On June 18, 2011, at ArtEgg’s 10-Year Eggstravaganza Silent Art Auction and Concert, Laurel A. Dorrance announced plans for the installation of a visual exhibit at ArtEgg Studios that explores the history of 1001 South Broad Street. This history, spanning from 1718 to the present day, will examine changing concepts of building and land usage, the technological developments that allowed for the expansion of New Orleans and also take a peek at some of the former owners of ArtEgg’s land.

The anticipated open of the exhibit is scheduled for the summer of 2012.

This page has been set up to allow people to follow along as this process unfolds. Here you will find historical factoids about the property, photos and updates of the process of writing and illustrating community history.

My name is Laurel A. Dorrance and I am the historian. I received my MA in History (with a concentration in Public History) from the University of New Orleans in May 2011 and I am currently enrolled in East Tennessee State University’s online Archival Certificate program. For more about me, feel free to visit my website at www.laureladorrance.com.

If you have questions about the history, exhibit or about the process of creating this history, feel free to write—I welcome your questions and comments.

How This Project Came About

I have been acquainted with Dr. Esther Dyer for a number of years and she hired me to act as the print intern for ArtEgg’s Eggstravaganza this past spring. While working on this project, Esther and I fell into discussion about other ways we can celebrate the contributions ArtEgg’s tenants make to the community and felt that a look at the community’s roots would be a wonderful way to enter a new decade of community involvement.

We decided that a visual exhibit would be the most accessible, “user-friendly” way to reach the public, though a written history will also be part of this process. This history will act as the basis for the visual exhibit and will be available here.

“So where do things currently stand?” you ask. “What do you know about the building or the property?”

I recently visited the New Orleans Office of Real Estate and Records, where I was able to retrieve the file on Square 596, the administrative designation the property is filed under. In this file, I discovered records going back to 1837—farther back than I had hoped, so I was delighted to say the least.

In 1837, a cotton factor, Samuel Oakey, who acted as future Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ business manager for six years, sold the property to commercial merchant John Hall. At some point between 1837 and 1843, when Hall sold the property to John Slidell, the property was surveyed and divided into the squares and lots that created the street grid we still use today.

Also, the Office of Real Estate and Records file shows that the earliest possible date for the rail road tracks along the south west side of the building to have been laid is 1886. At this time, the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Rail Road purchased Square 596 from Alfred Slidell, the son of John Slidell.

The building itself was constructed sometime between 1925 and 1940 by the L. Frank Company, an egg business.

I’ve also successfully located ArtEgg in the 18th Century, as can be seen from Carlos Trudeau’s 1798 map of New Orleans and its “adjacent plantations.” 1001 S. Broad Street fell inside John Gravier’s plantation, though it was not part of the Jesuit holdings seized by King in 1763. You can see Trudeau’s map here. Today’s Earhart Boulevard runs along the property line dividing Gravier’s land between his own holding and his land that previously belonged to the Jesuits. ArtEgg would have been just below the words “Cypress Swamp” and just above letter “B” in “Boundary of the plantation of John Gravier.” And as the map legend reads, it was all cypress swamp.