Imagine a house built with walls three bricks thick, cypress windows, doors and moldings, wide-board pine floors and fireplaces in all the main rooms. This near-perfect 1828 Creole cottage is in the Tremé neighborhood. “It was built by Terence Cousin, a St. Tammany Parish brick-maker who barged his bricks by schooner across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans,” says Scott Veazey – a renovator who says Tremé offers some of the best historic home bargains in New Orleans.
Built in 1828, the brick Creole cottage is now a showplace in Tremé.
Bounded by Orleans to St. Bernard avenues, and by Rampart to Broad streets, Tremé has long been thought of as the stepchild of the French Quarter. “Now with real estate prices so high in the French Quarter, our area is one of the hottest real estate investments in New Orleans,” Veazey says. “Things are happening so fast in our neighborhood that it’s amazing.”
Former double parlors are now one large living room
The cottage that Veazey purchased in 2002 lured him away from the Faubourg St. John (Esplanade Ridge) area where he was living and had renovated 40 houses. “I fell in love with the charm and sturdiness of this structure,” he explains. “As I was completing the renovation, my neighbor offered to sell me the twin of my house next door that had been built by Francois Cousin, brother of Terence. I was excited to join both properties to create a unique compound. My house still had the ‘dependency’ [or slave quarter] intact, so purchasing the house next door gave me the unique the opportunity to recreate the dependency in the back of that house.” Presently, the deep six-unit property features lush gardens, off-street parking and a soon-to-be-built lap pool.
OUTFITTING THE HOUSE
The master bedroom features a headboard crafted from old iron gates by sculptor Scot “S.J.” Evert.
Veazey fashioned his 2,400 square-foot house with a large living room where the original double parlors were, a huge master suite on the opposite side of the floor plan, a long gallery across the entire back of the house for sitting and dining rooms, and a kitchen with custom-made cypress cabinets. Upstairs there’s a guest bedroom, office and bathroom.
“My furnishings are a mixture of the old and new,” he says. Along the way Veasey gained treasures such as the bed in the master bedroom with a headboard fashioned from a rusty gate that he found under an old house. Scot ‘S.J’ Evert, his favorite sculptor, created the unique headboard.
Throughout the house, watercolors and oils by noted artist Martha Ambrose are displayed. “I just love her work,” Veazey says. “I bought her house at Nine Mile Point and discovered a treasure trove of her work. She was a well-known art teacher for many years. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I discovered her art. There isn’t a room in my house that doesn’t have Martha’s art on the walls.”
The broad gallery across the back of the house is one of Veazey’s favorite spaces in the house. “When I open the fanlight-topped French doors to the courtyard, I feel like I’m living in a grand French Quarter mansion,” Veazey says. “Since all of the windows have operable shutters, there is no need for window coverings. I also paid close attention to planting large palms near most of the windows to add to the wonderful tropical feeling of the setting.”
The rear garden features a courtyard where Veazey entertains. “It’s my outdoor dining room,” he says. Enhancing the space are metal sculptures by Evert.
“One of the things I like about Tremé is the unique mix of the neighborhood,” Veazey says. “It’s always been a mixed neighborhood, with French and Spanish Creoles, as well as free-people of color living side-by-side. Here, people still sit on their stoops and watch out for their neighbors. We’re just steps from the French Quarter so it’s easy to enjoy French Quarter living at Tremé prices.”
Veazey never regretted purchasing his house. “Now I’m renovating all over the Tremé,” he says. “This neighborhood has it all.
The space adjoining the curved stairway is just the right size for a table and four chairs
Sitting room with sectional couch. The rear gallery across the back of the house provides a cozy sitting room.
Kitchen Custom-made cypress cabinets are featured in the sunny kitchen that overlooks the side garden.
The compound includes rear dependencies with a courtyard adjoining Veazey’s house.