Louisiana Photograph Collection
New Orleans Public Library
Poydras Asylum Photographs, 1938
The Poydras Home, a continuing care retirement community, stands today at the downtown river corner of Magazine Street and Jefferson Avenue. Its main building dates back to 1857 when the institution moved uptown from its original 1817 location on St. Charles Avenue at Julia Street. For most of its existence the establishment operated as the Poydras Female Orphan Asylum but for the past fifty years it has been dedicated to serving the elderly.

These seven photographs, all taken on September 14, 1938, show the Poydras Asylum building during its occupancy as an orphanage. We don't know the nature or the extent of the repairs that were ongoing when the pictures were taken; this was during the period of the WPA's activity in New Orleans, but none of the usual signs identifying work by that project are evident in the photos. Regardless, the images provide an interesting glimpse of what life was like inside the old Asylum.

The upper two stories of the building were removed after 1957 in order for the facility to function safely and effectively as a home for the aged. Also since that time several new wings, and an entirely separate building, have been added to the campus. In addition, the extensive gardens at the rear of the Poydras property have been replaced by the courts of the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club.

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Thumbnail Image # (click to view) Added Description
Photograph 1 The second floor gallery
Photograph 2 A room on one of the upper floors
Photograph 3 Children playing in front of the scaffolding on the Laurel Street side of the building
Photograph 4 On the third floor at the top of the stairway
Photograph 5 Children at play on the first floor
Photograph 6 A view of the Jefferson Avenue side of the building
Photograph 7 Another view of the Jefferson Avenue side of the building and the Asylum grounds
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11/12/2009-we