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Jackson Square: 1903

Jackson Square: 1903

New Orleans circa 1903. "Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


Question about the date

I am wondering about the 1903 date. The buildings on either side of the St. Louis Cathedral are the Cabildo to the left and the Presbytere to the right. The Cabildo has a prominent cupola in the photo but the Presbytere does not, although the roof appears to be patched in the center where it should be.

The two buildings were designed to look alike in the 1790s, two stories with a flat roof. The Cabildo was completed first with the Presbytere's construction lagging a bit. A flat roof proved to be a mistake in such a rainy environment, so a third floor with a mansard roof was added to both in 1847 along with a cupola to complete the matching design. The Presbytere's cupola lasted until September 29, 1915 when a then unnamed hurricane destroyed it. The cupola was finally restored in 2005, with some fanfare as is customary in New Orleans, to restore the original design.

[The cupola is present in a view from Detroit Photographic's 1898 catalogue, but missing in photos dated 1900, 1903 and 1906. - Dave]

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