A Stay at Nottoway


I highly recommend visiting the spectacular Nottoway Plantation (1859) and staying there overnight.  From my perspective, the plantation, which is a mix of Italianate and Greek Revival features, was an incredible sight to see; can you imagine what people thought of it in the 1860s? Due to its incredible architecture, the original owners nicknamed their home “White Castle,” which became and remains the name of the town where the plantation sits.

I can envision a 4’10” woman standing on the first floor gallery, guarding her antebellum, white castle with seized, federal weapons given to her by confederates, who pitied her and her children.  Can’t you?  Probably didn’t actually happen, but it’s fun to imagine.

Thankfully, a Union soldier, who had previously been a guest at Nottoway, persuaded the others to cease fire when coming down the river during the Civil War. However, the house was hit at least once and bears the womb today at the top of this doric pillar.  See that hole?  See the gorgeous doric pillars and Italianate-style, paired brackets?


The ball-shaped projectile was up there for at least 100 years before it decided to fall down.


Louvered shutters and 9-over-9 panel windows

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Here, or Somewhere, Lies the Blowingest Man Since Gabriel

Anyone who is a fan of Jazz music knows the name, Buddy Bolden. Born in 1877, this cornet player’s claim to fame was creating the genre at the turn of the 20th century! He also became very well known for his psychological condition, schizophrenia, which people say impeded him from learning to read sheet music. Loud improvisations…hence, Jazz music!

Jelly Roll Morton touted him as the “Blowingest man since Gabriel,” a catchphrase which is now inscribed on a monument recently erected in Bolden’s honor in Holt Cemetery!  All the times I walked the grounds of Holt, I had no idea that Buddy was in there, somewhere.  His exact location is unknown (big surprise!).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Holt, it is a cemetery that predates 1879 and that was originally used basically as a dumping ground for “the indigent.”  In 1879, Joseph Holt, a local doctor, established Holt Cemetery, but assigning it a name didn’t equate to cleaning it up.  Holt is a sight to see!  It is actually an in-ground cemetery, which is uncommon for the below-sea-level city, and the majority of its graves are homemade by family members.  You can see some of the wooden-framed graves, knick-knacks, and decorations in the background of the below pic.  Although operational (i.e., they still have burial ceremonies here), to say that Holt is in disrepair would be a huge understatement.  Holt obviously suffered damage after Katrina, but this cemetery has always had the reputation of appearing neglected.  Believe it or not, the City of New Orleans currently is making some improvements to Holt.  Now being added are an iron gate, paved pathway, and lighting.  It is looking far less spooky these days. Maybe I’ll do a before and after post.


Refs: Save Our Cemeteries, NY Times article about an anthropologist’s interest in Holt after Katrina (how cool!)


Now and Then: Royal Street

The closest architectural style that I can place this Royal Street building to is a Greek Revival American Row House.  (It’s not a textbook example, but I’d guess the first floor was designed with the specific intent of making it a store and attracting patrons).   Here it is in 2014 and in the early 20th century.  Royal Street is lined with shops for art, antiques, and jewelry.  As you can see, the first floor was, and still is, a place of business.  Some things never change, right?  I don’t have the exact year built, but to give a range estimate, my guess would be between the 1830s and 1850s.

Royal Street-Now and Then

Key Features: Original wrought-iron railed balcony; pilastered columns hugging first floor windows and entrance-ways.  They took the louvered shutters off of the 2nd floor (boo!).


Scenes from “True Detective”

I had so much fun waiting on the edge of my seat while watching HBO’s “True Detective” to see where they picked to film.  Of course the show has been among many TV series and movies to be shot in LA in recent months and years; however, aside from the fact that I found it fun to recognize their filming locations, they captured some truly beautiful scenes. My best guesses for places they filmed were Fleming Cemetery (one of the best!), O.P. Criminal District Court and Tulane Avenue, Jefferson Highway, Skate Country on the West-bank, Timberlane on the West-bank and Chateau in Kenner, St. Charles Parish Courthouse, and all around St. Charles Parish in the Luling, Hahnville, Destrehan, and St. Rose areas.

That sign, “No golf spikes allowed,” at Chateau has been there for-ev-er, even though people have been wearing soft spikes (not real spikes) for the past, what, 20 years? So funny that they got that sign in the background in Ep 7.

I was thrilled that they picked what has always been one of my favorite buildings, a vacant high school built in 1924 on the river in Kenner, as one of the film spots for Ep 3! If you look really closely at the screen, you can actually see a plane landing at the airport in the background. Check out pics of this super cool building in this article.

Side Notes

Title & Tag Line

Some of you may stumble upon this site and think, “Wow, use of the words ‘eye’ and ‘heart’ together, what a cheesy, cliche tag line.”  I probably would think that too; however, I have reasoning for why the title of this site and its tag line fit the blog’s purpose.  I chose to reference Grace King, an author who wrote during the Victorian era and who found describing New Orleans from her own, native perspective somewhat of a challenge.  The more I delve into local literature from the past, the more I find that some things never change, or at least I find that some of these old sentiments haven’t quite gone extinct.  Today, whether attempting to describe a blighted, single shotgun cottage with an old toilet in the front yard, or a perfectly preserved, gothic mansion, a native will always be biased by heart.