|Delord Sarpy House
1818 - 1957
|The Delord Sarpy house in 1957, as it was being demolished
to make way for the Mississippi River bridge.
|The quality of this photo is pretty bad, but it's a good view of the side of the house that faced Howard Avenue, ca. 1957.|
|Two more side views: left, 1957; right, 1930's.|
|Although this is not an image of the Sarpy home on Howard, I thought it might be of interest. This is the first house Delord Sarpy built, in 1765, on what would become Annunciation Street. It eventually became a girls' school and then home to the Erath Brewery. It was demolished in 1882.|
|The link to this page is: http://old-new-orleans.com/NO_Delord_Sarpy.html
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The Past Whispers - Home
| Of all the historical treasures lost to the wrecking ball in the name of progress, the Delord Sarpy house ranks high on my list of regrets. I regret that it's gone and I regret that I never got to see it. The home survived until 1957, becoming the oldest building above Canal Street. But, progress in the form of the Mississippi River bridge finally became its undoing.
The Sarpy home was built as a Creole country house in an area that would later become the Central Business District of the city. Bienville owned this land until 1723, when it became the property of the Jesuits. It was subdivided in the early 1800's and sold to several well-known citizens of the time, including Bertrand Gravier and Delord Sarpy. Sarpy constructed his home there in 1818, one of the first houses in the area. As was customary at the time, the house was built facing the river, and the street that eventually came to run along side of the house was appropriately named Delord Street. It was ultimately renamed Howard Avenue.
Sarpy's "country" home stood in place for 139 years, as its surroundings changed from rural to residential to retail to warehouse district. By the time plans were underway to construct the Mississippi River bridge in the 1950's, time and neglect had reduced the home's grandeur considerably. Looking at the pictures of the house in its final days, it's no wonder, I suppose, that those with an eye toward progress could overlook the important historical significance of the tired old home.
Samuel Wilson, Jr. and the Louisiana Landmarks Society fought hard to save the Delord Sarpy house. They presented a plan for placement of the Howard Avenue/Camp Street exit ramp that would have saved the structure. But their pleadings were ignored.
We have no sketches of the house from its early days. But, if you have an eye for history, you can see past the house's decline to the immense value of what was lost.
I've heard it said that nothing is really gone as long as its remembered. So, the next time you travel the bridge from the West Bank and exit on the Camp Street ramp, give the old house that's no longer there a salute, won't you?