Historic Homes of New Orleans
Louisiana was ruled by both the French and Spanish before being acquired by the United States from the French as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Its landmark city, New Orleans, has a 300 year history. Its deep architectural history is among one of the finest examples in all of the United States. Throughout the centuries, New Orleans has done a tremendous job of preserving historic structures, providing an inside look to its rich cultural heritage.
Historic French Architecture in New Orleans
One of the oldest historic structures in New Orleans is LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop, built in the late 1720 this colonial style cottage features historic staples of French architecture, and was likely built by early French Canadian settlers.
Nearly one hundred years later in 1810 Nelson Hilare Medard, an African-American Creole priest-turned-professor would open New Orlean’s first mixed race school in a French colonial cottage with nearly identical structure and styling.
One of the most interesting French-influenced structures, the Girod house was built in 1814. New Orleans legend maintains that this massive home was secretly designed for Napoleon Bonaparte to live in after his exile from France.
Unfortunately, Bonaparte would never set foot inside of the home. Still, the name The Napoleon House stuck, and the building remains open today as a restaurant, and serves as an incredible testament to French influence in New Orleans architecture.
Historic Spanish Architecture in New Orleans
While Spain only governed Louisiana for only 39 years, Spanish architecture in New Orleans still stands strong to this day. The Spanish government was successful in bringing prosperity and wealth to the colony. This wealth is reflected in the historic Spanish Colonial style homes and architecture from the period.
One of the most recognizable homes of Spanish influence is the Spanish Customs House. Initially constructed in 1784, this house functioned as a home for Spanish guards, much like a modern embassy would. The property even includes a small prison that would have been used by Spanish authorities at the time.
Another preserved piece of Spanish architecture in the city of New Orleans is the Valery Nicholas House. What makes this house unique is that it was designed to be a half-business half-home, so the facade of the house has two distinct looks depending on which floor you’re observing.
Historic Preservation of New Orleans
Today, the historic homes throughout New Orleans are preserved by the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. The PRC is deeply involved with the architecture of the city. The organization helps preserve more than 100 historic buildings while also providing assistance to owners of important cultural or historic structures.
New Orleans remains one of the most unique destinations in the U.S. for exploring the country’s architectural background. The city’s mix of cultural influences is celebrated in its many iconic structures.
Explore Historic New Orleans Homes
- BARTHOLOME BOSQUE HOUSE
- BEAUREGARD-KEYES HOUSE: ARCHITECTURE, MOULDINGS, & DRAWINGS
- BREVARD-RICE HOUSE
- FOUCHE HOUSE
- GALLIER HOUSE: ARCHITECTURE, MOULDINGS, & DRAWINGS
- GALLY HOUSE
- LA RIONDA-CORREJOLLES COTTAGE
- LAFITTE’S BLACKSMITH SHOP
- LE PRETRE MANSION
- MCKENDRICK HOUSE
- MEILLEUR-GOLDTHWAITE HOUSE
- NAPOLEON HOUSE: ARCHITECTURE, MOULDINGS, & DRAWINGS
- ROBERT A. GRINNAN HOUSE
- SINDOS-LATORRE-BOUCVALT HOUSE
- SPANISH CUSTOMS HOUSE
- VALERY NICHOLAS HOUSE