Lovely Quartet of Houses on Burthe Street

By R. Stephanie Bruno

THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Carrollton, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, bounded roughly by Earhart Expressway on the north, the Mississippi River on the south, Broadway on the east (technically, Lowerline Street), and the Orleans-Jefferson Parish line on the west.

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My very favorite feature here is the gable: A crisp triangle of fish-scale shingles forms the top third, then a wide band of straight-edged shingles curves inward from the plane of the triangle to showcase the gable window.

Spurred by the advent in 1836 of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad (today’s streetcar), development of the area blossomed in the mid-19th century and continued after being annexed by the city of New Orleans in 1874.

Carrollton’s residential blocks and oak-lined streets convey its small-town feel, and monthly arts markets at Palmer Park and festivals on Oak Street add vitality to the experience.

THE BLOCK: The 7700 block of Burthe Street on the odd-numbered, or north, side, between Adams Street on the east and Burdette Street on the west.

Maple Street’s restaurants and shops are a block to the south, and the Tulane University campus a few blocks to the east.

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Burthe is one of those New Orleans streets that has an unpredictable pronunciation. Instead of “Berth,”, according to Tim Lyons’ “A Lexicon of New Orleans Terminology and Speech,” it is “pronounced <BYOOTH> … sounds like ‘youth’ with a B in front of it. … Apparently mail addressed to ‘Buth’ or ‘Buthe’ Street gets delivered just fine.”

Lyman says the street was named for a Frenchman of the same name (perhaps Dominique François Burthe, whose subdivided plantation became Burtheville).

THE HOUSES: Four handsome homes built sometime between 1896 and 1909.

If their styles aren’t enough to convince me of their build dates (they are primarily Neoclassical Revival), the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps do.

Published periodically and showing the footprints of structures in the city, the maps for this block are blank in 1896 but show four houses in 1909.


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The four handsome homes on the 7700 block of Burthe Street were likely built sometime between 1896 and 1909.

Visiting the Tulane University campus on a Monday morning means parking far, far away. But that’s just fine with me — the sun is shining, and the weather, though brisk, is comfortable for walking.

When it’s time to return to my car, I don’t, and stray instead until I land on the 7700 block of Burthe Street.

Anatomy of the block

What strikes me first is that not one of the four houses on the block looks remotely like the others, even though most share at least a few stylistic elements typical of the period in which they were built.

On the corner of Burdette, there’s a gracious blue house on a huge lot, followed by a fanciful pink house on an equally large lot. Then I spot an olive-hued sidehall shotgun and a blue centerhall house with an inviting screened-in front porch.

The forms are all different, as are the positions of the houses on their lots, some centered, some on the property line.

To take a closer look, I start at the corner of Burdette and walk toward Adams. The first house is a blue centerhall with a front porch that extends across the left side and past the front door. But instead of continuing the full width of the house, as it would on a typical centerhall cottage, the porch ends in a decorative bay that extends forward on the right-hand side.

Tuscan columns (round and tapered so that they are smaller at the top than at the bottom) support the ceiling of the deep front porch and bolster my Neoclassical Revival theory (for they are emblematic of the style). So do the delicately rendered swags and laurels of flowers applied to flat surfaces of the façade, especially above the column tops, over the bay windows and above the front steps.

But my very favorite feature here is the gable: A crisp triangle of fish-scale shingles forms the top third, then a wide band of straight-edged shingles curves inward from the plane of the triangle to showcase the gable window.

I move on, past a carport with a round stained-glass window set near the peak of its gable, and then I reach a pink house set amid a well-tended garden and front yard. The sounds of a fountain attract my curiosity, and I look until I spot it over on the right-hand corner.

Even with bare limbs this time of year, the trees make it difficult to see the house. There is a porch on the left side and a forward-extending bay on the right. The porch roof is supported by stout box columns, and a mini-gable marks the location of the front steps, similar to what is above the front steps on the blue house.

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The prominent gable also presents an opportunity or even a requirement of embellishment, a challenge that the builder of this house responded to by inserting fish-scale shingles, double windows and an idiosyncratic hood and spandrel over the windows.

