French Quarter Manual

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French Quarter Manual

An Architectural Guide to New Orleans’s Vieux Carré

In New Orleans, the French Quarter packs itself into a little grid of a colonial town behind the levee of the Mississippi River. Established in 1718, the town received its gridded plan from a French military engineer in 1721. Most of the buildings standing today date from the nineteenth century, with eighteenth- and twentieth-century structures interspersed.

This detailed architectural handbook describes how to "read" French Quarter architecture by determining a structure's "type," its component parts, and its style. The basic "types" are termed the French Colonial house, the Spanish Colonial house, the cottage, the town house, and the shotgun house. The basic "component parts" are doors, windows, shutters, balconies, and courtyards. The styles are based upon decorative motifs common to distinctive historical periods (Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic, Italianate, etc. ). Each reveals that the colonists' native architectural traditions were transformed into a set of structures adapted to the moist heat of semitropical Louisiana. With images of buildings, plans, and sections from the French Quarter's remarkable inventory, this guide illustrates how a succession of styles from the eighteenth to the twentieth century has been draped over a range of building types. Thoroughly indexed and cross-referenced, it will provide with equal satisfaction a start-to-finish "read," a search for specific information, or a concentrated browse.

Illustrated with some two hundred photographs and fifty line drawings, this handy manual has long been essential for architects, historic preservationists, and general readers interested in the buildings of one of America's richest historic districts.