This month's post consists of the lecture I presented November 8, 2012 at the Cabildo's Second Thursdays lecture series. In an incredible stroke of good fortune, I made the acquaintance of Philip Frank, the son of Charles Frank, the owner of 1001 S. Broad from the 1960s to the 1990s. Next month's post will recount Frank's experience growing up with Square 596.
Just a quick aside—while this piece is annotated, it is not in a customary, academic format such as MLA or Turabian. It's a bastardized short-hand annotation that allows for a researcher to find the document but permits me to just write without having to refer to a manual every time I turn around. In my experience, I have found that most lectures of this type are not annotated, but I made these annotations for ease of reference as I continue to work with this material.
“Local Lore Explored” Lecture series
From Eggs to Art: A History of ArtEgg Studios
By: Laurel “Lauri” A. Dorrance
November 8, 2012
This evening we will be discussing ArtEgg Studios and the history surrounding the building and property. This evening’s lecture will also include discussion of two other aspects of creating a history for the public—funding and creating a physical exhibit. There are many different facets to the ArtEgg project and we only have time to touch on the various element this evening.
How this project came about:
I have known Dr. Esther Dyer, the owner of ArtEgg Studios, for a number of years through her work at ArtEgg, where I would occasionally assist with events held at the Studio. In late spring of 2011, while discussing ArtEgg’s 10th anniversary celebration, the Arts Eggstravaganza (where I acted as the print intern), Dr. Dyer and I fell into discussing the history of the building. During this discussion I expressed the disappointment that the history of the building and property were largely shrouded, unlike properties in the French Quarter, where one can consult the Vieux Carré Survey at the Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Research Center and find information dating back to the 1700s with ease. Dr. Richard Campanella of Tulane University has traced the city’s development from its inception in macro, noting major wide-ranging changes and documenting elements of urbanization as they advanced within the footprint of modern-day New Orleans, in particular focusing on land use, in books such as Geographies of New Orleans. While there may well be private individuals who have pursued recreating the history of their property as far back as is possible, this sort of history, similar to the information contained within the Vieux Carré Survey, has not been explored in a more formal, academic environment such as this evening’s lecture.
As this has not been done before, it is unknown what such a venture can tell us about New Orleans and the human endeavor involved in creating today’s modern landscape. On the surface, it seems that ArtEgg didn’t physically enter the annals of history until the late Nineteenth Century. In 1886, Alfred Slidell, the son of John Slidell, the politician and for whom the town of Slidell, LA is named for, sold the land (known as square 596) to the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railroad Company (L. N. O. & T), who built the railroad tracks that can be seen to the southwest of the building today. These tracks are still in use today.
But I feel that an attempt to reconstruct ArtEgg’s property chain-of-title to the founding of New Orleans in 1718 á la the Vieux Carré Survey can provide an excellent lens through which the development of New Orleans can be explored.
I began my search in the Office of Real Estate and Records. Having the assessment district number (1), the municipal district number (2), the square number 596 and the lot designations of “X” and “Y,” I was able to retrieve a file of information for that square, which contained information about the property dating back to 1837, when Samuel Oakey sold the property to John Hall. In 1843, when Hall in turn sold the property to John Slidell (with Oakey acting as an agent for Hall), the property, bounded by Broad, Calliope, Sixth and Euphrosine, had been designated at square 81and divided into 38 lots.[i] In 1886, when Alfred Slidell sold the property to the L. N. O. & T, it is recorded that square 81 had become known as square 596.[ii]
While the Office of Real Estate and Records yielded excellent information and a starting point, the information tends to be patchy in this instance, with only the most basic of information, the COB numbers and the bare outlines of the transaction available. Visits to the Conveyance Office allowed me to discover further details about these transactions. While the property has been tracked back to 1837, many periods remain murky at best, such as the interval between 1886 and c. 1946, where at some point H. G. Hill purchased the property from the railroad and built the existing structure. To fill in these gaps will require further visits to the Office of Real Estate and Records and the Conveyance Office. But the Conveyance Office records only extend back to April 1, 1827.[iii] Can we go back further? A visit to the Office of the Recorder of Mortgages, which holds records dating back to 1788, can well prove to generate further information about Square 596.[iv]
