James Freret Architectural Drawings

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James Freret Architectural Drawings features 150 projects from the office of 19th century New Orleans architect James Freret. Freret (1838-1897) was born in New Orleans to a prominent family. His mother was Livie (DArensbourg) Freret, his father James P. Freret operated a cotton press. His uncle was William Freret who served as mayor of New Orleans (1840-1842; 1843-1844), and his cousin was William A. Freret, also a prominent New Orleans architect. William A. and James collaborated on the completion of the cast iron constructed Moresque Building, which was begun by William A. before the Civil War, and completed by the cousins afterwards. Before the Civil War, James trained in the office of New Orleans architect George Purves. In the early 1860s, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Charles-Auguste Questal. Following the outbreak of the war, he returned to Louisiana to take a commission as an officer in the Confederate Armys engineering corps. After being wounded in battle, he returned to New Orleans before the end of the war, to take up work as an architect. Freret designed many important institutional and commercial structures in New Orleans and Louisiana, but was most prolific as a residential architect. This online collection includes many of his most important works, including buildings for the Little Sisters of the Poor (1886), the Gothic Revival Masonic Hall (1867-1871), the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home (1868), and proposals for four different designs for the congregation of Temple Sinai (1870). Residential plans include projects for many wealthy leading citizens of the day, but also more modest homes, including Frerets own home. These presentation drawings are executed on small 19 x 13 sheets, in delicate watercolor. Most sheets include an exterior front elevation and floor plans for one project, but a few sheets have two projects. The Southeastern Architectural Archive also has representation of many other important 19th century New Orleans architects, including father and son James Gallier, Sr. and Jr., brothers Charles Bingley and James H. Dakin, Richard Esterbrook, John Turpin, Thomas Sully, and many others.
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