Tag Archives: Lafayette

New Orleans, Louisiana – Garden District – Col. Short’s Villa

23 Jun

Prytania Street View of Col. Short's Villa

Located at Fourth St. and Prytania, in the Historic Garden District of New Orleans, this beautiful home has  a number  of items of historical interest attached to it. It was designed by Henry Howard  and built by Robert Huyghe for Robert Short in 1859.

One of the most unique features of this home is not the house itself but the fence.  It is a cast iron fence with a design of intertwined morning glories growing with the corn stalks. The fence was erected by Wood & Mitenberger, the New Orleans branch of the Philadelphia foundry of Wood and Perot.  Wood and Perot also cast the corn fence located in the French Quarter.

Legend has it that Col. Short’s wife was lonely for her native Iowa and so Short had the fence made for her.  Another source says that the Short’s simply ordered it from the company catalog. Outside of the two corn fences in New Orleans and I am not aware of another in the U.S. or one that is at least a tourist attraction.

Fourth Street View of Corn Fence at the Col. Short Villa

Before the occupation of New Orleans, by the Union Forces, Col. Short returned to his native Kentucky.  As a result his property was seized on September 1, 1863.  Short was classified as an “Absent Rebel” even though his wife still occupied the house.

Close Up View of Col. Short's Villa

She was ousted from the house in March of 1864 and General Butler turned it into the Executive Mansion for newly elected Federal Governor Mr. Michael Hahn.  Two weeks later The U.S. Commander, Department of the Gulf, Major General Nathaniel Banks and family became the new residents.

On August 15, 1865 the property was returned to Col. Short by the U.S. Government.  He remained a resident here until his death in 1890.

New Orleans, Louisiana – Cemeteries – Lafayette Cemetery Number 1

21 Jun

Washinton Street Entrance to Lafayette Number 1

Lafayette Number 1 Cemetery is located in the middle of Historic Garden District, one of the best known historic districts of New Orleans.  For restaurateurs it lies across the street from the world famous Commanders Palace. The Historic Garden District of New Orleans boasts some of the grandest and most colorful houses in New Orleans, and one of the worlds best restaurants and one of the cities best known cemeteries. All of these areas are all accessible by the historic St. Charles Street Car Line if you are so inclined.

In the Garden District one will find streets and homes with park like settings along with good sidewalks and easily crossed streets that offer a relaxed visit.  In the middle of this setting one can stroll upon the Lafayette Number 1 Cemetery and while browsing these grounds one can discover a well planned layout of graves and Magnolia Tree lined streets.  Indeed a city of the dead.

Angel With Broken Wing in Lafayette Number 1

Lafayette Number 1 is one of the older cemeteries in the city.  It was surveyed by Benjamin Buisson a Lieutenant of artillery with the army of Napoleon. Bussion arrived in New Orleans in 1817.  He served as Parish Surveyor, and was a prominent civil engineer and architect.  At the start of the Civl War Buisson was placed in charge of city fortifications in New Orleans.  He was appointed Brigadier General of militia in 1862.  After the war he resumed his practice as a surveyor. His designs and surveying are still carried forward in Lafayette Number 1.
The cemetery derives its name because at the time it was established, in 1833, it was in the municipality of Lafayette and not New Orleans.  This part of town was referred to as the American Sector as opposed to the Creole sector in the French Quarter (known as New Orleans) on the other side of Canal Street. Later Lafayette would become a part of New Orleans.  Most of the residents here were American and Protestant as opposed to Catholic in the Creole sector.

Tunes Among the Tombs in Lafayette Number 1

The cemetery is officially dedicated to Theodore von LaHache, the founder of the New Orleans Philharmonic Society, who by the way, compiled the Catholic Hymnal. Well, not to be outdone the Protestants have interred here Mr. Staunton S. Burdette, who by the way, was the composer of the Baptist Hymnal.  Only in New Orleans, I am inclined to think.

New Orleans is paradoxical in many ways, even in it’s cemeteries.  In future postings I  will discuss some of the people buried here, some of the tombs and other facts related to Lafayette Cemetery Number 1.