The ‘Back Story’
Before Hurricane Katrina, and long before the housing bubble burst, Richard & I had been living in a charming Creole cottage just three blocks outside the French Quarter. It was a nicely renovated and spacious for an apartment. But having gotten to know the place over seven years, I knew it had some cosmetically concealed problems.
When the landlord decided to sell after the hurricane (the house didn’t flood, of course) they put it on the market at about three times it’s value. I was in a dilemma. We didn’t want to buy it and we had acquired two bouncy, energetic Boxer dogs (and a Rat Terrier we unexpectedly inherited) during the seven years we lived there. Everytime the owners wanted to show the house, I had to leave work and get the dogs out. Not to mention open houses… Terrible.
We had been house hunting before Katrina. And right before we left for a little vacation to Washington, D.C., we had put an offer on a house in the mid-city neighborhood of New Orleans, on Ursuline Street. We got word the offer wasn’t accepted right as we got off the plane… I think that day was August 21, 2005. On August 25, New Orleans was walloped by Katrina. We had flown back on the last Continental flight into the city. Contra-flow evacuation had already started and we could see the packed interstate from the plane as we landed. We had to had to sneak into the city on little back streets to get to the apartment and get the dogs and all our important papers, family photos, everything we could, out. Everything that happened during those next two months… well that’s another story. We came back, and we were blessed. That 150 year old cottage weathered the storm very well.
So in January 2006, I spot a listing in Uptown New Orleans, two blocks from the great dining and shopping of Magazine Street. The house I saw had very good bones, a big backyard (by New Orleans standards), and was steps away from Magazine Street shopping and dining, steps away from the legendary Tipitina’s music club, and the Mardi Gras parade route. Just about perfect.
However, the house had not been touched since the storm in terms of repair, and I could easily see there were urgent tasks at hand.
And so begins my little DIY journey of renovation and decoration. And inspired by many blogs of kindred spirits (you can see my friends to the right) I’ve decided to post a few ‘finds’ and a few of my projects. Just for grins :)
If you care to take a gander at what the REST of the house looked like on inspection day (it’s wooly I tell you) you can check out the tour here.