Pitot House in New Orleans
The Pitot House is a historic landmark in New Orleans, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Pitot House is an 18th century Creole colonial plantation home located at 1440 Moss Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Pitot House is currently owned by the Louisiana Landmark Society, which uses the building as its headquarters. The house is situated on Bayou St. John and was moved several blocks from its original site in order to prevent its demolition.
The Pitot House was initially constructed in 1799 by Don Bartolome Bosque as a country retreat along Bayou St. John. It is speculated that Bosque's house was a raised cottage on brick pillars. It is also believed that during the ownership of Madame Rillieux (1805–1810), Edgar Degas' great-grandmother, the ground floor was enclosed with masonry walls of soft brick. Rillieux was also responsible for adding the southern gallery and several outbuildings, which are no longer extant. The house is named after James Pitot, the fourth owner of the house who resided there from 1810 to 1819. James is considered to be the first "American" Mayor of New Orleans, for although he was a native of France, he became a naturalized American citizen before arriving in New Orleans in 1796. Inside are American and Louisiana antiques from the early 19th century, but the antiques are not original to the home. A portrait of Sophie Gabrielle, James Pitot's daughter, is the only artifact owned by any past resident of the house. Other notable owners of the house include Felix Ducayet and Mother Cabrini, America's first named saint.
The house was saved from destruction by the Louisiana Landmarks Society in the 1960s and restored to its original splendor, showing the double-pitched hipped roof, and the plaster-covered brick-between-post construction. The wooden posts act as structural support, the brick offers thermal insulation, and the plaster protects this medley from dampness and rot. The style of the Pitot House is ensuite -- with no hallways and an outdoor stairway. The house was designed with hot summers and insects in mind. The doors were positioned across from each other to keep cool air moving. The extended galleries on both the bottom and top levels of the house keep the sun off the walls and offer outdoor breezeways.
The Pitot House was also designed to withstand floods and was able to survive the floods of Hurricane Katrina due to brick floors on the bottom level of the house which would have originally been caulked with a dry mix of sand and lime, allowing flood waters to drain through. The gallery, back loggia, and sleeping porch were used for outdoor entertaining, dining, and sleeping; they were fitted with shutters to provide relief from the intense Louisiana sun.
The garden at the Pitot House grows plants traditional to the time period when the Pitot House was built. These plants include indigenous flowers, citrus, sugar cane, tobacco, indigo, cotton, herbs, and vegetables. The garden is a traditional parterre garden, designed to be viewed from the above gallery. Next to the house is a 10000 sqft yard, where parties and events are held.
- Pitot House Museum and Gardens
- Pitot House Museum at New Orleans Museums: address, map, hours, etc.
- Pitot House - Historic American Building Surveys 13 measured drawings and floor plans
- Frommer's Review
- HGTV Restoration Information