www.prcno.org 12 OCTOBER 2008 PRESERVATION IN PRINT St. Peter between Decatur and Chartres In 1851, Jenny Lind (1820-1887)– “the Swedish Nightingale”–came to New Orleans under the sponsorship of impresario P.T. Barnum. While here, she sang thirteen concerts to packed houses. She did not perform in the French Quarter, but rather at the St. Charles Theater on St. Charles near Poydras. The St. Charles Theater is long gone, but the building that housed Lind during her visit to New Orleans is still a prominent part of the city’s landscape. She stayed as a guest in one of the townhouses of the Pon- talba Building along St. Peter Street facing Jackson Square (six years be- fore the Andrew Jackson Monument was erected). The block-long rows of brick townhouses – not yet divided into apartments as they are today – with their ornate ironwork galleries had been built by the Baroness Mi- caela de Pontalba and had only been completed about a year before Lind’s visit. The baroness herself made a townhouse available to Lind. When the singer and Barnum arrived by steamboat at the New Orleans levee, the crowds were thick. Her many fans were anxious to get as close to her as possible, and Barnum feared that she might be needlessly jostled. As a ruse, Barnum walked off the steam- boat with two ladies wearing veils, and people quickly followed them assuming that one must be the adored singer. Jenny simply snuck off the boat unescorted and made her way to Gottschalk (1829-1869) became a great matinee idol and one of the first American composers to capture inter- national attention. Ernest Guiraud (1837-1892), whose father and mother were musicians at the nearby Orleans Theatre, spent most of his musical career in Paris. He achieved acclaim as a composer in his own right. A confidant of such composers as Bizet, Offenbach, and Saint-Saens, he was also the composition teacher of Paul Dukas and Claude Debussy. 627-631 Royal Street Nearly ten years after Jenny Lind captivated New Orleans, another great singer came to the city and received great acclaim. This time, the star was Spanish-born soprano Adela Juana Maria (Adelina) Patti (1843-1919). She had first per- formed in New Orleans at the age of ten, but it was during the more memorable season of 1860-1861 that she sang at the new French Opera House and became an instantaneous hit. The Opera House had only recently opened and was already facing bankruptcy when Patti agreed to appear in December of 1860. An overwhelming success, she quickly became the darling of the Crescent City and performed one opera after another throughout the season, saving the Opera House from an early closure. Tradition says that her pension was in the rather simple building that had been constructed by merchant Antoine Cavelier. It is among the oldest buildings on Royal Street, as it was built soon after the 1788 fire and survived the fire of 1794. As such a sensation, Patti was greeted by Orleanians with great fanfare wherever she went, and her Royal Street residence became a center of attention. The large courtyard came to be called “Patti’s 726 St. Peter Street Just around the corner from Patti’s Courtyard, is one of the most famous music venues in modern New Orleans where traditional jazz can be heard. Preservation Hall grew out of jam ses- sions held in the art gallery of Lorenzo Borenstein in the early 1960s and the love of jazz fostered by Philadelphians Allan and Sandra Jaffe. Eventually, these informal gatherings led to the formation of the New Orleans Society for the Preservation of Traditional Jazz, and on June 19, 1961, Preserva- tion Hall opened its doors. To the delight of all jazz lovers, the venue is still going strong. It is located in a building that dates to 1817 and was a speculative venture by noted local builders Claude Gurlie and Joseph Guillot. The building has seen few outward alterations in its almost 200 years of existence, although its origi- nal wooden balcony was replaced by ironwork in the 20th century. Just as Preservation Hall entertains its listen- ers with the sounds of traditional jazz, the building itself provides an invalu- able example of early 19th-century New Orleans architecture that is still essentially intact. 520 Royal Street Although originally built in 1816 by a French wine merchant and furniture maker named François Seignouret, this famous courtyard and its surround- ing buildings now bear the name of a later owner, Pierre Brulatour, who, coincidentally, was an 1880s wine dealer. Like most 19th-century French Quarter courtyards, this was once a functional area devoted to furniture building, storage, and household needs, as well as the entrance to the stables at the rear of the property. Fallen into disrepair, the property was acquired by wealthy banker and businessman William Ratcliffe Irby (1860-1926) in 1918. As a leading preservation- ist of the day, Irby was responsible for financing a number of French Quarter restoration projects including the St. Louis Cathedral and the Paul Morphy House – now Brennan’s Restaurant. He intended to use the Brulatour house as his French Quarter home, and its restoration gave rise to one of the loveliest courtyards in the Quarter — and consequently, one of the most photographed. Music ruled on the third floor, where a great room in the Spanish revival style of the 1920s was built. Its centerpiece is an organ built by the Aeolian Organ Company. An Preservation Hall P h o to b y J u l ie M cC o l lam Place d’Armes with St. Louis Cathedral and Pontalba Apartments P h o to c ou r te sy H NO C 1 9 4 9 .2 7 627-631 Royal St. P h o to b y W a lt e r G a l la s the Upper Pontalba Building unhin- dered. One of the leading importers of fine furniture provided the furnish- ings for the townhouse during her stay and later sold the same furniture at an enormously popular auction. Courtyard” and was a popular gath- ering place for admirers hoping to catch a glimpse of their idol. The French Opera House — like Jenny Lind’s St. Charles Theater — is now only a memory, having burned in 1919, but Adelina’s presumed resi- dence remains a part of the Royal Street scene.