Architect and builder, Henry Howard (1818-1884), 19th century Louisiana's greatest, not only left an indelible mark on Louisiana with so many iconic structures, but has left us here in New Orleans with his last known commission, this masterful...
Architect and builder, Henry Howard (1818-1884), 19th century Louisiana's greatest, not only left an indelible mark on Louisiana with so many iconic structures, but has left us here in New Orleans with his last known commission, this masterful classic at 1914 Esplanade Avenue.
Designed for the commission merchant, Auguste Tete, this elaborate development is of an earlier Howard design, a reiteration of the 1877 frame house form he used and one which we still honor today. The Tete House, with numerous others, has recently been documented in Robert Brantley's wonderful compilation, Henry Howard, Louisiana's Architect, which was co-authored by Howard descendant, Victor McGee, a frequent visitor to the home and friend to the current owner.
Many Henry Howard plantations and historic homes have survived supremely the ravages of time. Tete House is one which has been lovingly and respectfully restored, retaining historic characteristics only acquired through the conservation of antiquity with respect to time. While others' prior alterations had not been made with the best of intentions, it once again stands as near to its original form as when designed by the master himself nearly 135 years ago.
The interior is a full buffet of Howard craftsmanship, beginning with a sweeping hall staircase replete with elegant details such as delightfully low rising steps, which one easily ascends to the upper floor. While spacious bedrooms open upon the wide hall, the crown jewel of the ensemble is the gorgeous double-master-suite, which retains for its exclusive use, the lofty front gallerie. Six Carrera marble and two simple wood carved mantels grace chimneys throughout the home. The old wine room now serving as a roomy breakfast room connects the old kitchen, dominated by a wonderfully original cook's fireplace of hand-milled brick.
With fine millwork throughout, Howard's genius reveals an innate ability to create the sense of grandeur and space. To that note, the home's impressive formal ballroom encompasses the left side of the house and could be made to continue, by once again adjoining the adjacent formal dining room and library, re-establishing the original spectacle of the four room entertaining area.
As is the interior, the exterior is charmingly fanciful with the entire roofline supported by decorative corbels and with the main façade boasting a grand two storied gallery of signature segmented arches and an extraordinary entrance doorway. Note the extra fine original carved and leaded glass formal door with vestibule entrance, still bearing the hidden original house number, 298 Esplanade Ave.
Tete House is preserved and structurally sound, yet may beckon the talents of a new caretaker wishing to render complete the final touches of this truly fine and elegant family home.
Central, Window Unit
Central, Window Unit
Two, Driveway Only
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