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Merry Christmas Eggheads! This is the last post of the ArtEgg History Project, where we’ll wrap up some final details stemming from this project.

While we were unsuccessful in putting together a whole chain of title for ArtEgg, we did find one owner dating from the 1700s—an S. Trudeau (from the 1723 Newberry Library Map found here). Unfortunately, we were unable to find further information about this individual though we can speculate that perhaps this individual is somehow related to surveyor Carlos or Charles Trudeau.

One of the challenges to putting together a full chain of title is that most surveys of the area dating from the 1700s focus in the main on the French Quarter area, the center of population, and not the surrounding area. French and Spanish colonial archives in those countries may well offer further maps and surveys with which, when combined with local archival resources, a complete reconstruction of the chain of title becomes entirely feasible. With this primary documentation, a historical geographic information systems (GIS) analysis would be possible. For a look at the possibilities that a historic GIS can provide, refer to Dr. Richard Campanella’s Geographies of New Orleans.

During the two and a half years that this project has been in progress, the project has undergone a number of changes, most notably the shift in emphasis from an academic history to a community history. This is in response to the materials discovered and used during the course of this project. Events related to Katrina were largely garnered from oral interviews, supplemented by newspaper articles. Newspaper articles acted as the primary vehicles of information in discovering H. G. Hill Stores’ history. The chain of title information comes from primary documentation saved in the Office of Real Estate and Records file on Square 596 and the Conveyance Office. Rather than scrambling for information, we found on the contrary reams of information.

All documentation has been placed in the care of Dr. Esther Dyer. Anyone interested in looking at the materials may do so with the arrangement by appointment with ArtEgg’s Public Historian, Laurel Dorrance. You can reach her at ladorrance@gmail.com. Please put ArtEgg Materials in the subject heading.