Within the Walls

That’s why they call it “The Garden District”

Located on a quiet, tree-lined street in the Garden District, the house was built in 1888 and purchased by the Carpenters in 1994.

CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPH

Sally and Albert Edward “Chip” Carpenter have a secret garden adjoining their Garden District home, hidden from the quiet tree-lined street by a vine-covered brick wall and an iron gate, and from the neighbor’s house by story-high Savannah holly shrubs.

The garden was designed by landscape architect Michael McClung of Four Season Landscape of New Orleans. “Its brick walkways and patio serve as our outdoor den,” says Sally, a nurse who has cultivated a green thumb while working in the garden. It is here where she and Chip relax, entertain guests and let Holly, their Labrador retriever, sun herself on a patch of grass that they created just for her.

The couple had lived four blocks away in the same neighborhood for 14 years before they purchased the home in 1994, where they could grow with their family that included two children, son Kyle and daughter Logan, who are now 29 and 27, respectively.

Chip always liked living in the Garden District. “It’s convenient to everything,” he says. Adds Sally, “It’s a friendly neighborhood where people walk their dogs and stop to visit.”

Built in 1888 by Cohen M. Soria, a noted manufacturer and industrialist, the house was lived in by members of the same family until 1951. When Chip first spotted the house, he saw its potential. “I could see it needed a lot of work, but I loved the tall windows that flooded the house with light,” he says. For Sally, the best thing about the structure was the fact that den opened onto a side garden. “I knew we would get a lot of use out of the nice outdoor space,“ she says.

The couple hired New Orleans architect William Sonner to draw the plans for the changes to the front of the house and the initial upstairs addition. “When we bought the house, the front columns were supported on brick piers, with no railing or porch, just steps leading down from the front door to the ground,” says Sally.  She immediately solicited her father, Aubrey Logan, to help us transform the front. “I knew he could do anything because I had watched him renovate several homes in Natchez when I was growing up. He had the front of the house jacked up, he then reinforced the piers and added a new front porch. His work gave the exterior of our house character and an interesting fresh curb appeal.”

The couple also wanted to give special credit to two carpenters, David Reed, who did the downstairs den, and Paul Bell, who was in charge of the recent addition of the master bathroom and upstairs sitting area. “Both allowed me to be involved in the planning and design, and were wonderful to incorporate the old and new,” Sally says.
 

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