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Monday, August 9, 2010

A Garden Home~ Make It Right

Last March I went on a self guided walking tour of the Garden District in New Orleans. The weather was just perfect to admire such lovely homes.

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The area was developed between 1832 ~ 1900 for wealthy Americans who didn’t want to reside in the French Quarter with the Creoles.

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It was originally laid out with only a few houses per street, each home was surrounded by a large garden, which went on to give the district its name.

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It is considered to be one of the best preserved collections of historic mansions in the United States.

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The above house and the one below belong to a grouping of three that were built side by side reportedly for a wealthy man’s three daughters.

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The wide streets are a pleasure to walk.

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Secret gardens brought peace and happiness to this passerby.

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Of course there are a number of famous residents. Miss Congeniality herself, Sandra Bullock, had just recently purchased this Victorian gem.

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This home belongs to John Goodman. It is beautiful estate hidden by large trees.

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During my visit in New Orleans I watched a nighttime taping of Mr. Goodman’s new show, Treme.

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Here is the former home of Anne Rice, author of “Interview With  A Vampire”.

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Recognize this jewel? It was heavily featured in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

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Some homes in the district are famous for other reasons, such as The Cornstalk Home, now a hotel. The home was built in the early 1800’s for Francois-Xavier Martin.

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There is a story that the next homeowner brought his bride to live there far from her native Iowa. He had the the cast iron fence built to help ease her loneliness for the waving fields of corn back home.

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Each home seems to be lovelier than the last. There are beautiful architectural elements such as Corinthian columns, dentil molding, lovely balustrades and fantastic friezes.

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I loved the floral detail that topped these pilasters.

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Many of the homes have now been turned into businesses. I think Alice in Wonderland owned this one.

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Sadly, I couldn’t afford anything. But there was so much possibility in the places that were just waiting to be loved.

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Of course one can’t talk about the homes of New Orleans without noting the horrible losses that the city has suffered. This home was one of the 4000 destroyed in the Lower 9th Ward.

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In the midst of the destruction I still saw budding beauty and an opportunity to rebuild.

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I can’t tell you the inspiration I felt when looking at this  sweet fence.

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Thankfully, there are others who also see the value in rebuilding New Orleans. Brad Pitt formed the Make It Right foundation.

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The goal of the Make It Right foundation is to build 150 green, affordable, high-quality design homes in the neighborhood that was/is located closest to the levee breach.

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Several local, national and international architects have donated designs for single family and duplex homes to Make It Right.

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All of the homes built to date have been certified as LEED platinum for their energy efficiency and sustainability. (You know how happy this makes me.) The U.S. Green Building Council states that the Make It Right community is now the “largest, greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America,”.

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Words cannot convey the emotion that I felt when viewing this neighborhood first hand. It is one thing to see the devastation on television. It is wholly another to witness the after effects of Katrina that are still painfully prevalent five years later.

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Thank you to everyone involved in Make It Right. You have brought hope back to the Lower 9th Ward. May you be blessed in your efforts.

I have started a Decor To Adore fundraising team to aid in the effort. You can click on the Make It Right Team Homes Web Page if you are interested in joining the team.

The goal is to raise $300.00, but I would love to exceed that 10 times over.

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”

~ Jim Rohn


Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

I just love old architecture and those homes are beautiful. It is so sad to me that after 5 years there is still such loss. We gave so much money, including my boys, in the beginning and I thought by now we would see more being done. I am so glad that someone has stepped up to actually do something, like Brad.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos Laura!! I loveeeeeeeeeee that corn stalk fence! Such a sweet story behind it also!! And its not much...but I made a little donation to your team! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

The Boston Lady said...

What a wonderful tour through historic NO and a view into the hope and progress being made in the devestated ninth ward. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and inspiring words.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Good Morning Laura Sweetie...
What an absolutely gorgeous share. I love all the stories that are behind the homes.

That first pink one grabbed me right off. It said, "Welcome Home". I loved it.

The homes that were built for the mans daughters close together, how sweet was that. Weren't they beautiful?