The bay on the right contains a pair of windows, crowned by a simple flourish of decorative millwork. Where the porch and the bay join the main body of the house, a forward-facing gable appears, distinguished by a round, stained-glass gable window.

The pink house occupies a large lot that includes the carport, plus what looks like an expanse of garden beyond. It snuggles up against its eastern property line.

The olive-colored sidehall house next to it sits close to its western property line, so that the two houses together look like they’re cozying up to one another.

Proximate or not, the olive house couldn’t look more different from the pink house. The olive-colored sidehall has a well-used front porch (judging from the bounty of rocking and other chairs) that extends the full width of the house.

Its prominent gable, detailed in shingles and displaying a millwork flourish above the gable windows, makes a strong impression. Tuscan columns reappear, their slender forms exaggerating the apparent height of the floor-to-ceiling windows and their louvered shutters.

A bookend to the very different centerhall house at the Burdette corner, the house at Burthe and Adams represents an interesting evolution of the genre.

Generally, centerhall houses built in the era when Greek Revival and then Italianate styles were most popular have side-gabled roofs, meaning the roof ridge is parallel to the street. But the centerhall has a front-gabled roof and a roof ridge that’s perpendicular to the street.

The variation means that the volume of the second story moves forward, closer to the street, making the house appear taller than its ancestors — with their side-gabled roofs — would. The prominent gable also presents an opportunity or even a requirement of embellishment, a challenge that the builder of this house responded to by inserting fish-scale shingles, double windows and an idiosyncratic hood and spandrel over the windows.

The same device appears in a smaller gable on the right-hand side of the house. Combined with the metal roof and the screened-in porch, the individualization of the roof components gives the house the personality of a home in the country.

Life on the street

Christian Dawalder is having a perfectly peaceful morning, sipping coffee on the front porch of the pink house, when I stick a camera through the fence. Oops!

“I’m sorry, sir! I didn’t see you sitting there,” I say to him.

Despite the intrusion, he is incredibly gracious and offers to retrieve his wife, Ninette Brierre Dawalder, from inside while I follow his instructions to go take a look at their back garden.

When Ninette arrives, I learn that the two have known each other since 1968 but married just four years ago. Only fairly recently did Christian Dawalder move his possessions lock, stock and barrel from Colorado to Burthe Street.

I thank the Dawalders for their hospitality and comment on the beauty of their garden.

“You should see it in spring!” Christian says, and I promise to come back.


My New Favorite Music – Maria Teresa Vera

Five Songs By Cuban Legend Maria Teresa Vera (with lyrics)

 by Azizi Powell

This post presents information about and five sound files of the legendary Cuban vocalist Maria Teresa Vera (available on iTunes here). The content of this post is presented for historical, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes. All copyrights remain with their owners.

From Wikipedia entry on Maria Teresa Vera
María Teresa Vera (Guanajay, February 6, 1895 – Havana, December 17, 1965) was a Cuban singer, guitarist and composer. She was an outstanding example of the Cuban trova movement. Trova is one of the great roots of the Cuban music tree. In the 19th century a group of itinerant musicians known as trovadores moved around Oriente, especially Santiago de Cuba, earning their living by singing and playing the guitar.

Trova musicians have played an important part in the evolution of Cuban music. Collectively, they have been prolific as composers, and have provided a start for many later musicians whose career lay in larger groupings. Socially, they reached every community in the country, and have helped to spread Cuban music throughout the world.

From Amazon Music entry on Maria Teresa Vera
Born in 1895 in Rio de Pinar, Maria Teresa Vera grew up in a Cuba rich in songs born of beauty and conflict. That she became a professional singer was at first an effrontery to the male-dominated music business at the time; that she became a sensation is a tribute to a talent that is now legendary in her country. In the years that she sang and wrote songs, she became famous, made a wealth of recordings, led her own band, and championed the country music of the street troubadour in the years before the son swept the nation.

