JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

The Sultan's Palace: 1937

The Sultan's Palace: 1937

New Orleans, 1937. "Le Pretre Mansion, 716 Dauphine Street, built 1835-6. Joseph Saba house. Also called House of the Turk." As well as the Sultan's Palace. 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5


Much of the intricate and beautiful wrought iron that has helped make New Orleans so unique was actually made in the industrial North, mostly Cincinnati. Then it was floated down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and onto the balconies and steps and whatnot in N.O.

Dauphine dream

I was a bellman at a bed and breakfast on Dauphine Street my freshman year at Tulane in 1985. I had to be at work at 7 am Saturday and Sunday. I rode my bike from uptown, and this picture really reminds me of the early morning stillness of the Quarter.

Re: Iron Lace

The French Quarter is on the highest ground in New Orleans, and since the installation of pumps in the 1890s, flooding, beyond an inch or so in the street, has been a rare event. The lower floors of all buildings in the Quarter are functional. True, subgrade basements are very rare in New Orleans.

Nice words, OTY

You've captured so beautifully what makes New Orleans unique. It is one of the world's great cities "with a feel" that you just can't and won't find anywhere else. I've been there half a dozen times or so, and every time I visit that curious intimate stillness you speak of strikes me.

Yes. The building is still there.

This one, in particular has a good ghost story about it. A deposed Sultan rented the place and fillled it with harem girls and armed guards, not participating in the regular Creole culture of the City at all. Every single person in the building was found butchered to death one night. The people were chopped into little bits and the police couldn't tell how many people were killed. So the place is haunted. "They" say that it was his brother, the real Sultan who had the entourage killed, the murderers escaped before the crime was known to the public.

I went to a garage sale in the courtyard once and pass by the building all the time. I just love living here in the Quarter.

Many homes are elevated or have storage type basements that are actually sitting on ground floor.

Thank goodness for Google maps!

This wonderful building still stands at the corner of Dauphine and Orleans Streets. It looks like most of the incredible ironwork is still there, as are the original shutters (some missing a few slats).

The trolley car tracks are long gone, torn up and asphalted over, as happened in so many American cities in the decades between 1930 and 1950.

Does the personal-injury lawyer who occupies the building know its history and alias? Let's hope a friend sends her to Shorpy if she doesn't.

View Larger Map

Thanks, Dave, for adding the map link. Shorpy has made a reflex out of the use of Google maps for street-level architectural site obit checking.

Desiring a streetcar

Its a shame that they tore out almost all of the streetcar system, the local traffic from Bywater to Carrollton and everywhere in between is miserable and could be seriously helped by better transit than the buses.

The beauty of cast iron

Now that large buildings are made of glass and steel, we see what we have lost: romance.

Harem of Horror

I've spent many a night in this house but I never heard the thump of heads of the Sultan's harem rolling down the stairs ... just the thump of tipsy neighbors falling up the stairs!

["The Sultan's Massacre" makes a good ghost story, although it doesn't seem to be anything more than that -- a story. Any actual massacre would have been recorded in the newspapers of the day, and the "sultan" would have a name. If I had to pin one on him I'd say it was the Muslim entrepreneur Joseph Saba, who bought 716 Dauphine, along with several other New Orleans properties, after coming to America from Syria in 1886. What with Syria being part of the Ottoman Empire at the time, he could have been considered Turkish, although he wasn't a sultan, and seems to have died of natural causes. - Dave]


Anyone who has spent time in New Orleans knows there is no other place quite like it. It creates an atmosphere that is almost mind-altering, with the close, sultry, earthy air (no air conditioning in those days) and the curious, intimate stillness that occasionally occurs as in this photo, streets deserted with no signs of life except a bit of trash lying in the gutter. Where is everybody? They are inside and there lies the inspiration for the imagination. Especially intriguing are the rooms behind the real, fully functional shutters, open to air, closed to rain. Are the people within just trying to stay cool with overhead fans, are they cooking spicy, savory red beans and rice, are they making crazy love, sipping sweet tea and sampling pralines, listening to Louis Armstrong on the Victrola? I am transported back there by this so-accurate portrayal of a New Orleans street to where I can smell the smells and feel the surrounding humanity close, but unseen. Thank you Shorpy. As we know, you can leave New Orleans but New Orleans NEVER leaves you.

Iron Lace

There is nothing more iconically New Orleans than lacy ironwork balconies and long shuttered windows. I'm so in love with this image!

Does anyone know if this building still exists? I'm from Oregon, but I've always loved New Orleans and will be back soon to visit. I'd love to put this gem on my list of places to see if it's there!

One last question - is it because of potential flooding that the home appears to be built one story above the street entry level? Do those lower floors get used at all, or are they essentially a basement?

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site 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. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2022 Shorpy Inc.