And how wonderful was the man who brought the corn fields to his love so that she would not be homesick. I loved that. He could not have given her a more beautiful gift could he?

Loved Sandra's home and John's too. They were exquisite. I love the tall columns and the big old porches. How wonderful they are. They were made for outdoor enjoyment. So much detail and beautiful color.

I love the work that Brad P. has started to rebuild the community. A wonderful start.

Have a beautiful week sweet friend. I hope to see you again soon. It has been to long.

Country hugs, Sherry

Linda said...

A worthy cause for sure!

Thank you for showing us all of these lovely homes and the promise for the future. said...


I love the Cornstalk Home and the romantic story of why it was dubbed that name.
Sadly the green houses lack the character of the ones they are replacing.

Your Friend,

Debbie said...

Lovely HOmes....New Orleans looks like the greatest place to visit! Hey did you ever hear anything from the OPRAH thing?

Debby said...

What a nice tour.
And it is good to see the beautiful with the beauty that was lost. We can't forget what happened. It was so sad. Those images were horrible. It is good to see that their is life coming back but there still is so much work ahead. Thanks for sharing.

Shelia said...

Hi Laura! Oh, what a wonderful tour! These are some of the most beautiful home! I love New Orleans! We've driven through the area a couple of years after Katrina and it just broke my heart! I'm glad to know things are looking up! Have to been to one oe Emeril Lagase's restaurants? We ate at his NOLA and it was fantastic!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Lynn Kate Johnson said...

Love this post!!! My mother use to live in the Garden District until she moved to Baton Rouge a few years ago. Many of these houses are quite familiar to me. New Orleans is such a wonderful place and you have described its great character in your last two post. I am originally from Louisiana so I am very appreciative that you can see its grand beauty the way that I do. LKJ said...

Hi Laura!

Adore the Garden District. One pre-halloween night I stood outside in front of Anne Rice's house--spooky!!!

Also, am a supporter of Brad's group....

shown on my video

Thanks for the stop by!

love, kelee

Loui♥ said...

Thanks Laura for yet another delightful post regarding New Orleans..
the Garden district brings many fond memories back to me..
I admire all the Brad Pitt and team are doing to bring Green sustainable affordable housing back to the 9th ward, I would hope someone would recognize the need for exterior BEAUTY to be included in these homes.. they are at most ugly boxes with no personality..
flat roofs in a rainy climate..duh..
nope.. off my soapbox!
thanks for the tours.. as usual. you were outstanding!

Whimsical Creations said...

Those old homes have such beautiful character. So pretty.

So sad to see the after effects of Katrina.

cityfarmer said...

I would have gladly walked the city with ya!

Brianna! said...

ohhhh my heavens
these are seriously SO gorgeous

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thank you for taking us on your walk! I adore the iron work that is so prevalent in all of New Orleans.

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Such gorgeous homes!! Laura, thanks for the wonderful tour. I loved it! Love & blessings from NC!

Privet and Holly said...

THIS is the kind
of vacation that I
love to take with
my mom or girlfriends;
touring historic
districts and, when
possible, touring
the insides, too!
Loved seeing NOLA,
as I haven't been
back since Katrina.
What a darling you
are to tie in the
story of MIR....
A truly great cause!
xx Suzanne

Deanna said...

What a treat to see the beautiful houses...just right up my alley.

Great tour!

Like your pretty headrer,

Liz said...

Awesome post, Laura! So glad to see that Katrina isn't forgotten. Our church is still sending groups down for construction.

Thanks for sharing!


Marydon said...

Laura ~ I so love New Orleans & the beautiful architecture & vibrancy of the city. We so love every trip we take there. It is wonderful to see these gorgeous homes, fences, stories told. The restoration is a fabulous venture of many wonderful folks & groups to revitalize & rebuild ...

TY for sharing ...

Have a beautiful summer day ~
TTFN ~ Marydon

Lydia said...

Laura - I am from New Orleans and seeing your beautiful pictures makes me miss it even more!! Absolutely gorgeous!

Thank you very much for sharing!!

Miss Sandy said...

Gorgeous architecture! How fun it would be to adopt one of the beauties and restore them to their former glory.