While public offices can provide information on properties, maps for the earlier periods of New Orleans development, ranging from 1718 into the early 1900’s, provide a wealth of information and detail which permits the viewer to gain more insight into the area’s development. Tulane’s Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) has a stunning array of maps dating from the earliest days of the city to modern times that permits the dedicated researcher the means to perhaps successfully track Square 596 back to the founding of the city. The earliest maps of New Orleans tend to focus solely on the French Quarter district. One of the earliest maps to delineate not only the Vieux Carré but the surrounding region is Carlos (or Charles) Trudeau’s 1798 map, “Plan of the City of New Orleans and Adjacent Plantations.” ArtEgg, Square 596 seems to lie just outside of John Gravier’s land, in a zone identified as “Cypress Swamp,” but no owner of this particular plot of land is identified on this map.[v]
An intriguing piece of information, dating from the mid-1760s, is the 1763 Jesuit Plantation Survey.[vi] This document consists of two records, the initial assessment of the property by the state and a second document recording the judicial sale of these lands. We know from annotations from Trudeau’s 1798 maps and this 1763 survey that the ArtEgg property initially belonged to the Jesuits; in 1726 and 1734, Bienville granted these lands, a total of 20 acres, to the Jesuits, who were to build a canal to “Bayou St. Jean (John)”.[vii] The Jesuits also acquired two more parcels, a further five acres and seven acres of land adjacent to the original grant, making a total sum of 32 acres of Jesuit land.[viii] Though contracted to build this canal (meant to provide a means of communication by water for New Orleans to the inland) as well as agreeing to cultivate the land within two years of the original grant, the Jesuits failed to follow through, most likely due to a dearth of man power.[ix] According to the 1763 survey, “. . .if those conditions are not executed, the said land, stipulated in the same concession shall be united to the domains of his majesty as they are now, by law, since the said conditions have not been executed or fulfilled.”[x]
This gives us a clue as to the unidentified lands noted in Trudeau’s December 24th, 1798 “Plan of the City of New Orleans.” These lands could well be the “. . .domains of his majesty,”[xi] referred to in the 1763 Survey, though what occurred on or was planned for his Majesty’s land is unknown. Elsewhere in the document, reference is made to common land of the city,[xii] which could well be another reference to the “. . .domains of his majesty.”
The second half of the 1763 survey records the sale of these lands, having been divided into six lots.[xiii] In this part of the document, references are made to land development such as houses, a farm, gardens, a brick well, ditches and the Royal Road. The main dwelling of the Jesuits ended up being divided between a M. Jollet or Follet and a M. Durand. This compound consisted of a wood and brick house, a small stable made of stakes, one garden and a brick well.[xiv] It appears that M. Follet or Jollet, owner of the fifth lot, acquired the house and stable, while M. Durand gained the garden and the brick well.
While enlightening, the document does have its shortcomings. Even though survey measurement and annotation abound, landmarks and features are also used in delineating property boundaries. The boundary between the sixth lot owned by M. Durand and the property of M. Villars had been originally been defined by M. Broutin in 1745, the remains of which “. . only exists now in the shape of an old fence eight or nine feet distant from and below a ditch.”[xv] Another reference anchors property lines extending from “. . . the fence of the Garden of the Tan? or Fan? House of M. Durand, next to a ditch below the Royal Road.”[xvi]
We are fortunate that the map illustrating the 1763 survey still survives. While it is a reproduction dating from 1934 that incorporates information from 1819, the “Map of the Jesuit Plantation after the Maps of Olivier Deveĕzin, Joseph Pilie and C. N. Bouchon, dated 1763 and 1819,” promises to clarify the distribution of land in the zone immediately surrounding the Vieux Carré. ArtEgg perhaps lies somewhere within this map.
While tracking the practicals of ownership of the property is vital to the success of this project, another aspect is looking at the various owners of the property. By researching the previous owners, using relevant biographical information, we can get a sense of what the property owners perhaps hoped to develop from the land. The 1763 Jesuit survey refers to attempts at cultivating the land. The land transactions between Oakey, Hall and Slidell, all captains of industry of one type or another, leads one to think that at this point in time, the mid- 1800s, the main intention of ownership of Square 596 and the surrounding space was to develop commercial properties for purchase and improvement.
This construction of events is supported by the sales contract of 1843 between Hall and Slidell, which indicates the area being surveyed by this time with the modern street grid already in place (excepting Twentieth Century changes such as the I-10 Interstate and changes in street names).[xvii]
Invite Audience to Join Me at the Wall of Maps (1980 Freiberg and 1834 Zimpel)
While the archives of the Office of Real Estate and Records allowed me to reliably trace ownership of square 586, I have been able to track ownership back a further three years to 1834 using this 1834 “Topographical Map of New Orleans and its Vicinity,” by Charles Zimpel.
