are multi-story ironwork laced mansions.  Entresols, a shorter hidden story between the bottom floor and the second floor, were often used as an attic.  But wait, aren’t attics on top?  Not in old New Orleans.  The temps would climb too high in a traditional attic and things would get ruined.  So, the entresol was a bit more insulated by the rest of the structure making it great for storage (or nefarious activities of a particular pharmacist way back).  Another feature you may notice are the porte cocheres, the larger or double doors that lead from the inner courtyard to the street.  Here’s where the carriages would go in and out, like a driveway.  Hey, they had to park them somewhere, right?  On the backside of the courtyards were often a garcionnere, a building that males over the age of 15 lived in because who really wants to be around a stinky teenage boy all the time?  (Ok, not really the reason.)  And of course, there are the galleries, the ironwork balconies that give shade to the banquettes (sidewalks) below.  We even have one funky cornstalk fence that has a sibling in the Garden District.

Below is a gallery of some of the places I loved for different reasons as I wandered.  Some were beauties, some had personality, and some needed someone to love them.  Come take a walk with me…. (I should probably state that all photos on my site are my own.)

Jackson Square
Jackson Square: Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytere
St. Louis Cathedral angle
St. Louis Cathedral
Jackson Square at night
At night from the window of Cafe Pontalba
Pontalba building Jackson Square French Quarter
One of the twin Pontalba Buildings that flank Jackson Square. built by the indomitable Baroness de Pontalba, Micaela Almonester, who had a lot to do with the Cabildo, cathedral, and Presbytere, too.
House that replaced Marie Leveau's on St. Ann
This house on St. Ann sits in the spot that was once occupied by Marie Laveau’s house before it burned down following her death. I guess even the house couldn’t stand to be without her.
French quarter 1
Starling Magical
Deep in the French Quarter by Voodoo Museum
Near the Voodoo Museum deep in the French Quarter
LaLaurie Mansion
The LaLaurie mansion
Next to LaLaurie House
The Mad Madame LaLaurie’s neighbors
Le Carpentier Beauregard House
Le -Carpentier Beauregard House
house on Chartres in French Quarter
Spent a lot of time up and down Chartres
courtyard through porte cocher
Courtyard as seen through the porte cochere
main house and garcionnere
Garcionnere on the left that belongs to the main house on the right
Labranche mansion French Quarter
Once known as the Labranche mansion
Cornstalk Hotel fence French Quarter
Cornstalk Hotel fence
Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street isn’t all bars. There’s some gorgeousness if you walk far enough. Fun Fact! Bourbon Street wasn’t named for the alcohol. It was named for the House of Bourbon, a French royal dynasty.
French Quarter3
French Quarter or European castle? French Quarter!
Royal Street French Quarter
Royal Street may be my favorite street. And since it was the path I took to catch the streetcar back to the Garden District, I got to spend a lot of time on Royal.

There are so many more photos I could post here, but these are some of my favorites.  I can’t wait to be back down to spend some more time with this eclectic and beautiful city!

Much love!

~Nola

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