L. Frank & Co. (Loubat Frank) rented out the warehouse from 1988 to 1997. A lack of maintenance and a fire resulted in major damage and the building was sold at auction to Invest-Rich, LLC, which began to rebuild and to attract tenants interested in the conservation and creative arts to what was then call the Egg Building.
In May 2001, Esther Dyer bought the building and symbolically renamed it ArtEgg Studios to demonstrate her commitment to the building’s history, her love of the Arts, and New Orleans’s cultural heritage.
The warehouse quickly became a flagship for artists, collectors, artesans and nonprofits who were interested in the evolving community and building’s design. On the firs floor, the concrete structure and coolers had been well-suited to keeping produce fresh, so too did the first floor adapt well for arts storage, collections, workshops for craftsmen, and creative endeavors. With its panoramic windows and great light, the second floor is an ideal work environment for artists, conservators, nonprofits and creative people.
Like much of New Orleans, ArtEgg Studios was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Her forceful winds tore open the roof like that of the Super Dome’s, located only 7 blocks away and floodwaters were up to 12” in the building. Unlike its neighbors, ArtEgg’s first floor is 8’ above street level. Yet without its protective roof, the old tongue and groove floors suffered major damage as did the interior walls. The stalwart concrete structure and the exterior walls remained intact.
To immediately help the community, ArtEgg Studios housed more than 170 Common Ground volunteers and students on a “different kind of spring break,” becoming a hub for Post-Katrina Relief efforts. Volunteers helped to gut ArtEgg as they staged work efforts for the Ninth Ward.
ArtEgg was rebuilt with sustainable design elements including: solar tracking skylights; water efficient fixtures; bamboo flooring; recycled glass and cork floors; solar water heating; homosote panels; on-demand heat and a/c. Some original tenants stayed throughout the rebuilding and were joined by new tenants in early 2007.
In February 2009, the South Broad Cultural District was approved with ArtEgg Studios as one of its anchors. ArtEgg Studios is a creative and dynamic space for artists, collectors, and community advocates. ArtEgg is dedicated to environmental and cultural sustainability. Now more than ever, our community is giving birth to new, creativity ideas and focused on preserving New Orleans’s arts and heritage, while applying methods that are most sound to the environment.
Since its inception, the ArtEgg warehouse has remained a symbol for rebuilding and renewal. “Everybody Loves a Good Egg remains our motto.”