The 1834 Zimpel map is a wonder.[xviii] It is the most detailed of New Orleans maps up to this time and is, I feel, unmatched until the Sanborn Maps from the 1880s and later. I frankly have a love-hate relationship with this map. While the level of detail is incredible and invaluable to the historian, the fact that it is broken down into 65 legal sized sheets of paper to reveal that detail is daunting. Map fans who are also puzzle fans, take note. As you can see here, this is just a partial reconstruction of the map, with the French Quarter shown to permit us to get a sense of perspective of the physical location. As you can see, the property that held the future ArtEgg extends off property already held by Oakey closer to the river. Also, take note that Oakey’s upriver boundary lay along the dividing line between Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
Further, note the property boundaries. They cut across the street grid at angles. This is a remnant of the cadastral or long lot system of dividing land used by the French to grant concessions in the locale surrounding the Vieux Carré during the French colonial era. The cadastral system, according to Dr. Richard Campanella, developed in north-central Europe c. 1000 CE. Campanella states,
“The logic behind the system is compelling. Given (1) a valued linear resource at one end (usually a waterway or a road), (2) unproductive land at the other end (marshes or mountains), and (3) fertile land in between (natural levees or valley bottoms), one can maximize the number of farms enjoying access to the valued resource by delineating the fertile land into narrow strips.”[xix]
On October 12, 1716, a royal edict decreed that the demarcation of colonial land optimally includes a two to four arpents front (front meaning along the river in this instance) and extend forty to sixty arpents in depth. The arpent is a French measurement equaling 191.8 feet.[xx] This system is described in the 1763 Jesuit Plantation Survey. On page six of the survey outlines how the Jesuits’ 32 “acre” front was to be divided into six lots, the first lot being allocated a seven acre front and the remaining five parcels having five acre fronts, all having a depth of fifty acres.[xxi] The survey is an English translation and both the measurements “arpent” and “acre” are used, but the organizing principle is the same as described by Dr. Campanella.
This second map comes from Edna B. Freiberg’s book, Bayou St. John in Colonial Louisiana, 1699 to 1803. This is an intriguing map as it combines one of the 1798 Trudeau maps with editorial additions, noting concessions, conveyances and locations, by Freiberg. According to this map, ArtEgg (the little red dot) falls just inside land granted to the Jesuits by Bienville in 1734, which were meant to enable the Jesuits to build the canal to Bayou St. John mentioned earlier.
By the 1880s, the population of New Orleans, over 200,000[xxii] and growing, created a demand for expanding the then current foot print of the city. In order to do so, effective drainage, sewerage and water distribution (ever an issue in New Orleans development) became critical for further development. Though these systems began to be developed almost from the very first years of the city, the systems did not keep up with New Orleans’ population growth, necessitating further extension. A number of proposals put forth in the 1880s and 1890s[xxiii] attempted to create a system to alleviate flooding and enable more efficient sewer disposal and water distribution.
A 1903 map, “Map Showing Completed and Uncompleted Drainage Work,” the New Orleans Navigation Canal is near Square 596. But the drainage for the tract, near a proposed “main canal,” is merely platted on the map and is described as “Not Yet Constructed.”[xxiv] By 1912, drainage in New Orleans was accomplished by a combination of steam paddle wheel machines, vertical shaft screw pumps and centrifugal pumps.[xxv] While effective, these measures did not allow for the drainage of the lowest lying regions which remained, “. . . a thick gruel unsuitable for residential growth,” where ArtEgg is located.[xxvi] This zone largely relied on the existing (though inadequate) canals for the removal of surplus waters.[xxvii]
A 1902 map, “Map of the City of New Orleans Showing Proposed Water Distribution System,” likewise only advised the construction of water mains in the vicinity.[xxviii]
Though drainage and water distribution had only been proposed for the area, it appears that the sewerage system was making inroads into the ArtEgg sphere as seen on another 1902 map, “Map of the City of New Orleans Showing Proposed System of Sewerage.”[xxix] According to this map, Broad Street from Carondelet to Berlin Street (today’s General Pershing) is marked with a line indicating that an “Existing Main Sewer,” ran along the street. Two mains or sub- main sewers branched off Nashville Ave. in a southeasterly direction toward ArtEgg, as well as a third main or sub-main sewer that diverged to the southwest from Calliope in the direction of Studios. Further, one of two of the largest pumping stations in the city was located at the intersection of Calliope and Nashville, within blocks of Square 596.
What made the district finally viable for construction? In 1913, Albert Baldwin Wood, a Tulane graduate and a Sewer and Water Board employee (who worked for the S & W Board his entire life), developed the Low Head High Volume Screw Pump, otherwise known as the wood screw pump. At this time, drainage relied on eight pumping stations equipped with six foot centrifugal pumps (devised by Wood) that drained water at the rate of 4,140 cubic feet of water per second.[xxx]
Wood’s wood screw pump consisted of a conduit containing a steel propeller, which redirected water from the main canals to discharge canals. Air pressure controlled the flow of water through the pipe, negating the need for valves or gates.[xxxi] By 1915, eleven[xxxii] 12-foot[xxxiii] wood screw pumps had been installed. With these various drainage schemes, 25,000 acres of land had been converted from swamp land to viable land able to support residential and business construction.[xxxiv] By the end of 1925, this reclaimed land totaled 40,000 acres.[xxxv]
I believe that at some point between 1915 (the date of the installation of the Wood pumps) to 1925 (when it appears that H. G. Hill Stores purchased the lot according to the file kept by the Office of Real Estate and Records), the area surrounding Square 596 dried enough to sustain building. This supposition is given support by the Sanborn Fire Maps of 1908-1909. The Sanborn Fire Maps of New Orleans dating from the late 1800s to 1951 provide a level of detail that surpasses the detail of the 1834 Zimpel map as the Sanborn maps were produced for insurance purposes. Properties are not only identified by company name, designation or owner, but details of the construction and other information are preserved as well. According to the 1908-1909 Sanborn map series, S. Broad Street only extended as far as Poydras, while Euphrosine is only one block long between Erato and S. Claiborne.[xxxvi] In 1908-1909, Square 596 was not yet ready for occupancy.
