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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Ghosts of New Orleans: 1906

Ghosts of New Orleans: 1906

New Orleans circa 1906. "Chartres Street." Furnished Rooms and spectral pedestrians. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Chartres Street

Chartres Street in the French Quarter has New Orleans' highest concentration of surviving Colonial era architecture, but the block this photo focuses on is unfortunately not one of those which has remained largely intact.

The arch at far left is part of a historic building, the old St. Louis Hotel, opened as a grand hotel in 1835, for a time also known as the Royal Hotel, served as the State Capitol building for a time in the 1870s, and by the time this photo was taken can be seen to have fallen on hard times. By 1914 the owners were sited by the city for the decayed state of the building which was a breeding ground for rats. The following year it was badly damaged by the Great Hurricane of 1915 and subsequently demolished -- except for the set of granite arches on the Chartres Street side including the one seen here. It is now incorporated into the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel building.

The rest of the buildings on this side of the block are gone except the last one on the corner, which has lost its wrought iron work. For decades the area between the older buildings was part of the complex of local tv station WDSU; now it's parking garages.

The opposite side of this block of Chartres fortunately fared better; I believe all but one are still there. While the "crude wrought iron railing" is gone, since 1950 visitors can see the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum here.

Repurposed door

I like how the door in the archway on the left has been repurposed - quite the patchwork, but secure?

Vantage

This view is taken from just northeast of St. Louis Street, looking toward Jackson Square. Two major monuments alongside the Square are visible in very foreshortened perspective: first the mansard-roofed Cabildo (Gilberto Guillemard, architect, built 1795-1801; mansard roof added 1847) and then the towers of St. Louis Cathedral (as rebuilt according to the plans of J. N. B. de Pouilly c. 1850).

St. Louis Cathedral

That's the St. Louis Cathedral in the distance. Built in 1850 as an expansion to the 1789 structure.
It was slightly damaged during Hurricane Katrina, but like all things in New Orleans, it too managed to weather the storm.

Arched Doors and a Distant Church

Only arched doorways and a distant church lets you know that it's the same street today. So much, yet so little has changed.


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Furnished indeed

Bit of a crude wrought iron railing design above "Furnished Rooms." Love it.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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