Monday, March 8, 2010

Where It All Began For Me

My first memories of loving houses began as a child.  I cannot remember exactly at what age.  But I do recall my mother dragging me through house after house though.  She loves houses as well.  Her parents lived in this house below in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  I recall swinging on the swing on the front porch, searching the hills behind their house looking for Civil War memorabilia and visiting the plantations throughout that area.  In the summer we would swim in the river.  At the time, I felt like the windows on the front porch were 12' tall.  Every year, St. Francisville holds the Audubon Pilgrimage tour of plantations and homes.  I recall my sisters dressing up in what I thought at the time were ridiculous outfits (and laughing at them) to work at the house during the tour. 

Just down the street from their house is Grace Episcopal Church.  It is a beautiful church with a cemetery.  Both of my grandparents were buried here.  The cemetery was always intriguing to me with all the tombstones and the ages of many who died during the Civil War -- many who were my age at the time of their death.

And a couple of more houses (plantations) from St. Francisville.

It was my parents who introduced me to the architecture of A. Hays Town in Baton Rouge.  His work has been a major influence on my career.  Andres Duany probably said it best: “Without Hays Town, the architecture of Louisiana might well have dissipated into the mainstream. Instead, we have a wonderful thing, a fine tradition alive and well in America.”

One thing Louisianians have is an appreciation for architecture and tradition.

The homes of Baton Rouge are a perfect example of this.

He may have been the first to incorporate reclaimed materials into new houses.  He was a master at this as shown above.  These doors probably came out of New Orleans.

I will be traveling back to Baton Rouge this summer (as I do every year) and will get more pictures of my favorite Louisiana architecture.  There has been a lot of great homes built in the last few years.


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