When we look at the following two Sanborn series, 1929-1940 and 1937-1951, both Sanborn maps of the area are copyrighted 1940. But each map shows different stages of the development of square 596, though both properties are identified as “H. G. Hill Stores, Inc."[xxxvii] The brainchild of William Penick, H. G. Hill Stores opened its doors in 1922 at Banks and Salcedo.[xxxviii] Penick recounts the changes of the grocery business in a 1952 New Orleans Item article, “Penick Tells Gains Helping Shopping.”
In the map from the 1929-1940 series, only the front loading dock fronting on S. Broad and the first cold storage vault had been constructed. A second, smaller structure labeled a warehouse is located behind the first cold storage unit. Euphrosine did not have a paved road while S. Broad’s street construction is not noted. Across Euphrosine is sited a large turpentine and tar operation.[xxxix] Located within the first cold storage vault area are the service elevator and a cramped spiral staircase, probably part of the original construction according to Paul Embry of Veritas Design and Contracting of New Orleans. Embry states that the use of a spiral staircase allowed access to the second floor while being economical with square footage.[xl]
The second 1940 map from the 1937-1951 series shows the construction discussed above with a second warehouse with a loading dock having been added in the back, nearly doubling the size of the structure. This second addition stands where the second smaller building of the 1929- 1940 series had been located. The materials of the construction of the streets are not noted for either S. Broad or Euphrosine. And the turpentine and tar company is still in business across the street.
Embry notes a third addition, a large cold storage unit connected to the second addition back loading dock, augmenting the structure but this unit is not recorded on the Sanborn maps.[xli] It can be safely assumed that this appendage did not exist in 1940—it’s simply not part of the historical record at this time. As the Sanborn Series only runs to 1951, with the 1937-1951 series recording the details of square 596 copyrighted 1940, it is impossible to say with any certainty the date of construction of this unit though it postdates 1940.
In July of 1956, according to newspaper reports, after 34 years of business, Penick sold H. G. Hill Stores to Winn-Dixie.[xlii] In 1964, the property sold to L. Frank and Company.[xliii] L. Frank and Company acted as the purveyor of American Beauty line of poultry, eggs and dairy products. The beautiful advertisements for American Beauty products lining the exterior of the building, featuring a rose motif, were restored in 2002 by Caro Foods, the distributor of American Beauty products at the time.[xliv] A two-story flagpole in the front carries the company motto, “Everybody Loves a Good Egg,” topped with a large egg with a tracing of neon spelling “American Beauty.”
Invite Philip “Flip” Frank, son of Charles Frank, to tell how the motto came about.
L. Frank and Company, owned by Charles W. Frank and Sol Hockstein, in turn sold the property their realty company, Frank-Hockstein Realty, Inc. in 1994.[xlv] According to Dr. Esther Dyer, the current owner of ArtEgg Studios, the property changed hands c. 1998, when Invest Rich, L. L. C. acquired the building.[xlvi] This is when the property underwent a radical shift. From being a cold storage location for dairy products, the building was repurposed into a conservation studio and space for use by local museums, including the Ogden Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art, and renamed “The Egg Building.”[xlvii]
In 2001, Dr. Esther Dyer, a member and tenant of the National Arts Club, decided she wanted to become involved with the New Orleans art scene. Dyer had visited the property on other business and heard through a tenant that the property was going to be sold. Dyer thought, “This could be fun,”[xlviii] and on May 22, 2011[xlix] purchased the 50,000 square foot property.
