Images of the Month Gallery

This month NUTRIAS turns to a little-known source of images in the Louisiana Division. The "Rare Vertical File" is a collection of ephemeral materials, most of which date back to the period before 1930. Divided into categories (e.g., broadsides, charters, invitations, programs, etc.), the RVF includes individual items unrelated to other established collections in the Louisiana Division. An alphabetical index to the individuals, organizations, firms, and institutions represented in the RVF is available in the Division.

Reproduced here are six items from the RVF, all of them illustrating buildings from the Crescent City's past. Some of these structures are still with us, others have long since been replaced by newer edifices. They suggest the RVF's potential usefulness in the process of researching the architectural history of New Orleans.

Still standing at the corner of Canal and Exchange Place, though now housing a Burger King restaurant, this four-story structure housed Leonard Krower's jewelry business for many years. This ink blotter/calendar shows that Krower also occupied the adjacent, older structure, one of James Gallier's designs, at 111 Exchange Place.

The Vounteers of America still occupies these two Georgian-style townhouses on Toulouse Street in the historic Vieux Carre.

Cassidy's Hotel as it was portrayed on a business card during the mid-1880s. The corner structure still stands at 300 Carondelet St. The adjacent building (on Gravier St.) was demolished around the turn of the century and replaced by the New Orleans Stock Exchange (now itself a memory). The five-bay edifice at the left departed during the 1970s in favor of a parking lot.

This image is a detail from an 1895 letterhead for the firm of H. Abraham & Son, cotton factors and commission merchants for whom William Fitzner designed this commercial building at 833 Gravier in 1881. After the turn of the century the structure was replaced by the Richards Center office building. The RVF includes dozens of additional letterheads displaying views of local business and institutional facilities.

During the 1870s and 1880s (and perhaps earlier) the site of the present New Orleans Public Library's main facility was occupied by a soda water manufacturing enterprise. This 1871 lithograph by B. Simon provides us with a view of that operation as well as a glimpse at the fashions of that era.

The soda water business pictured in the previous image had given way by 1894 to the city's new Criminal Courts Building and Orleans Parish Prison. Designed by M.A. Orlopp, the courthouse was constructed of red brick trimmed in stone. The adjacent prison was a five-story cross shaped edifice designed to house 400 inmates. Both structures were replaced in the early 1930s by the present courthouse and prison at the corner of Tulane and Broad. The old complex was demolished in stages, finally disappearing altogether in 1949.

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