Thursday, April 12, 2018

Empire Exhibition at Newcomb Art Museum

SEAA has loaned several items for Newcomb Art Museum's EMPIRE exhibition, opening Friday April 13 with a talk with guest curators, David Burns and Austin Young, of Fallen Fruit at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception from 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm. On Saturday April 14, SEAA will participate in "roving archivist" tours as part of the Fruit for All event from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Other participating departments and collections include Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University Archives, Latin American Library, Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, Middle American Research Institute, Newcomb Art Museum, Newcomb College Institute Archives, and the Amistad Research Center.

Items from SEAA include plaster scale models and watercolor renderings for tombs in Metairie Cemetery; building artifacts of wood, stone, plaster, and ironwork, including a railing from Belle Grove Plantation, a grained cypress door from Armitage Plantation, a hammered iron weather vane from Angelina Plantation, and a bored cypress log that was part of an early New Orleans water main; models of Tomy Lafon Elementary School, Lulu White's Mahogany Hall, and the Ninth Ward Victory Arch; photographs by C. Milo Williams of family life in late-19th century Carrollton section of New Orleans contrasted to mid-20th century images by Frank Lotz Miller of families in modernist Curtis and Davis houses; photographs of slave cabins of Laurel Valley Plantation by Philip M. Denman; watercolor renderings of recently removed Confederate memorials; and a rendition of the following early 19th century French hand-blocked wallpaper remnant from de la Ronde Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish. We hope to see you at the EMPIRE opening tomorrow night! And if you'd like to see how much information archivists can remember without a cheat sheet, please join us again on Saturday for tours of the exhibit at Fruit for All.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Architecture Grad Students, Leeds Iron Works, and the PRC

We are meeting with incoming Master of Preservation Studies students from the Tulane School of Architecture today, and wanted to share some of the items we brought out to show them the scope of different types of documents, artifacts, and books they might expect to use in their own research projects in SEAA.

Included are original Gallier and Turpin 1850 watercolor drawings from our Sylvester Labrot Collection for the Leeds Iron Foundry building, located at 923 Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, currently the headquarters of the Preservation Resource Center. We also pulled original photos from our Frank H. Boatner Collection of Louisiana Architecture Photographs, Louisiana Landmarks Society Records and Collection, and our Miscellaneous Photographs. To show how the building related to its 19th century neighborhood, we included the 1876 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, which was recently digitized and is included in the Tulane University Digital Library (TUDL). And to give the students a sense of what the Leeds company produced, we included cast iron decorative details salvaged from demolished New Orleans buildings.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mary Mykolyk for International Women's Day

Strip negative press photos of Mary Mykolyk at
Curtis & Davis. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer.
In honor of International Women's Day today, we thought we would focus on New Orleans architect, Ismay Mary Mykolyk (1926-1985). Born in British-controlled Nairobi, Kenya, she was educated in England, and received her architecture degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1949. In architecture school, she met fellow student, John Peter Mykolyk (1925-2015), whom she married. Together, they started a career in Minnesota. The couple soon relocated to New Orleans, where Mary established herself as an associate architect in the firm of Curtis & Davis in 1954, where she was Chief Associate Architect on several projects, including the Tulane University Student Center, the Guste Housing Project, New Orleans, and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Mary established her own firm in 1965 in New Orleans, sometimes partnering with other local firms including Lowrey, Hess, Boudreaux, and Farnet (Loyola University Law School), and Lawrence and Saunders (Loyola University Science Complex).

Tulane University Student Center, 1959. Curtis & Davis, architects (Mary Mykolyk, Chief Associate Architect). Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Curtis & Davis Project Photographs, SEAA.

Exterior night view, interior at night, and swimming pool.

Guste Housing Project, New Orleans. 1964. Curtis & Davis, architects (Mary Mykolyk, Chief Associate Architect). Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Curtis & Davis Project Photographs, SEAA. Two exterior views, top shows Mary Mykolyk pointing.

Loyola University Law School, New Orleans. 1968 - 1969, perspective elevation. Mary Mykolyk; Lowrey, Hess, Boudreaux, and Farnet, architects.Ink and Zipatone on vellum.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

August Perez and Associates

Arrow Tourist Court, entrance, Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans. 1947.
August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.
Althea Topek, our archives technician, just completed processing project drawings from our August Perez and Associates Office Records. August Perez, Jr. (1906-1998), was born and raised in New Orleans, and educated at Tulane University and Delgado Central Trades School (now Delgado Community College). The drawings mostly cover the period of the firm from the start of the office in 1940 through Perez's retirement in 1978. After 1978, the firm was headed by his son, Tulane University School of Architecture graduate, August Perez, III (1933-2014). In 1992, the firm became Perez, Ernst, Farnet Architects. It continues today as Perez, APC under Angela O'Byrne, also a Tulane School of Architecture graduate.

