- New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
- 1816, 1920s-1930s, 1949, 2019
- Museum & Research Center
- Photos: Jeff Goldberg/Will Crocker; Design: Waggonner & Ball Architecture/Environment
New Orleans is what you could call a little big city. With just under 400,000 residents, the City’s population swells into the millions during festivals such as Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras. What makes New Orleans so special, however, is not its outsized reputation but its palpable history. Nowhere is this history more visible than in the French Quarter—also known as the Vieux Carré.
The Vieux Carré is recognized as the first designated historic district in the United States. This celebration of the past also prohibits, by means of strict preservation codes, any modern or contemporary architecture at the street-edge. It is striking, then, that tucked back in one of the Vieux Carré’s courtyards are the historic “Seignouret-Brulatour House” Tricentennial Galleries, part of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s (THNOC). The contrast between new and old is heightened as the renovated architecture reveals itself at the end of the carriageway.
Founded in 1966, THNOC is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. 520 Royal Street, the site of its “Seignouret-Brulatour House” Tricentennial Galleries, includes a restored 1816 house with an historic courtyard, a newly built contemporary wing, and two parking warehouses.
The address began as a wine depot in 1816, later becoming the home of the Arts and Crafts Club in the 1920s and 1930s, and the home of the first television station in the City in 1949. After the most recent renovation was completed in 2019, THNOC premiered the largest built work of contemporary architecture in the Vieux Carré in generations, and the first to reach LEED Silver certification.
In a time of environmental and cultural change, the new museum facility stands to help define the Region’s history and values for generations of future inhabitants. Heritage is alive and well in the Big Easy, for what it was makes what it is even more enchanting.
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