With inheriting only twelve tenants and having been somewhat misled as to the operating costs of the operation, Dyer worked three jobs, consulting for two non-profits and as the executive director for the Italian-American Cancer Foundation for the next three years in order to meet expenses. By August 29, 2005, the building enjoyed a 100% occupancy rate.[l]
With Katrina bearing down on the city, Dr. Dyer left all her spare cash and her pistol with the onsite manager, Matt Lottinger before returning to New York. Before giving the pistol to Lottinger, Dyer needed to demonstrate its use to him. Lottinger, accompanied by his dog, Arty, and another tenant and armed with the pistol, 50 pounds of dog food and a barbeque, hunkered down for landfall.[li] It appears that the area surrounding ArtEgg began to flood around four or five in the afternoon of August 29th.[lii] As the building is built on pilings and is about 8 feet above ground, flood waters were not an issue.[liii] Nevertheless, the interior flooded to the height of a cinder block due to the five roofs of the structure being compromised. While the first floor flooded, the second floor sustained worse damage.[liv] Looters began to move through the area. With the building in a poor state and the surrounding social upheaval along with a friend, an EMS technician appealing to Lottinger for help at the Convention Center, Lottinger decided to leave, swimming to safety, leaving Arty behind after telling the dog to protect the building.[lv] “This dog protected,” according to Dyer.[lvi] Lottinger later returned from Houston to rescue Arty, with Dr. Dyer covering the expenses of the rescue and resulting vet bills.[lvii]
Dyer managed to get into New Orleans in the short window between hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Using a homemade pass and accompanied by “. . .two guys from the bayou with their shotguns. . . ,”[lviii] Dyer entered the city, where she retrieved papers, artwork and an egg collection.[lix] While visiting her home in the Marigny, soldiers confronted Dyer in an attempt to make her leave the city. After delivering a tongue lashing, which included Dyer ordering the soldiers to arrest her if they felt the need and asking if the soldiers would treat their mothers in this manner, the soldiers permitted her to stay.[lx]
Dyer immediately went into action providing relief to the tenants of the building. She organized a special art showing at the National Arts Club, “New Orleans in New York,” featuring works damaged by Katrina and tenants including Lory Lockwood spoke at the event.[lxi] Dyer also created a list of resources that tenants could refer to, organized an auction to raise funds and helped ArtEgg artists receive artists fellowships. [lxii]
On the advice of insurance adjustors, who cautioned Dyer not to spend any money until the insurance companies paid out, Dyer did not make repairs right away outside of attempting to tarp the roof before Rita made landfall. Wrangling with insurance companies held up any money being dispersed until March of 2006. Being a two-story building with both flood and wind/storm insurance, the flood policy ended up covering the flooded damages of the first floor, while the wind/storm insurance made good the damages to the second floor and the roofs.[lxiii] Dyer states, “. . .if I hadn’t had two floors, I’d still be in litigation.”[lxiv] Other funds, including a grant from the Baton Rouge Community Foundation and a SBA loan, as well as donated materials, helped make up the difference in the costs of repairing the roof, estimated at around $400,000.[lxv]
Before reconstruction of the building could begin, gutting needed to be accomplished. Fortunately for Dyer, a local, grass roots organization called Common Ground (begun 10 days after the storm),[lxvi] did (among other things) gutting for residents. Dyer arranged with Common Ground to house volunteers at ArtEgg in exchange for gutting and mold remediation, with 170 volunteers arriving in February 2006.[lxvii] While the partnership began well and the building had been torn out and remediated for mold, the largely college-aged crowd began to drink on site, a violation of the rules set up between Dyer and Common Ground, which led to the organization moving in June 2006.[lxviii]
With the building gutted, reconstruction efforts could begin in earnest. From the beginning, Dyer joined forces with one of her tenants, the Alliance for Affordable Energy.[lxix] “I thought that we could use ArtEgg as a showcase for sustainable design elements,” according to Dyer.[lxx] Forest Bradley-Wright, the Sustainable Rebuild Coordinator for the Alliance, felt that the rebuilding of ArtEgg created the opportunity to “. . . make it showcase for sustainable construction opportunities.”[lxxi] It proved to be a perfect dove-tailing of purpose.
With a slim budget to rebuild 50,000 square feet, donations proved to be instrumental in the rebuilding process. Dyer stated, “. . . people were into gifting here in New Orleans,” and ArtEgg arranged the for donations of materials with ArtEgg covering the shipping costs.[lxxii] Dyer and Bradley-Wright also negotiated “affordable rates.”[lxxiii] In early 2006, Bradley-Wright, who joined the Alliance shortly after Katrina, organized the first Build Smart Expo.[lxxiv] According to a press release from the Sierra Club, the Expo, “. . . is designed for homeowners, families and the contractors serving this community. Anyone interested in energy efficient, affordable and healthy products and building materials will benefit from the Expo.”[lxxv] The Expo provided the perfect opportunity to approach vendors for donations.[lxxvi]
The basic improvements to the building included replacing all the electrical outlets in the building, installing fluorescent lights, the replacement of 938 sprinkler system heads and the opening up of blocked windows throughout the first and second floors.[lxxvii] Too, it was discovered that electricity continued to flow to the industrial-sized cooler. By cutting power to these units, in combination with the change to fluorescent lighting, Dyer reduced her $5,000 by half.[lxxviii]
Using green building principles, defined by the use of energy efficient materials, sustainable sources and using non-toxic methods in construction.[lxxix] Donations that fell under green building criteria included recycling the building’s tongue and groove floors for reuse in the perimeter units and using homosote, which is wall board made of recycled materials, to rebuild interior units. The finish on floors of the recycled second floor used an environmentally friendly technique imported from Finland. This method uses skim milk, applied in three thin layers, to cure the floor, followed by a top coat of varnish. Another virtue of this process is its cost effectiveness. The usual practice of employing shellac with a top coat of varnish costs three to four times the amount of the Finland technique. [lxxx]
Clean energy emphasizes energy efficiency and renewable energy.[lxxxi] The change to fluorescent lighting and the cutting of electricity to the coolers falls under the interpretation of clean energy. Vendors gifted ArtEgg with renewable energy equipment such as six Sharp solar panels, solar tubes and solar tracking sky lights.[lxxxii]
Other environmentally conscious contributions constituted 5,000 square feet of bamboo flooring and red EnviroGlas.[lxxxiii] EnviroGlas is a type of terrazzo flooring composed of recycled glass, mirror and porcelain bound together using colored epoxy.[lxxxiv] Having seen this product myself, I can attest to its beauty, versatility (it can be used for counters and floors) and durability. And its environmentally friendly too. Who could ask for more?
