article and photo used with permission of the Preservation Resource Center
photo by Ian Cockburn
The home of Sara & Mark Landrieu
By MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley
“WHAT MAKES THIS HOUSE is all the windows,” noted Sara Landrieu, owner of the one-bedroom shotgun house situated on Bayou St. John. Indeed, the abundant fenestration expands the walls of the charmingly diminutive house.
The rhythmic frequency of windows and glass-paned doors connects the interior spaces with the exterior views, but it is Sara and Mark Landrieu’s aesthetic that distinguishes the house. Their design instinct and attention to detail during a 2008 renovation revealed much of the historic structure hidden by earlier additions and modifications.
The shotgun home was originally built on the neighboring property at the corner of Desoto and Moss streets between 1883 and 1895 but by 1908 owner Daniel Moriarty had moved the house to its current location. The property changed hands once more before it was sold to Otto John Rees at the outset of World War II. His son, Otto Albert Rees, who lived there until his marriage in 1955, remembers rearing chickens in the backyard. After Otto Rees’ death in 1974, the family rented out the property before selling it to the Landrieus in 2008.
Sara, an interior decorator, led the renovation and interior design of the historic home. A garage attached to the south façade concealed a bead board side gallery with several of its original support posts intact. Mark, concerned about the narrowness of the space, suggested expanding the width of the side gallery along the kitchen’s exterior. Sheer curtains add shade as well as movement to this picturesque space.
Inside, the Landrieus removed a wall that originally divided the front space into two rooms and added a small guest bedroom with skirted tub, a design that predates the more common claw-foot version. The removal of a dropped ceiling in the bedroom (which had been converted into a kitchen) and the linoleum flooring uncovered original wood floors and ceilings. A bookcase attached to the wall in the current kitchen hid a brick chimney. Other treasures uncovered on-site include a porcelain kitchen sink, a seed bin that Sara incorporated within a bookcase in the bedroom and three glass etchings found in the attic, now framed in the front room. All of the art on display was created by artists who reside within a mile of the house.
Doesn’t this house sound great? You can see more of this house and many more during the Preservation Resource Center’s Shotgun Tour of Faubourg St. John homes on Saturday, March 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The headquarters for the PRC’s Shotgun Tour of Faubourg St. John will be at the PITOT HOUSE at 1440 Moss Street on Bayou St. John.
The tour is just…
$16 for PRC and Louisiana Landmarks Society members
$20 for non-members
$10 each for groups of 10 or more
All tickets are $25 at the Pitot House on the day of the tour so get your tickets early!
Ticketholders will receive discounts from area businesses including Bayou Beer Garden, Cafe Degas, CC’s Coffee House, Cork & Bottle Wine Shop, Fair Grinds Coffee House, Liuzza’s by the Track, Lux Day Spa, Pal’s Lounge, and Swirl Wine Bar & Market.
For more information call (504) 581-7032 or visit prcno.org
SPONSORS of the PRC Home Tour
Abry Brothers, Inc.
Cork & Bottle Wine Shop
Louisiana Landmarks Society
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
Soprano’s Meat Market
Uptown Insurance Agency
Tour Headquarters: PITOT HOUSE
Built in 1799, the Pitot House is one of the oldest Creole country house buildings in New Orleans. It is traditional stucco-covered, brick-between-post construction with a double hipped roof and wide galleries. The house is named for James Pitot, the first mayor of incorporated New Orleans, who lived here from 1810 -1819.
Now open for tours and special events, the house was restored in 1960 by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, which uses the building as its headquarters.
Shotgun House ticket holders will have the opportunity to visit the historic Pitot House.