With October comes cooler days, drier air and less risk of rain. Small wonder, then, that home tours (not to mention festivals of every stripe) fill the weekend calendar and cause a dilemma for devoted tour goers.
Today and tomorrow, homes in Algiers Point and the Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré (profiled last week) are on display, and tomorrow sees homes in the Coliseum Square area of the Lower Garden District joining the mix. What’s a body to do? Well, why not plan the weekend to take in all three?
The Algiers Point Association has been welcoming visitors to their fall home tours for 42 years, yet it always manages to find a crop of fascinating historic homes to offer up to visitors. Better still, the tour is planned to ensure that guests take in the ambiance of this intimate New Orleans neighborhood, which was a town before being annexed by New Orleans in 1870.
“Algiers Point is very much a small, tight knit village within the best city in the world,” said APA vice-president and home tour chairman Michael Verderosa in the tour program. “(Residents) here know their neighbors (and) … consider one another to be extended family.”
Seven households in the “family” will welcome guests today and tomorrow. They include:
Rob Booms (APA president) and Jim Baird, who converted an architecturally intact Eastlake double shotgun on Pelican Avenue to a single family residence;
Toni and Chad Leming, who moved to Seguin Street from Faubourg Marigny and did an extensive renovation of a circa 1896 two-story home;
Brian and Julie Ellison, who have restored a circa 1892 single shotgun in phases over the past 12 years;
Laura and Ernie Cepedes, owners of an Eastlake sidehall residence on Delaronde Street, who returned to New Orleans (choosing Algiers Point) in 2011 after a 24 year absence; Karen Duncan and Kelley Dodd, proprietors of the Casa Pelican B&B, whose circa 1880 two-story home with its wraparound porch now features a commercial kitchen for the cooking school the couple plans;
Vinnie Pervel and Gregg Harris, owners of a stately two-story Italianate home which dates to 1871 and has been published in “Victorian Homes” magazine; and neighborhood patriarch George Hubbell, who now resides in renovated apartment at “St. Margaret’s at Belleville,” the adaptive reuse of the 1895 Belleville Elementary School.
A new ferry schedule with extended hours makes visiting Algiers Point a breeze.
Lower Garden District
When surveyor Barthelemé Lafon laid out the plan for the Lower Garden District in 1806, he took care to ensure that the street grid made room for a coliseum (large theater or stadium), cathedral and town hall. The plans for those structures did not materialize, but instead the area inherited a park on the site of the planned coliseum, aptly named “Coliseum Square.”
The square is the epicenter for tomorrow’s home tour and the departure point for guided tours led by neighborhood residents.
Expect artwork for sale and food trucks purveying refreshments, all to enhance the experience.
Tour groups will visit the home of realtor Bryan Francher on Camp Street, an 1857 masonry townhouse that was home to both the Sophie B. Wright Institute and later the Catherine Club for young business women; the residence of Al and Josie Brown, a double gallery townhouse which dates to 1869; professor and National Geographic writer Andrew Nelson’s condominium in a large Greek Revival home dating to 1857; the early 20th century home of Frank and Michelle Lopiccolo, converted by the couple from a double to a single; and Trenton Gautier’s “Margaret Gardens Inn,” an 1850s masonry townhouse having a cast iron balcony at the second level.
The Coliseum Square Association recently made it a priority to restore the Lafon fountain (added to the square in the 1970s) and has created an exhibit on the proposed project which will be on view during the home tour.