New Orleans Architecture Question

While in New Orleans last week (getting married to the lovely Shocker Khan!) we noticed something interesting on several buildings in the French Quarter.

On at least half a dozen buildings within a couple of blocks of each other (near Dumaine and Dauphine, if it matters), the homes had what looked like an upside down “V” near the top of the eaves.

The “V” had slightly curved out edges, and looked to be made of a metal of some sort. A couple of homes had more than one of these bolted to them. The “ornaments,” I guess you’d call them, were too small and solitary to really be decorative. They almost seemed like an identification tag of some sort… either to ID the building or the type of residence it was in.

I believe the homes in that area are Spanish built, if that helps. I tried to take a photo but I only had my camera phone with me when I noticed them and I couldn’t get a good picture.

Anyone know what I’m talking about?

I used to live in New Orleans but I can’t visualize it off the top of my head. That area is in Google Street View though. Can you go to Google street maps and use the address at that intersection as a starting point to show us?

Google Sreet Maps (select street view):

One address is:
900 Dumaine Street, New Orleans, LA

Shag, it’s hard to see but look at 852 Dumaine. Up above the top of the second floor windows… something there that looks like the description in the OP.

I just spent some time scooting around the Quarter on Google Street View. Couldn’t get good enough resolution anywhere to show what I’m talking about.

Not sure if I described the location well enough… I think we saw most of them on the side of the house perpendicular to the street - so the side of the house, near the top, just below the roof.

I’m positive the buildings near 852 Dumaine that **NinetyWit **mentioned had the symbol. We walked back down that way and I remember seeing them on some of those buildings.

I will ask my sister who lives there, it’s possible she may know.

I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think the addresses go up that high in the 800 block of Dumaine. Is that a real address you saw on a building, or just what Google Maps thinks it is?

The building that Google Maps pulls up at that address doesn’t have a second floor. Describe the building so I can see which house you’re talking about.

Oops! It is 852 Dauphine (or so Google maps thinks). It’s a two-story yellow wooden building. Across the street is a 3-story brick building. Sorry about that.


I see what you’re referring to, NinetyWit, and that’s not it. Funny you link to that yellow building as that’s the restaurant we were eating at when we noticed the ornaments/hallmarks.

Most of the ornaments were harder to see as they’d been painted over w/ the rest of the building. On the brick buildings though you could see them easier as they were just their original metal.

They looked to be about a foot to a foot and a half in length and maybe eight inches wide at their widest point. As I said before, they look like an upside down “V” w/ splayed points. Or an “A” without a crossbar.

Could it be something at the end of a steel rod going through the house, to prevent the exterior walls from moving away from each other? I haven’t seen them in timber houses, but they are quite common in older brick houses. (I’ve lived in at least two houses in Australia that had them). The rods would go above the ceiling, so that it wouldn’t be visible inside the house, so that position would be about right for them.

Can in to suggest exactly what Giles just did. My parents 1851 home has them, a rod that extends from one side of the house clear though to the other and splayed at the ends to hold the two walls opposite each other in place. Usually several of these will be arranged in parallel sequence, perhaps 20 or 30 feet apart, depending. Their walls are brick but I suppose they could be used on any medium in the absence of steel framing.

I think **Giles **and **lieu **have figured it out. These were only on brick buildings as far as I saw - and there was one building that had four of them spaced apart as **lieu ** mentions.

I still don’t see this in any of the pictures, but could it possibly be connected to a rod where it would pivot so that it could be used to hold shutters open? They’d have to be between two windows for that to work though.