NOLA pt. 2: The Garden District

5.21.2008

The first item on my agenda my first day in NOLA was to take the St. Charles Streetcar to the Garden District. The St. Charles Streetcar is the oldest continuously running streetcar in the United States, and is associated with the Streetcar Named Desire. As it was told to me, the Desire St. Streetcar was not actually in service during the time the play was set, and the closest in reality was the St. Charles Streetcar. Here's a pic that I did not take of the St. Charles Streetcar on Canal Street:

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This first home is just an example of a typical Garden District home. The smaller homes, such as this one, sell for between $100-200K. When I think of the gargantuan McMansions that $200K buys in the Midwest, I would MUCH rather own something like this instead.

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Here's a "fancier" home in the district. It probably belongs to someone famous, but I can't remember. Could be Nicolas Cage.

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Guess who's house this is? Hint: it's the one I most wanted to see:

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Give up? It's the former home of Anne Rice. It's on the market (see the for sale sign?) as she moved away from NOLA after her husband passed away. Below is her front door. You'll notice that the ceiling of the porch (veranda?) is painted a light blue color. That is to mimic the color of the sky, which keeps wasps away. Now, why aren't the ceilings of porches EVERYWHERE painted light blue? Heck, I might consider breaking the terms of my lease and painting my own patio ceiling blue if it will keep the wasps away! (Oh, and those are actual operating gaslights on either side of the front door.)

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Here's a carriage step. The ladies back in the day would step up on them to get into horse drawn carriages so as not to get their dresses and petticoats dirty.

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This is one of the largest houses in the district. It looks like two houses side by side, but it's really one very large home. The owners have spent twice as much as they paid for the house to restore it, and they allow various nonprofits in the city to hold their fundraisers onsite.

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Oh! Here's the other house that I REALLY wanted to see. Trent Reznor lived here, but moved a few years ago and sold it to John Goodman. The story goes that the genteel residents were quite worried when they heard such a shock rocker was moving into the neighborhood, but that Mr. Reznor ended up being a very good neighbor. Very quiet. I think those of us familiar with Mr. Reznor's reserved personality and lack of publicity-seeking would not be surprised that he was a quiet neighbor.

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Here's another shot of the Reznor/Goodman home:

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The gentleman in the white t-shirt was our tour guide. *Due to editing issues cutting off my pictures, he's only half in this one. You can see a better pic of him in the lower left corner of the first pic at the top--of the house, not the streetcar.* He had just moved back into his home a couple days before this tour. It had taken 2 1/2 years to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina. Two and a half years of being put out of your home. And yet he chose to rebuild instead of moving away.

The Garden District is as beautiful as you would expect it to be. The streets are lined mostly with live oaks and crepe myrtles. Many original details remain, such as the carriage steps and posts to tie your horses to. Several very famous people live there (Peyton Manning's parents, Harry Connick Jr's parents, Nicolas Cage, the French consulate, etc), but none of the homes are hidden behind gates, tucked away unseen behind acres of landscaping. It's the type of place where a famous person can live and not be harassed.

Anywho, look very soon for a brief history of the Garden District, especially as it relates to the French Quarter. Fascinating stuff, at least to me.

4 comments:

Gina Marie Wake said...

I have been to Anne Rice's house too! I can't believe that first house would only go for $100-200K - are you sure??

I'm loving your stories!

Veronica said...

The real estate quote is from the tour guide, who was quoting a realtor friend. The house wasn't rambling--going on forever behind the facade, pretty much what you saw from the street was all there was. But it's still a pretty darn big house!

Gina Marie Wake said...

P.S. I hope your feet have recovered. That is almost as bad as me ripping my toenail off on Monday nite (for real - OFF - well almost off until a doctor removed it completely on Tuesday) getting into the tanning bed!!! What is up with us??? OK, I don't know which is worse.

Jared said...

100-200k? Try again, Anne Rices house is for sale for 3.75 million. You cant even buy a 500 square foot condo in the area for 100k. Maybe in the 1920s...

 
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