Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Florence Luling House, New Orleans, LA

The Florence Luling House, New Orleans, LA. 1865 Photo: Infrogmation
Photo: Wikimedia
Located off of Esplanade Avenue far out of central New Orleans at 1436 Leda Ct. is one of the most impressive Italianates in the area, the Florence Luling House, built in 1865 and designed by the famous architect James Gallier Jr. Luling lost is fortune soon after the Civil War and the home was sold to the Jockey Club of New Orleans who stayed there until 1905, after which its grounds were parceled off, outbuildings demolished, and was divided into apartments. Currently, it is in a state of decay, but the following historic images show the house's extensive grounds and outbuildings in its heyday.

The house has a five bay plan and is at once distinctly Anglo-Italianate and characteristic of New Orleans. Built of stone, the house displays its Anglo-Italianate characteristics in its reliance on Renaissance precedents in its design: there are quoins on the corners as well as a string of quoins defining the central bay, strong but simple string course moldings that connect all of the arched windows, and traditional palladian windows in the center of the front and side bays on the second floor. The door as well assumes a palladian shape with Ionic columns. The whole stands on a full story, very European rusticated base with a grand staircase and patio. Like the Gauche house, it has a balcony that wraps around three sides of the facade with a Renaissance style balustrade. The cornice is extremely heavy and thick; no doubt its thickness was necessary because of the house's height to maintain a sense of proportion and scale. The brackets themselves are suitably long to fill the deep eave and are deeply carved s-curves. The whole is topped by a simple cupola. In ostentation, this house resembles some of the "Fruit Palaces", Italianate homes built in Australia by wealthy fruit barons.

Unfortunately, the rear of the house remains unfinished and is a bit of a let-down. Clearly, this was built for frontal show. Perhaps the greatest loss are the outbuildings, which were connected to the main house by arches, a unique and grand feature. Also lost are the gardens of the house, which featured statues, circular walks, and even a lake with an island. Hopefuly the house will get some attention soon.

Photo: Wikimedia

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