“The Grande Dame of Cuban Music, Maria Teresa Vera was Not Only the Greatest Female Trova Singer of all Time, She was also One of the Form’s Greatest Singers, Period. Vera Became a Professional Musician and Songwriter — and a Mightily Popular One at that — During the Early 20th Century, When Such a Career was Virtually Unheard of for a Woman. Her Skill at Singing Trova — a Rural Folk Song Style that Predated the Son Dance Craze — Helped Lay the Groundwork for the Explosion of Cuban Popular Music in the ’30s and ’40s, and her Fame as a Trovadora Lasted Well after the Style was Eclipsed by Other Popular Trends. Maria Teresa Vera was Born in Guanajay, in the Province of Pinar Del Rio, on February 6, 1895. She Began Learning the Guitar from Jose Diaz, and in 1911, at Age 15, Performed Publicly in Havana at a Tribute to Arquimedes Pous. Vera Subsequently Formed the First of Several Duos, a Format She Would Favor Throughout her Career, with Rafael Zequeira”.

Example #1 Maria Teresa Vera – Veinte años video on YouTube

Veinte Años

Qué te importa que te ame
si tú no me quieres ya
El amor que ya ha pasado
no se debe recordar.

Fui la ilusión de tu vida
un día lejano ya,
hoy represento el pasado
no me puedo conformar.

Si las cosas que uno quiere
se pudieran alcanzar
tú me quisieras lo mismo
que veinte años atrás.

Con qué tristeza miramos
un amor que se nos va
es un pedazo del alma
que se arranca sin piedad.

English translation (thanks to YouTube video commenter clare oleary)

Twenty Years

What does my love mean to you,
if you no longer love me?
We should not dwell on love that is past.
I was your life’s desire one day long ago.
Now I’m history I can’t face the change.
If only we could make our dreams come true .
If only you would love me as you did twenty years ago.
How mournfully we watch a love that ebbs away heartlessly a part of the soul is torn away.


Aunque tu
me has dejado en el abandono
aunque ya
se han muerto todas mis ilusiones.

En vez de despedirme
con Justo encono
en mis sueños te colmo
en mis sueños te colmo
de bendiciones.

Sufro la inmensa pena de tu extravio
lloro el dolor profundo
de tu partida
y lloro sin que sepas
que el llanto mio
tiene lagrimas negras
tiene lagrimas negras
como mi vida.

Tu me quieres dejar
yo no puedo vivir
contigo me voy mi negra
aunque me cueste el morir

Tu me quieres dejar
yo no quiero sufrir
contigo me voy mi santa
aunque me cueste el morir.

 Lagrimas Negras was originally recorded by these guys.

Black Tears © translation of “Lágrimas Negras” by Manuel Garcia Jr.

Although you
have left me desolate with your abandon,
although you
have been death to my every illusion
instead of cursing you now
with justified rancor,
in my dreams I enshrine you,
in my dreams I enshrine you
with benediction.

Immensity of pain I suffer over losing you,
my feelings so profoundly hurt
torn by your parting.
I cry without your knowing
and that lonely crying
weeps out a stream of black tears,
weeps out a stream of black tears
and all my living.

You want leaving me
I can’t suffering be
so with you I go my darling
even it costs me dying.
(3X with 2 short breaks)

Example #3: Maria Teresa Vera – Eso No Es Na on YouTube

The best of Cuban music!
The English translation for this title is “This is nothing”.

Example #4: Maria Teresa Vera – He Perdido Contigo on YouTube

Me quisiste lo sé, yo también te he querido,
Me olvidaste después, pero yo no he podido
A sufrir por tu amor, me condenó el destino
Que le vamos a hacer yo tenía que perder y he perdido contigo /bis
Tantos amores buenos, que con fe me adoraban,
Yo les negué el cariño de inocente quedado
Pero fuiste tan cruel que jugaste conmigo
Que le vamos a hacer yo tenía que perder y he perdido contigo /bis

Tantos amores buenos, que con fe me adoraron
Yo les negué el cariño que inocente quedado
Pero fuiste tan cruel que jugaste conmigo
Que la vamos a hacer yo tenía que perder y he perdido contigo /bis

Here’s the English translation of this song’s Spanish lyrics:

I know you loved me, I loved you too,
then you forgot me, but I haven’t forgotten you,
destiny has condemned me to suffer for your love,
what can I do? I had to lose and I’ve lost to you /bis
so many good loves which adored me faithfully,
and I denied them of my love full of everlasting innocence
but you were so cruel and only played with me
what can I do? I had to lose and I’ve lost to you /bis

so many good loves which adored me faithfully,
and I denied them of my love full of everlasting innocence
but you were so cruel and only played with me
what can I do? I had to lose and I’ve lost to you /bis
Click that same link for the Spanish lyrics.