Other environmentally friendly changes encompassed installing dual-flush toilets and low-flow sinks.[lxxxv] According to a web page from Stanford University, low-flow sinks are “Low- flow fixtures and aerators use high pressure and aeration to produce a comfortable, pleasing flow without using nearly as much water. Because of this strategy, low-flow fixtures are a win-win situation.”[lxxxvi] Dual-flush toilets gives the user a choice of flushes, dependent of the type of waste to be disposed of.[lxxxvii]
Finally ready to open in January 2007, Dr. Dyer sent out emails and posted Craig’s List ads informing the arts community that ArtEgg was geared up for business.[lxxxviii] When writing these notices, Dyer emphasized the newly installed sustainable design features.[lxxxix] Unfortunately, two of Dyer’s biggest clients, the Ogden Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art departed ArtEgg.[xc] Pursuant to Act 298 of the 2007 Legislative session, on February 10, 2009, the state of Louisiana designated the area as part of the South Broad Street Cultural District, helping to raise ArtEgg’s profile,[xci] located in what someone described to me as the Bermuda Triangle of New Orleans. At this time, ArtEgg has fully rebounded from hurricane Katrina, enjoying an occupancy rate of nearly 100%.
This lecture is meant to give you a micro-picture of the questions and goals of ArtEgg’s history. With Dr. Dyer’s interest in art and art installations and my own interest in creating a museum exhibit, we decided to create a visual display of the complete history to debut next year in celebration of ArtEgg’s 12th anniversary. It will be installed in the second floor Atrium.
The exhibit will include two hanging banners, printed with information on both sides, hung from the wooden ceiling joint that are about 15 feet high. Paul Embry of Veritas Design and Contracting has kindly agreed to take on this particular task. The banners will be attached in such a way with some kind of hook or connection closer to the bottom of the chains that will allow for its removal for special events. Along the walls will be pop-up banners like those used at conventions, that are collapsible, again for ease of removal. It is meant to be a long-term exhibit that will allow for use of the Atrium on an “as-needed” basis.
Traditionally, funding for these types of project come from grants. We have decided to try a new, digital funding platform called Kickstarter.com, launched in 2009. To date, the site has helped over 2.5 million individuals and groups raise over $350 million dollars. The creators of projects, Dr. Dyer and myself in this instance, are directly responsible for the fund-raising, with the appeals fashioned by the creators.[xcii]
Kickstarter’s policy regarding fund-raising is an “all-or-nothing” approach. This mean if a project is asking for $3500, this goal must be met for the creator in order to receive the funds. According to Kickstarter this is because, “If you need $5,000, it's tough having $1,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.”[xciii] 44% of projects posted on Kickstarter successfully reached their funding goals. This model allows donors to “. . . ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project. . .”[xciv]
Part of the process is creating lagniappe for different levels of donors. In our case, giftings include logo pens, sets of post cards featuring the restored American Beauty advertisements on the building, a manuscript of the history and invitations to the opening. As part of our appeal, we will include a short video as projects with an accompanying video have a higher rate of success.[xcv]
As an example of the variety of projects (and their success) on offer at Kickstarter is a recent effort by the Krewe of Chewbaccus. I saw this proposal a couple of months ago when I first looked at the site, recommended to me by a friend of mine Alexis Stahl-Williams. Amazingly, the krewe had raised 126% of their funding goals and had days to spare. Appeals can run any length but it ends by a pre-set date, with enough time lag to permit the use of funds in the crafting of the project.
The next steps in realizing this project includes putting together a budget. While we have initiated the process of posting our project on Kickstarter, we need to assemble a budget, a video and to make a final decision on the donor rewards, before we go live. We intend to have our project posted by the first of January. While we have a basic design for the exhibit, we cannot design the visual elements until we have a complete history written.
The selection of elements for visual use to use involves choosing among the subjects of the history to emphasize and their graphic arrangement. A good explanation about the process of choosing historical elements can be found at Harvard’s website. While the discussion is geared toward writing history, the main concept guiding both historical writing and creating a historical exhibition is the same, “. . . selection is essential. Because of space and time constraints, you will not be able to marshal an exhaustive body of evidence. . . .Instead, think carefully and critically about what evidence to include, what to exclude, and how to frame your analysis.”[xcvi] The historian must make decisions concerning selection and interpretation. As to the superfluity of source material, it can be massive. This lecture I am delivering this evening contains 97 footnotes and is comprised of 48 different sources.
