About This Image
The Pontalba buildings (erected 1845-1856) are to the sides of Jackson Square. Some people debate weather or not these were the first apartment buildings but there is not a doubt that these buildings were a great accomplishment for a female entrepreneur, Baroness Pontalba. Note the initials in the grillwork as you pass the buildings. It is interesting that she kept both initials. Her husband was a French minister who tried to kill her. She escaped to New Orleans but was injured by the Minister. Before her apartments were there, the site occupied military barracks. The tall windows and taller ceilings were made especially for this climate since heat rises. The apartments were designed by the elder Gallier from a famous family of architects.
P.T. Barnum brought Jenny Lind, a famous singer, to visit New Orleans in 1851 and she was invited by the Baroness to stay at the apartments for free. Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” sang to fourteen packed houses in New Orleans. Upon Lind’s departure, the Baroness auctioned the furniture where Lind had stayed. The auction brought $3,060.50.
Sherwood Anderson, a writer, rented part of these apartments to which he invited many other writers including William Faulkner, Somerset Maugham, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Katherine Ann Porter, Thornton Wilder, and Booth Tarkington. The Drawing Room Players who later started Le Petit Theatre De Vieux Carre rented the Lower Pontalba Buildings.
Add A Comment About This Image