1850 House, New Orleans

1850 House, New Orleans

A well-preserved townhouse, complete with a courtyard, provides rare public access beyond the storefronts to the interior of the Pontalba Buildings, designed for the wealthy Baroness de Pontalba, who had them built in 1849, when New Orleans was one of the largest cities in the US, riding on the wealth of its booming port. These buildings were the height of fashion among the prosperous middle class, particularly for the decorative iron balconies of the apartments, admired as much today as they were in antebellum times, when they considerably spurred the craze for ironwork.

Run by the Louisiana State Museum, the three-story residence presents a demonstration of a well-to-do family's life in the 1850s, during the most prosperous period in Southern history. Faithfully furnished with domestic goods, decorative arts and innovations of the day (including walk-in closets and private bathrooms), it comprises several "revival" styles inspired by Rococo, Gothic and Classical precedents. Note the Old Paris porcelain, New Orleans silver, the six-piece bedroom suite comprising a large half-tester bed, a dressing table, two mirror-faced armories, a washstand, a nightstand and paintings by several French-trained artists who came to the rapidly growing city in the early to mid-19th century.

The $5 tour vividly illustrates the contrast between the upstairs portion of the house, where the upper-middle-class family lived in comfort, and the downstairs, where the staff toiled in considerable drudgery to make their masters comfortable. It's a surprisingly enjoyable look at life in the good, or not so good, old days.

Why You Should Visit:
Great for some local history and color; worth a look if you are interested in how the area was established and the city's historical aspect. If you've never seen a 1850s southern home before, this is a must!

Tip:
Take time to visit the downstairs store run the Friends of the Cabildo, which offers handmade art, jewelry, pottery and crafts by local artists as well as books on every subject – from New Orleans history to food to voodoo.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am–4:30pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in New Orleans. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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1850 House on Map

Sight Name: 1850 House
Sight Location: New Orleans, USA (See walking tours in New Orleans)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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