At this time (though this may change as the history evolves), planned elements include a panel or panels dedicated to the various owners. Maps will provide another piece of the display. Discussion about Katrina and building practices throughout the history of New Orleans will be incorporated.
Please feel free to visit artegg.com/history-project to read more of my findings of ArtEgg’s history, including more in-depth information on former owners, including William Oakey and John Slidell.
I wish to thank you all for your attendance to this evening’s lecture and a big thank you to Katie Harrison, the Museum Special Projects Coordinator of the Louisiana State Museum who did a wonderful job putting this evening’s lecture together. I also wish to thank the Friends of the Cabildo for inviting me back to lecture. I also wish to thank Sean Benjamin of Tulane’s Jones Hall Special Collections and the Louisiana Research Collection for his help with the many maps I have worked with. And special thanks to Dudley Batchelor, the gentleman behind the camera there, for his support in the writing of this project.
I have a paper here. Those who wish to look at our project at Kickstarter.com, please feel free to come up and leave your email address so we may notify you when we go live. For more in-depth information about some of the subject discussed in this lecture, visit artegg.com/history- project. We will be posting this lecture at artegg.com in the coming weeks.
[i] New Orleans Conveyance Office. Conveyance Office Book 34. pp. 402-404. September 28, 1843.
[ii] New Orleans Conveyance Office. Conveyance Office Book 172. pp. 505-507. June 21, 1899.
[v] Carlos Trudeau, “Plan of the City of New Orleans and Adjacent Plantations, Compiled in Accordance with and
Ordinance of the Illustrious Ministry and Royal Charter, 24 December, 1798.” Accessed August 25, 2011.
[vi] Jesuit Plantation Survey, 1763 (LaRC M-1114). New Orleans: July 22, 1763. Louisiana Research Collection,
(LaRC), Tulane University.
[vii] Carlos Trudeau, “Plan of the City of New Orleans and Adjacent Plantations, Compiled in Accordance with and
Ordinance of the Illustrious Ministry and Royal Charter, 24 December, 1798.” Accessed August 25, 2011.
Jesuit Plantation Survey, 1763 (LaRC M-1114). pp. 1-2
Carlos Trudeau, “Plan of the City of New Orleans and the Adjacent Plantations,” New Orleans: 1798.
Concessions, conveyances and locations from the text of Bayou St. John in Colonial Louisiana, 1699 to
1803 added to the map c. 1980 by Edna B. Freiberg, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University.
[viii] Jesuit Plantation Survey, 1763 (LaRC M-1114). p. 1-2
[ix] Ibid. p. 2-3
[x] Ibid. pp. 2-3
[xi] Ibid. p. 3.
[xii] Ibid. p. 2, 5
[xiii] Ibid. pp. 7-15.
[xiv] Ibid. p. 12.
[xv] Ibid. p. 13.
[xvi] Ibid. p. 9.
[xvii] New Orleans Conveyance Office. Conveyance Office Book 34. pp. 402-404. September 28, 1843.
[xviii] Charles F. Zimpel. “Topographical Map of New Orleans and its Vicinity.” New Orleans: 1834. Louisiana
Research Collection, Tulane University.
[xix] Richard Campanella, Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans (Lafayette, LA: The Center
for Louisiana Studies, 2008), 131.
[xxi] Jesuit Plantation Survey, 1763 (LaRC M-1114). p. 6.
[xxiii] Flushing Committee of the N. O. Auxiliary Sanitary Association. “Map of the Existing Flushing and Draining
System of the City of New Orleans illustrating Improvements and Extensions.” New Orleans: December
J. L. Gubernator. “Map of the City of New Orleans Showing Proposed Additional Drainage Works.” New
Orleans: November 1889.
L. W. Brown. “General Map of the Parish of Orleans, Showing Location of Outfalls and Portions to be Drained.”
Report of the Advisory Board on Drainage of the City of New Orleans. New Orleans: 1895.
[xxiv] No Author. “Map Showing Completed and Uncompleted Drainage Works.” Semi-annual Report on Drainage
Work. New Orleans: January 1903.
[xxv] The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. “A
National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. . . The A. B. Wood Low Head High Volume Screw
Pump.” New Orleans: June 11, 1974. pp. 3, 9.
Jennifer Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump: A Study of the Drainage Development of New Orleans. Accessed
October 7, 2012. .
[xxvi] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
[xxviii] George Earl. “Map of the City of New Orleans Showing Proposed Water Distribution System.” Sewerage
and Water Board. New Orleans: July 12, 1902.
[xxix] George Earl. “Map of the City of New Orleans Showing Proposed System of Sewerage. Sewerage and Water
Board. New Orleans: Jun 24, 1902
[xxx] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
[xxxi] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. “The A. B.