Notable projects of August Perez and Associates include the 1940 Art Moderne Blue Plate Foods building on Jefferson Davis Parkway, New Orleans and the International style Louisiana Supreme Court building for the New Orleans Civic Complex in 1959. The firm was prolific in designing residences, shopping centers, academic buildings, public, and other buildings in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other parts of the south.

The collection also includes project photographs from the 1950s through the 1980s, many by New Orleans architectural photographer, Frank Lotz Miller.

Below are a few perspective renderings for projects in the collection--

Community Shopping Center for Latter and Blum, Incorporated. Frenchmen Street and Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans. Ca. 1944. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Blue Plate Foods, Charlotte, NC. 1945. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Store and Office Building, Metairie Road and Atherton Drive. Metairie, LA. 1947. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.
African-American College, Southwest Louisiana. Ca. 1950s. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Storyville and Architectural Archives

We gave a tour last week of SEAA and our stacks to a colleague from Mississippi, whose institution is planning to form an archive to house its own building plans. They wanted to use SEAA as a model to organize their various collections of architectural drawings to make them available for staff and other researchers to use. A highlight of the stacks tour was the scale model (at left) of the former Storyville brothel, Lulu White's Mahogany Hall and Mahogany Hall Annex, which were located at 235-241 Basin Street. The model was made in the 1960s by artist William Toye and jazz historian Al Rose, and constructed of basswood, plexiglass, and other materials.

Storyville, also known as The District, was a section of New Orleans, north of the French Quarter, where prostitution became legal in 1897. Named for alderman Sidney Story, who wrote legislation for the district, it was an experiment to limit prostitution to one area of the city. Many infamous brothels, including Lulu White's, operated successfully until 1917, when the city, spurred by demands from the Army and Navy, made prostitution illegal again. The bulk of Storyville was razed in the 1930s to make way for the Iberville Housing Project. Lulu White's Mahogany Hall stood until 1949, and the Annex stood until the 1990s. When preservationists got wind of it being demolished, a portion of the building was saved and still stands today. 

Another well-known brothel belonged to Josie Arlington (1864-1914), whose real name was Mamie Deubler, and took her professional name after her friend Tom Anderson's Storyville bar, the Arlington. There are stories that the Arlington name came after a visit to the Arlington Hotel in the spa town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. From our holdings below is an ink and watercolor working elevation drawing and the gouache presentation perspective rendering for the tomb for Arlington in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans. Built in 1911 for John Brady, Josie's business partner, it was designed by Lorenzo Orsini for Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company. Constructed of red Maine granite with carved eternal flames, bronze doors, and a bronze figure by German sculptor F. Bagdon. The tomb was later sold by Josie's niece, who married John Brady, to the Morales family, and Josie's remains were moved to an undisclosed location within the cemetery. Josie Arlington died on Valentine's Day 1914, which also happens to be Ash Wednesday today.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Photographs of Frank Lotz Miller

Giraffe House, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, 1957, Curtis
and Davis, architects. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer.
This week we welcomed our spring 2018 Tulane School of Architecture intern, Rene Duplantier. Rene's project is to create a digitized online collection of images from our holdings of the architectural photography of Frank Lotz Miller. Rene will create metadata and scan original Miller photographic negatives and prints of modernist buildings by New Orleans architectural firms including Burk, LeBreton, and Lamantia; Lawrence and Saunders; Curtis and Davis; Nolan, Norman, and Nolan; and August Perez, Jr. and Associates. 

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Frank Lotz Miller (1923-1993) moved with his family to New Orleans during his childhood. He became interested in photography while a teenager, and after graduating from Tulane University, he went on to work for New Orleans photographer, C. Bennette Moore. In 1953 he opened his own studio at 1115 Washington Avenue in the Garden District of New Orleans. 

While most recognized for his architectural photography, Miller was also known for portraits, commercial photography of fashion and food, and carnival and debutante balls.

Miller was an award winning photographer, and was featured in the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company's Architectural Photographers Invitational brochure in 1973. His work appeared in regional New Orleans and Louisiana publications, as well as national journals and magazines including Progressive Architecture, Architectural Forum, Architectural Record, and Interiors. Miller was the go-to photographer for New Orleans architectural firms from the 1950s through the 1980s. While most of his work was situated in the region, firms such as Curtis and Davis hired Miller to travel to photograph their work in New York, California, Germany, and Vietnam. Miller's photographs are often compared to well-known mid-20th century architectural photographers Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman.

