One of the oldest house styles in New Orleans, Creole cottages may have originated in the West Indies and been brought to the city by refugees of the Haitian Revolution. They were popular from about 1790 to 1850, when they were the most common houses in New Orleans. They can be found largely in the Vieux Carre and in the Creole neighborhoods.
Most Creole cottages fronted directly on the sidewalk and were raised just one or two steps above the ground. A typical floor plan would include four 12- to 14-square foot rooms with two small cabinets in the rear corners of the house. One of these would house a sleeping room with a spiral staircase leading to the attic; the other was used as storage. There are two less-common variations on this floor plan. The two-bay cottage was half the typical plan with only two rooms and one cabinet; the three-bay cottage had the same layout, but with a side entrance hall. Most three-bay cottages were built in the 1840s and 50s.
Creole cottages typically have gable or hip roofs. Gable roofs are more common, and appear in three versions differentiated by their treatment of a front facade roof extension. In the abat-vent, an almost flat roof extension projects over the sidewalk supported by iron bearers. The second version forms the roof extension with an upturning of the roof, and the last incorporates the extension into the roof line.
Read about the two-bay Creole cottage HERE.
Read about the Haitian roots in New Orleans HERE.
- three four-bay Creole cottages in the 1200 block of Marais St. in Treme (top center)
- a two-bay Creole cottage on Dauphine St. in Faubourg Marigny
On August 20th, 2012 the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee voted on a fresh round of demolition applications. Denials include 4706 St. Charles Ave (pictured above).
The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines teardowns as “the practice of purchasing a home on a lot, demolishing it, and building a new, larger house in its place.” Teardowns can have adverse effects not only on a neighborhood’s historic character, but also on public infrastructure, the environment, and the availability of affordable housing.
When older, often smaller homes are demolished to make way for large new homes, historic neighborhoods lose the identities that attracted residents to them in the first place. Redeveloping a neighborhood by demolishing a large number of older houses will not likely be a successful strategy for drawing new residents. People want to live in distinctive communities and places with historic character. When redevelopment and new construction are necessary for the revitalization of a neighborhood, buildings designed with respect to the historic context of the area are more likely to both attract new residents and gain the approval of existing residents.
Teardowns can reduce a neighborhood’s tree canopy, eliminate backyards and block sunlight with large new houses built up to their property lines. This makes neighborhoods less livable, but it can also have more serious environmental consequences. Teardowns and subsequent construction can cause more water runoff, affect water usage, sewage systems, roads and the power grid, not to mention the implications demolition and construction waste has for landfills.
But the demolition of older housing stock and the construction of new, larger homes affects people as well. Community economic and social diversity can suffer when smaller, more affordable homes are replaced with over-scaled new construction. A neighborhood experiencing teardowns often loses its ability to have a range of housing prices.
Proponents of teardowns might argue that their strategy promotes smart growth by increasing density and directing growth to already developed areas. However, teardowns often mean the demolition of a smaller house to make way for a larger house–this does not necessarily increase population density. The negative environmental and social effects of teardowns make it clear that they do not encourage smart growth.
Another argument in favor of teardowns says restricting infringes on private property rights and reduces financial returns on the sale of existing houses. But communities regularly create land use policies and make investments that affect property rights and change property values for the greater good of the community. Regulation of teardowns are valid based on the same principle because they have such far-reaching impacts on the community at large. It is important to remember, for instance, that teardowns affect not only those who wish to demolish or sell existing houses, but also the neighbors who are forced to live with the results.
The best use of land for the greatest good of the community does not always mean the most profitable one.
We can manage teardowns by making changes to zoning regulations that limit the square footage of buildings in order to reduce the economic pressure for teardowns, or by advocating for the implementation of construction standards, design review procedures, special neighborhood districts, financial incentives, and education programs, all of which can encourage compatible design. While not every house can or should be saved, we can advocate for policies that encourage appropriate new construction and maintain the character and diversity of neighborhoods.
View our previous post “What is Wrong With Teardowns? An Introduction” HERE.
6-8 Belleville Court, a charming double on the West Bank, is in danger of demolition. It is to appear on an upcoming Neighborhood Conservation District Committee demolition agenda on Monday, August 20, 2012. The owner of the house has admitted it has potential for renovation, and we agree.
The charm of this home in historic Broadmoor is undeniable! 1915 S Gayoso is scheduled for Sheriff Sale on September 13, and we have no doubt its grandeur can be restored.
Learn more about the Sheriff Sale process and view other houses that are scheduled for auction HERE.
This week marks the beginning of Mayor Landrieu’s series of community meetings aimed at giving residents the chance to give their input in the City’s budgeting priorities. The first meeting is tonight, August 13, for Council District B and meetings will continue through August 27.
These meetings are your chance to let the mayor know that planning and preservation are a budget priority! Come speak up in favor of more funding for the Historic Districts Landmarks Commission (HDLC) and the City Planning Commission (CPC).