Wood Low Head High Volume Screw Pump.” p. 9.
[xxxii] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
Nicole Romagossa. “Albert Baldwin Wood, the Screw Pump and the Modernization of New Orleans.”
University of New Orleans Thesis and Dissertation. Paper 1245. 2010. Accessed November 5, 2012.
[xxxiii] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. “The A. B.
Wood Low Head High Volume Screw Pump.” p. 10.
[xxxiv] Haydel. “The Wood Screw Pump.”
[xxxv] Romagossa. “Albert Baldwin Wood.” p. 27.
Accessed May, 31 2011. 1908-1909 Series.
Sanborn Map Company. “Insurance Maps of New Orleans, Louisiana.” New York: 1909. v. 6. p. 651.
Accessed May 31, 2011. 1908-1909 Series.
Orleans 1908-1909 vol. 6, 1909, Sheet 651&CCSI=2099n.
Accessed May 31, 2011. 1929-1940 Series.
Orleans 1929-1940 vol. 6A, 1940, Sheet 642a&CCSI=2099n.
Sanborn Map Company. “Insurance Maps of New Orleans, Louisiana.” New York: 1940. v. 6A. p. 642A.
Accessed May 31, 2011. 1937-1950 Series.
Orleans 1937 vol. 6A, 1940-Nov. 1951, Sheet 642a&CCSI=2099n.
[xxxviii] William Penick. “Penick Tells Gains Helping Shoppers.” The New Orleans Item. June 10, 1952.
[xxxix] Sanborn Map Company. 1929-1940 Series.
[xl] Paul Embry. Interview with Laurel Dorrance. September 29, 2012.
[xlii] “Grocery Chain Changes Hands.” The Times-Picayune. July 19, 1956.
“H.G.Hill Grocery Chain Sold.” The New Orleans Item. July 19, 1956.
[xliii] ArtEgg Studios. “History.” Accessed May 17, 2011. No longer posted.
[xlv] New Orleans Mortgage Office. Instrument number 604932. Book 3556. p. 234.
[xlvi] Esther Dyer. Interview with Laurel Dorrance. May 29, 2011. 37:55.
[xlvii] Ibid. 6:35, 37:55.
[xlviii] Ibid. 30:45.
[xlix] New Orleans Mortgage Office. Instrument number 604932.
[l] Dyer. Interview. 31:45.
[li] Ibid. 3:40.
Nola.com. Accessed February 12, 2012.
[liii] Ibid. 26:35.
[liv] Ibid. 21:05, 34:45
[lv] Ibid. 4:00, 5:00.
[lvi] Ibid. 5:00.
[lvii] Ibid. 5:00.
[lviii] Ibid. 1:10, 14:10.
[lix] Ibid. 1:10.
ArtEgg. “Katrina in ArtEgg: Severe Damages in ArtEgg.” Web post since taken down. Dyer saved these pages
for her files.
[lx] Dyer. Interview. 14:10.
[lxi] Heritage Foundation for Arts and Cultural Sustainability. Press release. September 15, 2005.
[lxii] Email to Dorrance from Dyer. June 11, 2011.
[lxiii] Dyer. Interview. 11:10, 19:40, 35:35.
[lxiv] Ibid. 11:10.
[lxv] Ibid. 21:05.
Dyer. Interview. March 3, 2012.
[lxvii] Dyer. Interview. 16:40.
A Katrina Reader. “One Year Later: Common Ground’s Accomplishments.” Accessed March 3, 2012.
[lxviii] Dyer. Interview. 16:40.
Common Ground. “Volunteer Handbook.” June 2006. p. 7. Accessed March 2, 2012.
[lxix] Dyer. Interview. 16:10.
[lxx] Ibid. 19:40.
[lxxi] Forest Bradley-Wright. Interview with Laurel Dorrance. June 14, 2011.
[lxxii] Dyer. Interview. 19:40.
[lxxiii] Bradley-Wright. Interview. 19:05
[lxxiv] Ibid. 13:50.
[lxxvi] Bradley-Wright. Interview. 15:05, 19:05.
[lxxvii] Dyer. Interview. 25:05, 25:40,
[lxxviii] Ibid. 24:05.
[lxxix] Bradley-Wright. Interview. 9:45.
[lxxx] Dyer. Interview. 36:40.
[lxxxi] Bradley-Wright. Interview. 13:00.
[lxxxii] Ibid. 15:00, 19:05.
[lxxxiii] Dyer. Interview. 19:40.
[lxxxiv] EnviroGLAS. “The Environmental Impact of the Use Cement and Epoxy Terrazo.” Accessed November 7, 2012.
[lxxxv] Bradley-Wright. Interview. 19:05.
November 7, 2012.
[lxxxviii] Dyer. Interview. 11:10.
[lxxxix] Dyer. Email to Laurel Dorrance. June 11, 2011.
[xc] Dyer. Interview. 6:35.