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 2216-18 Royal St.

Welcome to 2216-18 Royal Street.  It is quite an honor to be featured in New Orleans Architecture, Volume IV: The Creole Faubourgs p.165 (Pelican Publishing 2006). It describes in architectural terms what you can see from standing on the sidewalk in front. It mentions that it is an outstanding example of a galleried shotgun in the Greek revival style. The Greek Key entrances with dentiled cornices are complemented by deep box columns. Cast iron gallery railings, gallery ceiling ventilators and fence posts help to complete the look that has become part of our city’s vernacular architecture.

But architecture alone does not make history. Our unique historic district chronicles the life and times of the people who made up the city. This home was built circa 1840 by Jean Petit, a clerk. An iceman and other laborers bought the place in following years. Before plumbing there were privies. A significant collection of old bottles and pottery has been recovered from a dig. As amateur archeologists we feel the residences must have been treating a large number of ailments. The former occupants also left less tangible evidence of their time. A few years ago, an elderly woman, who slept in the front bedroom, said she saw a gentleman dressed in antebellum clothes standing in the corner of the room. On different occasions guests in a guest room, that is now the office, told of a presence that gave them a feeling of great peace and comfort. It was ethereal not a flesh and blood being.

With bones of ancient cypress and old pine the house was built to last. And it has done that despite a minor fire, a small tornado, and the hurricanes like Katrina and Ida. But understandably it has undergone many address changes and modifications in the past 180 years. We, the present owners, purchased this home in 1989 and undertook an extensive fifteen-month renovation. It included the appropriate upgrade to the electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. The interior work was done under the guidance of Tom Gibson, who was known to have done many renovations in the neighborhood. During that work, the floor layout was changed from traditional shotgun to a front and back arrangement. Shutters were added to the front doors and windows replacing the older screen doors.

Currently, this is a single family residence with a front parlor and guest bedroom. The first two rooms were left essentially as original with the exception of placing a doorway between them and installing textured glass where a pocket door was no longer usable. The next two rooms were divided across to make a full bath attached to the front bedroom and a full kitchen off the parlor/living room. This was a “Mother-in-Law” apartment with the primary owners’ quarters in the back; both of which incorporated en-suite bathrooms and walk-in closets. The rear part of the divided rooms was used to make a new primary bath on the driveway side and a large walk-in closet on the other. An addition of 15 feet to the rear of the building was done to make a new kitchen and a larger living room. The ceilings were restored to their original height of 11-1/2 feet. Plastered walls could not be saved so sheetrock was used, regrettably. The eight fireplaces were either covered over or removed from service to utilize the chimneys for heating exhausts. Two of these can be seen in the rear living room and dining room. A concerted effort was made to acquire and treat matching wood for use in floors and wainscoting in the addition. Later, the backyard was decked over for convenience and aesthetics. The two out-buildings were retained, with one being used for laundry and the other general storage.

Our home holds an accumulation of treasures from a lifetime of travel and work. We welcome your visit and would be pleased to try to answer any questions you might have about the house or contents. It is our hope that we may continue to live and love our home for many more years and that it will be home to many generations to come.

Welcome to our home.  – Barbara and Tom

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