Reductions in funding for the HDLC in previous budgets have had a negative impact on the agency. In the past, HDLC had three plans examiners–one dedicated to the CBD districts, one Uptown, and one for the downtown districts. With a tighter budget, there are now only two examiners. As a result, wait time for HDLC certificates of appropriateness for renovations of historic district properties has increased to six weeks. Further, there are qualified neighborhoods that seek historic district status but even with a status quo no new designations can be considered. This is missing out on an important tool for economic development, revitalization of neighborhoods and rebuilding the city’s population.
New Orleans’ historic architecture is one of its most valuable assets and the renovation of these structures is a boon to the city coffers. Redevelopment and restoration of our neighborhoods has the potential to attract tourists and new residents, but it can also better serve current New Orleanians. The upcoming budget should reflect the importance of planning and preservation to the city’s economic development. More funding for agencies like the HDLC and CPC means a greater capacity for historic preservation and renovations, and more manpower dedicated to the planning our city needs to continue its rebirth!
View our post about the series of community meetings on budget priorities HERE.
If you have an opinion about any of the demolitions, the NCDC members want to hear about it! CLICK HERE to email the committee and share your thoughts.
CLICK HERE to view to view the agenda and photos. The demolition proposals are listed by neighborhood. Are there any proposals in your area? How do you feel about the demolition?
CLICK HERE to view a map of the properties.
How else can you help? CLICK HERE to learn more about the citizen’s role in the demolition review process.
4706 St. Charles Avenue (bottom), a modified Queen Anne house that donned a Spanish Colonial Revival exterior
A demolition proposal for 4706 St. Charles Ave. is on the agenda for the August 20 Neighborhood Conservation District Committee.
The home was built in 1887 as the residence of Mrs. Cornelia M. Graham and her daughter Gracie. Mrs. Graham had purchased the property when it was a lot left vacant by the removal of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (later St. George’s) in 1874. Architect Louis H. Lambert designed the house in the Queen Anne style, with a tower, arched gallery, gables, and an oriel, or turreted bay. The current appearance of the house makes it almost unrecognizable in comparison with the original Queen Anne design.
When Mrs. Graham died in 1889, after just two years in the house, her daughter sold the property. The house changed hands again in 1920, and Samuel Gainsburgh purchased it soon after. In 1922 he mortgaged the property for $25,000. It is likely that he made major “updating” modifications to the home around this time, adapting the Queen Anne house to the then-popular Spanish Colonial Revival style.
This rather unusual mixture of architectural styles makes the house a one-of-a-kind piece of St. Charles Avenue history.
The owner’s application for demolition includes a proposal to build a 5500-6500-square-foot single-family house valued in excess of $4 million on the lot.
The Neighborhood Conservation Districts Committee will vote on the future of this house on Monday, August 20th at 2:00 PM in City Council Chambers. CLICK HERE to email the committee and share your thoughts. CLICK HERE to view the entire NCDC agenda. CLICK HERE to view an article by Karen Gadbois about this demolition on The Lens website.
Source: New Orleans Architecture Volume VII: Jefferson City
When siblings Keisha Henry and Fred Henry Jr. and Fred’s wife, Tia Moore-Henry opened Cafe Dauphine in historic Holy Cross on June 30th, they brought something to the neighborhood that had long been missing: a sit-down restaurant with table service.
The three new restaurant owners have not only created a unique menu that combines south Louisiana classics with old family recipes; they’ve also renovated a charming 100-year-old building to house their business. As the area continues to bounce back from the damage it suffered during Hurricane Katrina, Cafe Dauphine’s success is a sign that Holy Cross is a neighborhood once again vital enough to support commercial activity.
Cafe Dauphine will serve as an anchor between two residential blocks, both of which contain multiple homes renovated by the PRC along with our partners the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Rebuilding Together, the State Office of Historic Preservation and Louisiana’s Office of Community Development. The residents of these nearby houses provide a customer base for the new restaurant. Our Holy Cross home renovations have saved historic houses, but they have also helped contribute to the revitalization of an entire neighborhood.
5229 Dauphine St, before and after:
With “budget season” upon us, Mayor Landrieu will be holding a series of community meetings this month as part of the Budgeting for Outcomes process. The meetings will allow residents to give their input on the 2013 budget proposal. Come out and let the City know that fully funding the Historic District Landmarks Commission and City Planning are TOP priorities for neighborhood revitalization!
One meeting will be held with the district councilmember in each council district. Mayor Landrieu, Deputy Mayors, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas, NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent and department and agency heads will be present at these meetings.
All meetings will start at 6:00pm. Prior to the meeting, from 5:30-6pm, the City will host a Resource Center with representatives from several City departments and agencies. During that time, citizens will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with various departments about programs, initiatives and specific complaints and concerns.
2012 Community Meeting Schedule:
Monday, August 13, 2012
Jewish Community Center
5342 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Church
5600 Read Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70127
Monday, August 20, 2012
YMCA at Federal City
2220 Constitution Street
New Orleans, LA 70114
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Lakeview Christian Center
5885 Fleur De Lis Drive
New Orleans, LA 70124
Monday, August 27, 2012
Professional Schools Building, Georges Auditorium
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122