SEAA collections that include work by Frank Lotz Miller--

William R. Burk Office Records

AIA-New Orleans Chapter Records

William T. Nolan Office Records

James R. Lamantia, Jr. Office Records and Collection

Curtis and Davis Project Photographs

August Perez, III and Associates Project Photographs

For a sampling of Miller's work, see SEAA's 2005 online exhibit.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Architect's Christmas Cards

For the holidays we thought we would share some of the Christmas cards made by New Orleans modernist architect, James R. Lamantia, Jr. (1923-2011). Most noted for his designs for area churches, including St. Pius X in New Orleans, St. Catherine Siena in Metairie, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Chalmette, all done under Burk, LeBreton, and Lamantia, architects. One of his most controversial projects was turning a mid-19th century townhouse on St. Charles Avenue into the uber-modern 20th Century Shop of home furnishings in the 1950s. He also did quite a bit of work in New York City, including restaurants for Tavern on the Green, JFK International Airport, Grand Central Station, and the World Trade Center. Many are surprised to find he did a great deal of restoration projects for Central Park in Manhattan.

Below is a sampling of Lamantia designed Christmas cards he sent to friends--several to his good friend and fellow modernist New Orleans architect, Victor Bruno. Some are hand drawn or painted, others are woodblock prints--some with applied watercolor, and one has gold foil glued on. They date from the 1950s through 2003. We wish you happy holidays and all the best for 2018!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Swedish Architects & Artists in New Orleans

We are excited for this week's opening of the exhibit, "Bror Anders Wikstrom: Bringing Fantasy to Carnival", December 14, 2017 through April 1, 2018, at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The exhibit focuses on Swedish born Wikstrom (1854-1909), who was a noted artist, designer of early New Orleans carnival floats, and a founding member of the New Orleans Artists Association in 1885. Many of the beautiful original drawings in the exhibit are being loaned by the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

This post was suggested by Cecilia Kjellgren, Tulane alum and Honorary Consul of Sweden for New Orleans. While SEAA doesn't hold any records of Swedish-born architects working in New Orleans, our friends in the Louisiana Research Collection kindly let us photograph items from their holdings that showcase buildings for the 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition held in New Orleans on the site of what is now the current Audubon Park. The supervising architect for the fair, and architect of the Main Building, was Gustavus M. Torgerson, who was born in Sweden, immigrated to the United States ca. 1865, and settled in Oxford, Mississippi in 1868 to practice as an architect. He proved to be prolific, designing many residences and public buildings in that state, many still standing today.

The posters below are from the Image Collection in the Louisiana Research Collection. Top: "View of the World's Exposition from St. Charles Avenue North East, City Park (current Audubon Park), New Orleans". Krebs Lithographing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Middle: Detail of Main Building from poster at bottom. Bottom: "The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans". J.S. Rivers, Lithographer, Printer, and Stationer, New Orleans. 

Below are stereopticon cards from LaRC's Image Collection, Edward L. Wilson, photographer.

Below is an undated photo of the interior of Horticultural Hall, which stood until the 1915 hurricane; in addition, below are two advertising cards for the fair, all from LaRC's Image Collection.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Architecture of Place Class Visit

Last week we did an instruction session, tour of SEAA's current exhibit "The Modernism of Albert C. Ledner", and a tour of our stacks for Professor Laura Blokker's Architecture of Place class. We showed the students examples of what they might use in SEAA by presenting materials documenting the demolished French Opera (1859-1919) in New Orleans. We showed the class an original 1859 watercolor perspective drawing by Marie Adrien Persac for the architect of the building, James Gallier, Jr., an 1876 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map to give them an idea of the opera's neighborhood in it's heyday, drawings dating from the 1920s to document the opera not long after it was destroyed by fire in 1919, and drawings for various proposals to rebuild it in the 1940s through the 1960s. We included photographs and prints from the late-19th to the early-20th centuries, and photos from the fire of 1919. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Albert C. Ledner Passing

We are sad to learn of the passing of New Orleans architect and SEAA friend, Albert C. Ledner. Our condolences go out to his daughter Catherine, sons David and Robert, and grandchildren. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him this past summer to mount our current exhibit "The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner."

Judy and Albert Ledner at the National Maritime Union Exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cypress Water Pipe

We gave a tour of SEAA and our collections to colleagues from the Newcomb Art Museum earlier this week. We spent quite a bit of time examining one of SEAA's artifacts--a hollowed out cypress log, which was part of early New Orleans' water system, dating to the late-18th to early-19th centuries. The bored log would have been connected by iron rings to other logs to create the city's first water main. With recent interest in the New Orleans waterworks...this artifact seems rather charming. The log measures 64.5" long x 13" diameter. Here is a link with a vintage advertisement from Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association about the cypress pipes--

                                                                                                                              Photos by K. Williams

Empire Exhibition at Newcomb Art Museum

SEAA has loaned several items for Newcomb Art Museum's EMPIRE  exhibition, opening Friday April 13 with a talk with guest curators, Da...