The day dawned grey with forcasts of rain, but not much. By the time we got to the streetcar stop, a drop here, a drop there was felt. B the time we got to the French Quarter a soft steady rain sweetly falling. I love walking in a light rain with umbrella overhead, hearing the gently patter. We made our way to river’s edge. New Orleans is a city that loves water! I read that somewhere and It felt apropos. There are two paddle boats plying the river, selling day tours and evening dinner/jazz tours. Lines stretched five deep and quite long on sunny days. No one out today. It is a very smart looking boat.
Further along is a modern mall on the inside, but on the outside it looks like this.
I wanted to tour the Pitot House today, but it turns out that it’s a very popular place; nothing available until next Thursday. I was interested in this house as it was owned by some of Edgar Degas’ family. He is the only impressionist to come to the US. Probably the only one to have family here!
Instead we went to the 1850 House. It was financed and construction was supervised by the Baroness de Pontalba. Remarkable woman. A bit of her history: her father made tons of money buying and selling real estate in New Orleans. He was also a noted philanthropist, donating money to fiance the St. Louis Cathedral, a public school, Charity House, and Urusiline Chapel. At the age of 16 Micaela married Celestin de Pontalba, a French Creole. They went to live with her husband’s family in France. Her FIL was intent upon seizing her sizable inheritance and attempted to murder her! Despite being shot four times, she survived. FIL commited suicide. Good! She was granted legal separation from her husband and returned to New Orleans and went about the business of the 1850 Houses. There’s one on one side of Jackson Square and the other is across the square on the other side. St. Louis Cathedral sits between them with the river across the square from it. Most of the 1850 House now houses business on the street level, just as was intended when the Baroness had them constructed. I don’t know what’s above now, but back in the day there were apartments. The tour was a little taste into what an apartment would be like – generally three floors. Kitchen below, parlor and dining above, and lastly bedrooms. I only took the photo below, because in all the historic homes I’ve toured, never have I heard of this before – a Hair Wreath! The information stated that in mid to late nineteenth century women often made wresths, pictures, and jewelry out of hair to memorialize a loved one or as a keepsake. Sometimes many members of the family contributed locks of hair. A small memorial would be made solely from the hair of the departed. Auburn and red hair were most prized. Below you’ll see the wreath and a close up.
St. Louis Cathdral was our next stop.
I’ll end tonight with this one last photo from a shoe store on Chartres Street.
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