Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sneak Peek: Maison Hospitaliere Project

Get excited, Gimleters!  My friend, Kristen Nelson, real estate agent for Lauricella, agreed to take me to see one of her company's development projects this weekend.  Now, this is not just any ordinary house flip or remodel.  Her company has begun restoring and renovating almost an entire block of the French Quarter, including the Maison Hospitaliere, a massive nonprofit nursing home facility in the French Quarter.   The Maison Hospitaliere operated for 113 years prior to closing its doors in 2006. 

The Maison Hospitaliere, French for "Hospitality House," was started by French Quarter resident Coralie Correjolles, who organized a group of 30 French Quarter women in 1879 as La Societe des Dames Hospitalieres ("The Society of Hospitable Ladies"), to help women unable to support themselves. Dues were 10 cents a month. 

The organization's goal was to unite under one roof those "whom sorrow and misery had already united in heart and sympathy." In 1893 the society bought a former small hotel at 822 Barracks St., which was a frame building with two detached service wings.  The original 20 residents received food, shelter, and five barrels of coal a year.  Eventually, the facility was licensed as a nursing home by Louisiana to provide care for 94 residents, including 35 in the infirmary. In 1951, a building that houses administrative offices and an infirmary was built at 1220 Dauphine St. from private contributions.  (I note that this location is right around the corner from my mom's Pre-K school, La Petite Ecole...no longer in existence, sadly)

Life Magazine shot of Maison Hospitaliere, circa 1946.
Described by Life as "a home for old Creole ladies." 

**Mary still presides over the now abandoned courtyard...the furniture and landscaping has been cleared for the renovations to begin. 

This shot depicts Maison H prior to its closure.

The massive property is currently in need of a complete restoration.  Walking through the hidden courtyards that have yet to be restored and around the property was a bit eerie as the property is in disrepair and certainly representative of a bygone era.  That being said, the promise of what is to come is overwhelmingly fantastic and that certain eerie/je ne sais quoi is exactly what makes this property (and really any property in the French Quarter) entirely different from any other restoration in the country.     

The property will including approximately two or three single family structures as well as condominiums. 

Here is a before shot...

Kristen's company has begun lovingly restoring various parts of the property, having already completed a 1400 square foot Creole cottage that sits on Bourbon Street (the blue cottage above) between Barracks and Governor Nicholls.  Can I just say showstopper?  If the cottage is representative of what the entirety of the property is going to look like when the last phase is completed, I know people are going to be scrapping just to own a piece. 

After shot of the cottage portion of the project.  The colors are fresh and modern, but stay true to the guidelines set forth by the Vieux Carre commission as well as the aesthetics of the neighborhood.  This cottage is being sold as a single family home and has off street parking...the holy grail in the Quarter.

I snapped some interior shots of the cottage, which is serving as the "model unit,"  just to get you hot and bothered prior to the arrival of the real goods (which are coming later from Kristen...):

Love that the designer, Tammy Massey, used a lamp instead of a chandelier above the dining room table.  Perfect for a "model unit"...no commitments to chandeliers that a person may want to move or remove altogether.

The den...note the reclaimed wood behind the TV.  It is not original to the home, but rather, a build out.  I think it adds such character to the, although necessary, TV area.  There are paintings by Harouni throughout the property. 

The beautiful master headboard and custom art work.  (Don't freak...we will be sourcing all of this for y'all!)

I think I was blacking out when photographing the master bathroom because it is so gorgeous and perfectly done.  The custom cabinets are topped by a three inch honed marble slab and the floor to ceiling river rock adds a dose of texture to the space.  Not sure if you can catch the custom light fixtures...they are ethereal and soft. 

I hope that these photos and bit of history have you revved up to see more.  Kristen is going to send us the professional photographs and sourcing information so that you can see everything the home has to offer.  Oh, and if you can't simply point and click and buy this gem (!), there are some good renovation ideas as well.... 

Historical property, slowly restored with only the absolute highest quality materials and craftsmanship.  This Quarter rat at heart can't ask for anything more! 



P.S. I really hope you signed up for Tidbits....I just got a treat in my email box that may be too delectable to share!  Check out http://www.jolieandelizabeth.com/.  Some local New Orleans designers who are heating up quickly. 


  1. I went into Hemline on Friday to try on one of the seersucker dresses. They weren't in stock yet, but I talked to one of the designers of the line (Jolie, I think). She was so nice and helpful.

    P.S. You know I love the FQ, but for the ghosts everywhere.

  2. Thanks for the write up Jessie! It is such a unique and amazing project to be working on! If anybody is interested in taking a tour, let me know!

  3. Ooh, good post. Tres interesting and informative. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the "model" house!

    But if you're afraid of ghosts, I would stay away from this one... Ye Olde House for Battered Women turned old hospital, yikes!
    Remember when I house sat for that house on Frenchman-- I only slept over for one night! After that it was daytime visits only!

  4. Amazing! Thanks for sharing this back story!
    xo xo

  5. Such childhood memories of La Petite Ecole and going to MH to visit and sometimes sing. Great write-up. Mom

  6. I actually used to work as a CNa ther. That place was very dear to me. I was extremely heartbroken over it closing even though after Katrina I moved to atlanta.It is nice that something beautiful will be built in place of it.My ladies would be pleased.

  7. So happy to learn something wonderful will be done with this beautiful building and location. Both my mother and grandmother lived there and were extremely active with the facility. My mother died just before Hurricane Katrina - thank goodness she did not live through that. GREAT memories of a wonderful location. Will this be available to the public to see as the renovation goes on? My mother was President of the Grievance Committee (a/k/a Civic Association) and my grandmother was responsible for creating the library mostly on donations from the community. It was awesome! Best wishes on your project.