Two Historic Homes in New Orleans

Saturday 22nd February 2020

Access to interiors is a challenge in New Orleans. Only three houses are open to the public and because you have to take lengthy tours I only saw two of them. The thing about Beauregard-Keyes House is that General Beauregard only lodged in an attic there for a short while. It was never his house. Frances Parkinson Keyes was a 20th century writer who had the house as her winter home. I don’t think she was much good. You see her deathbed in the stables whence infirmity had banished her. A nasty piece of work, a caddish man years younger, hovered nearby, after her money. This was in the 1970s. The house is a little bereft of contents, but unaltered as to layout. Unusually for New Orleans, its front entrance is raised up from the street under a pedimented portico in wood. But like all the other historic properties I saw the street elevation does not reveal the scale of the premises. They go back, back, much longer than wide. Then at the rear, in this case, there is a substantial courtyard where the stables and servants’ quarters were. The other house, the Gaillier House, is modest but charming from the street, but within a lavishly furnished bourgeois interior typical of the 1840s or thereabouts. Lots of heavy black lacquered furniture.. the guide was preoccupied with how ghastly hot it would have been and various crack-pot attempts at air conditioning that didn’t work. Then we were taken into the back part. ‘This is where the enslaved workers lived… this is the enslaved workers’ staircase… here is an enslaved worker’s room but she escaped and was never heard of again…’ Enslaved workers. A new term it would seem. Important not to say ‘slave’. Chilling though that these quarters were no different from any servants’ wing in a house of this kind at that time. Not horrid. Reasonable enough… but they were slaves or enslaved workers. Chilling.

Beauregard-Keyes, but Beauregard was Never in the Room

Beauregard-Keyes, but Beauregard was Never in the Room

Beauregard-Keyes: the Back Tuscan Loggia

Beauregard-Keyes: the Back Tuscan Loggia

The Gaillier House: Street Front does not Convey what is Within

The Gaillier House: Street Front does not Convey what is Within

Gaillier House: Through-Drawing Room

Gaillier House: Through-Drawing Room

Gaillier House: Upstairs Carpet: Want It

Gaillier House: Upstairs Carpet: Want It: But they Were Always Boiling Hot in the HouseĀ 

The Enslaved Worker's Room: She escaped and Was Never Heard of Again

The Enslaved Worker’s Room: She escaped and Was Never Heard of Again

The Enslaved Workers' Staircase: Gaillier House

The Enslaved Workers’ Staircase: Gaillier House

Posted Saturday, February 22, 2020 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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