It’s not that we’re opposed to new. Levees need repairing. The Cabildo needs a facelift. And paint makes old spaces new again.
It’s just that we love old. Timeworn, tattered, peeling paint old. And where else could we be more at home with the oldness than in New Orleans and the heart of the French Quarter?
Take Napoleon House, for example. Occupied from 1812 to 1815 by Mayor Nicolas Girod and offered as a residence to Napoleon in 1821 while he was in exile (even though Napoleon never made it there), the home has stood solid since at least 1798 when Girod bought it at auction. And with its history and untouched spaces (well, they look untouched), it’s as much a favorite on the outside at 500 Chartres Street as it is on the inside.
But there’s more old everywhere you turn. From hand-made bricks settling year after year . . .
to doors that make you wonder who went in and who came out.
It’s the cute factor, too. Shotgun houses with their quirky carved adornments and colorful facades . . .
to lighting shops that use peeling plaster walls as backdrops for new merchandise.
Sometimes it’s preservation efforts that ensure we get to see the old.
And sometimes, it’s just happening upon a glimpse of a courtyard when you wonder who goes to and fro in a place as charming as this.
Look up to see aging, antique balconies and windows and doors.
Or look down dark corridors to see inside and out all at once.
It’s old, all right. And we hope NOLA can keep it that way. ‘Cause for some of us, that’s what brings us back again and again.
Thanks for joining us as we share our sights and sounds of New Orleans.
— Bert and Rusha