Laurel Street Blog

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.

The Creole Cottage on Barracks Street

The Creole Cottage on Barracks Street - Friends Nathan and Sean are pulling out the fixings for a bang up dinner party later that night.

The Courtyard Garden on Barracks Street

The Courtyard Garden on Barracks Street

The dogs - Ella, Louis & Sister. These urban dogs are glad to be home after a 2 month evacuation to a farm after Hurricane Katrina.

The dogs - Ella, Louis & Sister. These urban dogs are glad to be home after a 2 month evacuation to a farm after Hurricane Katrina.

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 :)

The exterior of the house on inspection day. Italianate Victorian. I loved the arches over the porch, the detail of the molding, and the tall, arched front windows. The color is, umm, dusty gray purple.

The exterior of our new (first!) house on inspection day. An Italianate Victorian, located in Uptown New Orleans. A bit down at heel in this photo, I'm remaking this place bit by bit.

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.

6 Responses to "The ‘Back Story’"

I wish I were back in NO! I love seeing everything that you are doing. Friends are all around you! Next time I get down there – I will drive by and take a look for myself. And then we can pick up Valorie and head down to the Carousel – maybe stopping first at The Columns?

Let’s do it! Or maybe at the Sazerac Bar in the old Roosevelt Hotel – Valorie had a great post about it yesterday!

love your blog!
And what a lovely house!

the house is so gorgeous! love the facade. can’t wait to watch what you do it.

Great story! I think I am officially hooked on your blog. Guess I’ve got to start in the archives…

Have just found your blog today, and am excitedly looking forward to what else you do to your lovely home.

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

May 2020
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