Example #5: Maria Teresa Vera y Lorenzo Hierrezuelo – Longina on YouTube

Un valioso duo de nuestra cultura cubana y unas vistas inéditas de los carnavales de los años 30’s.
Google Translate gives this English translation for the above comment: “A valuable duo of our Cuban culture and unprecedented views of the carnivals of the 30’s.”

Grow food instead of grass!

So, we bought our first home! Aside from picking all the designs for the interior I was thinking about having a garden out back. Maybe a few herbs and tomatoes, and banana peppers…and, wait. I realized I was totally focusing on edible plants. So I googled ‘urban farming’ to find out the best designs and tips for growing food in the city. I wasn’t prepared for all the cool info I found.

Luke Keegan started with his own small front yard using several raised beds.

First, did you know that people are growing enough food in the yards on their city lots to feed themselves and share with friends? Did you know that your front lawn doesn’t have to be grass? That it could be a beautiful, edible, paradisaic garden?? Well, I didn’t know. So I’m endeavoring to find out. I’d like to grow more of my own food to eat, and then share, trade, or sell the rest. I’m interested in organic gardening and using permaculture to ensure sustainability. What is permaculture, you ask? Well, I asked the same thing. Here is what I found:

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.” Bill Mollison (from the website)

This definition of permaculture expresses a basic concept in permaculture – examining and following nature’s patterns. Permaculture advocates designing your garden based on natural ecosystems. The term permaculture is a contraction of the words “permanent,” “agriculture,” and “culture.” Basically, you design your garden or homestead in the most natural, sustainable way possible.

Front Yard Lawn in Oakland, CA

Not knowing exactly what those sustainable design features were, I did some more digging. I found that several families were on the same path and in the same habitat (urban) as me. So…instead of reinventing the wheel I started reading about how they got started. I wanted to find out their ‘lessons learned’ and figure out how to maximize output and increase the resiliency of my front and backyard garden ideas. I’ve gone from just wanting a few tomatoes to searching for heirloom seeds, thinking about water features so I can have a few ducks (to eat the bugs and fertilize, and lay eggs!), and figuring out how to mimic the southeastern LA terrain on my compacted city dirt/grass lot. I’m also really liking the idea of an herb spiral and hugelkultur.

Herb Spiral











Here is where I started:

Tyrant Farms a couple who started out by having dinner at a friends house where all the food served was grown by the friend. They were amazed at the variety and tastefulness of the spread.

Appalachian Feet – the master gardener “friend” who inspired the Tyrant Farms couple to strike out on their own gardening adventure. Every post in her blog is a green living “how to” that can be applied to your own life. The primary focus is local food and growing in the varied altitudes of the southeastern mountains and foothills. She has a great permaculture library and a quick start guide for city folk with lots of photos. Plus a post about how to “forage” in the city 🙂

Luke Keegan – starting small is a good idea. This guy started with 8 raised beds on his front lawn. They look fabulous!! If you can get past the vulgar word in his page title, the photos and tips don’t contain any others.

Derveas Family – have an urban homestead blog, a website, and videos. They live 15 minutes from downtown LA and grow over 6,000 pounds of veggies per year (enough to feed all 4 of them). They make 20K off the excess, which they sell to local restaurants.

English: Forest garden diagram to replace the ...

Urban Farmers are my Heroes

Luke Keegan started with eight raised beds (6′x4′) with reclaimed redwood from a barn. The Dervaes family started much the same way.

