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Fleur de Lis Architecture


The fleur was literally built into the French Quarter and stuccoed into government buildings throughout the French colonial region. The Governors mansion near the river, his home in what is now the Central Business District, the cathedral, the military barracks and the magazines that would become the first dance halls all sported the fleur de lis.

Inside modest Creole cottages and on the doors of shotgunhouses, the fleur became an ornamental necessity. Fireplaces, stained glass windows, cast iron fences and above-ground-tombs used the fleur to enhance the elegance of interior and exterior spaces, as well as to associate the living - and dead - with the divine.

Even the simplicity of Greek Revival styles popular during the "Gilded Age" of ante-bellum Gulf societies could not be constrained in a place where half of the millionaires in the United States now lived. The trappings of royalty were too tempting, even to the new Protestant immigrants into French Louisiana. The fleur de lis migrated  - in the form of fabrics and wallpaper  - into Americanplantations upriver and beyond.