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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Manors and Mansions of New Orleans -- An Inspiration for Dead Man's Deal

Sightseeing. One of the easiest things to do in New Orleans; visiting the beautiful and varied collection of homes in the Garden District and Uptown. The St. Charles Streetcar makes this very easy to do — just climb on board, sit back, and marvel.

When I was a tourist I’d spend many hours gazing and oogling over the gorgeous mansions and manors. When I moved here I’d take pictures of the homes, and imagined what life inside them must have been like. I confess, they are one of my author motivations.

Countless books have been written about the unique architecture and historical explanations for our buildings.  So there’s really no point in my explicative.  Although here are some fun facts about why our neighborhoods and home look they way they do.

When the French divvied up their new found land they partitioned the lots so everyone had access to the Mississippi River. In other words, all the real estate was very narrow, but very long. Which made sense, as the river was the only “road” for good and services to travel — the rest of it was largely swamp. So, when you needed to build a home, it only made sense they, too, would be long and narrow. It’s believed the name “shotgun home” came from the idea that, if you opened all the doors in the building, you could fire a shotgun right through the place without hitting anything. But no one knows for sure.

Ravenswood Inspiration
In my urban fantasy, The Dead Man’s Deal, there are three houses controlled by three families, all vying for power over the “normals”, the rest of us. This home pictured above inspired the manor called Ravenswood, home of the villain Malador. Incidentally, it’s the home that makes him evil. The “dark house” is where your magical talents are grounded. Born within it’s wall damns you for eternity.

Magnolia Manor Inspiration
This home is the inspiration for Magnolia Manor, home of Colonel Mustard, and a “white house”. Like Ravenswood, the house bequeaths the power to it’s inhabitants. Born here you are forever “noble”.

Witherspoon Manor Inspiration
But this house is different. This house gets it’s power from the inhabitants. It can be either good or evil depending on you.  It is the only house with “free will.” It gets is name from the family it protects, which today is Witherspoon Manor. In the community, however, it is called Gateway Manor — like a garden gate it swings both ways.

Should you find yourself walking the broken sidewalks of New Orleans, looking wide-eyes at the homes here, you too will make up your own stories. The histories, the hauntings… the house divided. 

We have them all.

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