Dispatch from New Orleans: History salvaged from the side of the road

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - May• 31•08

In post-Katrina New Orleans, you can almost do your window shopping on the side of the road.There are two basic ways of thinking about old windows in post-Katrina New Orleans. On one hand, old windows are rich with history and architectural detail. On the other hand, they can be cracked, broken, rotten and leaking.

It's the latter category that causes the contractors, workers, homeowners and volunteers who are rebuilding New Orleans to toss old windows out and replace them with new ones that are watertight and weather resistive.

But it's the former way of thinking — with reverence for century-old handiwork — that causes people like Ariane Wiltse to salvage old windows from the piles of demolition materials tossed alongside so many storm-ravaged streets.

Above, on the left, you see some of the windows Ariane has collected to use in the 1870s cottage she bought and is restoring in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. Anywhere Ariane can preserve history in this house, she is determined to do so.

Also, see the stacks of old bricks Ariane has collected for future projects.

See more of Ariane's story.

(Photos: Kathy Price-Robinson)

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One Comment

  1. It’s great to see history being preserved. My philosophy in rennovating houses has always been to never replace something that I can repair.
    In this case, refurbishing old windows like Ariane is doing must be both emotionally satisfying, and really add character to a house.

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