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Architecture of the Garden District pt 3

Queen Anne

Walking in the Garden District is joyful experience. Further, understanding the different styles of houses and why they were designed those days makes it even funner. In this latest discussion of the different schools of architecture in this grand neighborhood, we are going to look at the fantastical flourishes of Queen Anne.

Mikko Macchione

Tour Guide with Unique NOLA Tours and Author of books about New Orleans.

New Orleans Rum: A Decadent History

After the Civil War, New Orleans recovered a little faster than most of the other parts of the Confederacy. First of all the Crescent City was taken without a shot. In 1861, the United States Navy just rolled in and took it. So the city was not damaged as in other places. Second, being a port city, we were up and rolling by the 1880s – just in time for an exciting new construction material – millwork.

Millwork spins wood stock and creates decorative elements like table legs. As the folks who were making money wanted to celebrate their wealth in quasi-classical way – they slapped millworks all over the facades of their new mansions. 

Queen Anne style is typified by ornate millworks, candy colors, sometimes towers featuring pendants, corbels and finials.


Pendant: that’s a fancy knob of wood hanging down.

Corbel: that’s what most people call a bracket.

Finial: a pointy bit of wood that points up.

The lead voice for this style actually didn’t design houses, he designed furniture.

Charles Eastlake didn’t even make furniture, but he composed a book of furniture and room designs. In 1872 he released ‘Hints on Household Taste, Furniture, Upholstery and other Details.’ It ended being reprinted six times.

Much to Eastlake’s dismay, most of these books were not being bought for furniture, but for houses. He thought the style too gaudy for houses. To make things worse, Americans started calling the style ‘Queen Anne.’ On lecture tours he would openly complain ‘Queen Anne’s been dead for over a hundred years!”

So if you want poor Charles to roll over in his grave one way, call the style “Eastlake;” and if you want him to roll the other way, call this over the top style “Queen Anne.”

Unique Nola Tour of the Garden District.