St. Thomas Housing Development at Chippewa and St. Andrew

Houses in the St. Thomas DevelopmentSchool in session has meant a whole lot more work. I fear my job is getting in the way of my mindless riding around town. Today, after my commute to and from work, I hopped back on the bike and tooled down to the Marigny for coffee and writing with S. I rode down Chippewa, through the St. Thomas Development. This development has a long history, starting in the 1940s as a whites-only housing project. After integration and a massive decrease in social services provided in the project, it became predominantly black–good old white flight–and one of the most dangerous parts of town. It was razed in the late 1990s, and these new-looking homes were built as a mixed-income development. I was struck while riding today by the odd, out-of-place architecture here. I mean, the houses have many of the features that seem essential to New Orleans architecture: high ceilings for ventilation, iron gates and balconies and porches. But they look so, I don’t know, new. The Development just looks so different from the neighborhoods surrounding it. This picture, for example, looks like it could be the picture on one of those 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles of Americana. But just three blocks from where this picture was taken, I was riding by rusted-out warehouses. Yeah, this is New Orleans.

4 thoughts on “St. Thomas Housing Development at Chippewa and St. Andrew

  1. I enjoying reading your blog as it allows me to see NOLA through your eyes. I have not had the pleasure of visiting your city. Oh, I am an old friend from the “Q”; the one from SD.

  2. We have some new development on the former airport, here in Denver. The developers made a conscious (and well-publicized) effort to build “communities” rather than just subdivisions. The homes are designed to look like our nostalgic memories of small-town America.

    The result is the architectural equivalent of the PT Cruiser. The basic outline is there, but the details are slightly off, and the proportions a bit strange when compared to the actual 75 to 100 year-old homes they emulate.

    I give them props for trying to build neighborhoods, complete with walkable retail, etc, but the executuon is just a bit askew.

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