by Tara Dudley
University of Texas Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-1-4773-2304-5 | Paper: 978-1-4773-2855-2 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-2302-1
Library of Congress Classification NA738.N5D83 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 720.97633509034


2024 Spiro Kostof Book Award, Society of Architectural Historians
2022 PROSE Award in Architecture and Urban Planning
2022 Summerlee Book Prize in Nonfiction, Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast
2022 Best Book Prize, Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians
2022 On the Brinck Book Award, University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning

A significant and deeply researched examination of the free nineteenth-century Black developers who transformed the cultural and architectural legacy of New Orleans.

The Creole architecture of New Orleans is one of the city’s most-recognized features, but studies of it largely have focused on architectural typology. In Building Antebellum New Orleans, Tara A. Dudley examines the architectural activities and influence of gens de couleur libres—free people of color—in a city where the mixed-race descendants of whites and other free Blacks could own property.

Between 1820 and 1850 New Orleans became an urban metropolis and industrialized shipping center with a growing population. Amidst dramatic economic and cultural change in the mid-antebellum period, the gens de couleur libres thrived as property owners, developers, building artisans, and patrons. Dudley writes an intimate microhistory of two prominent families of Black developers, the Dollioles and Souliés, to explore how gens de couleur libres used ownership, engagement, and entrepreneurship to construct individual and group identity and stability. With deep archival research, Dudley re-creates in fine detail the material culture, business and social history, and politics of the built environment for free people of color and adds new, revelatory information to the canon on New Orleans architecture.

See other books on: Color | Free African Americans | Free blacks | Louisiana | New Orleans
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