“French Neoclassical Beauty”
Built of stucco covered brick, the new building, also known as Old Ursuline Convent, is typical for the French neoclassical architecture. It is a formal, symmetrical building, severely designed in its lack of ornamentation. No applied orders of pilasters or columns relieved the plain walls. Only the slightly arched window set in shallow moldings, the rusticated quoins at the corners and narrow central pedimented pavilion break the even rhythm of the fenestration. The broad plain hipped roof, broken only by four small low set dormers contrasts well with the multi-windowed facade and completes the austere but not unpleasant, finely proportioned building. The ground floor was used largely for the dormitory, classrooms, refectory, and infirmary of the orphanage, maintained by the nuns. The second floor contained cells for the nuns, a library, infirmary and storerooms. The winding stairway is believed to be from the original convent, installed in the new building. "This is the finest surviving example of French colonial public architecture in the country," states the National Park Service. It is by some accounts the oldest structure in New Orleans, built between 1748 and 1752. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960
I went there yesterday in hopes of getting a tour but was greeted with a sign saying they would not be giving tours until October. The architecture is neat though.
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