For over a decade, the Dervaes family have proved that growing your own food can be sustainable, practical, successful and beautiful even in an urban area. they harvest 3 tons of organic food annually from their 1/10 acre garden while incorporating many back-to-basics (permaculture) practices, solar energy, and biodiesel in order to reduce their footprint on the earth’s resources.

Read about them here:

Keegan started his very own garden of Eden on his small front lawn in the busy port city of Oakland, California. He has given me the inspiration I’ve been looking for. Keegan posted what he calls Operation “ the Lawn” to the photo sharing network Imgur, sharing the story of how he replaced his drab lawn with a flourishing edible garden!

Read his story here:


If they can do it, I can do it 🙂

The Story of Stuff, or Why I Only Shop Secondhand

I read the following statement certain that I could not be moved to make such a pact:

“Warning: The Story of Stuff Project could cause you to make a pact with your husband to not buy anything new for a whole year, do your shopping on Craigslist and at thrift stores and to cringe when entering Walmart/Target/Fred Myers. Is this a joke? Definitely not. I am here to tell you it happened to me.”

So, I watched the video, because I like learning new things…even if those things aren’t really applicable to me or my lifestyle. I mean, I buy stuff, but not too much. I recycle and have taken strides over the past 12 months to start growing my own food and eating sustainably. So when I watched this it really opened my mind to a larger issue (plus my favorite magazine just had an article entitled “Do we buy too much stuff”:

The Story of Stuff

“Some people say it’s unrealistic, idealistic, that it can’t happen. But I say the ones who are unrealistic are those that want to continue on the old path. That’s dreaming. Remember that old way didn’t just happen by itself. It’s not like gravity that we just gotta live with. People created it. And we’re people too. So let’s create something new.” — The Story of Stuff

Will I make a pact? Maybe (probably!). Will I put the principles of reduce/reuse/recycle into high gear in my life? Absolutely. This is too important (spiritually and physically) to get wrong.

Glam Girl Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Med u saću


1 tsp ground spices (her grinder contained: sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika, and chilli pepper)

1 tblsp apple cider vinegar

1 tblsp water

2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp yogurt

(yields aprx 6 tablespoons of dressing)


Combine all ingredients and shake/stir. After chilling for 30 mins its ready. Pour it onto a mason jar salad 🙂


Pasta and Tennessee

My SweetHusband is having problems digesting meat. He has noticed a big change in stomach pains since he had his gallbladder removed. As much as he is a middle Tennessee ridge-runner-meat-and-potatoes guy, he came up with the idea of cutting out all meat for a month and then slowly adding it back in to see what the culprit really is.

So, we’ve been doing plant-based meals with seafood thrown in here and there and sure enough, he hasn’t had any problems. Except, of course, on “cheat days” when he has steak, or a burger. Ahem.

I wanted to post the bestpastaever that I whipped up last night and this is exactly the right post to do so.

There were no measurements, just adding the ingredients and tasting until it was right. SweetHubby loved it. I figure the more interesting the meals are, the less he’ll even want to have a “cheat day” and suffer the consequences. The saga continues.

Pasta, sundried tomatoes, fresh organic vine-ripened tomatoes, greek EV olive oil, feta cheese, basil, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper. Delish!

Pasta, sundried tomatoes, fresh organic vine-ripened tomatoes, greek EV olive oil, feta cheese, basil, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper. Delish!

Brown Girl Success Against the Odds

The part of her (@adriarichards) article that touched me deeply because I completely identified with it was this:

“I was diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD.  Part of the assessment was an intelligence test.  I had an IQ of 130.  I’m smart enough to join MENSA!  I began to see a psychologist who practiced EMDR, a type of therapy to help people process traumatic experiences.  This made a huge difference in my life.  I began to take long strides vs timid steps on my path to healing.

Because of my experiences growing up, I have triggers.  This means that I’m always scanning for danger; for situations that seem like something from the past that could hurt me.  When I recognize something that matches, I can overreact and feel intense fear, anger or anxiety.  This is something I’ve worked on a lot.  It’s much better now than 10 years ago but there are some things that send me over the edge.

Like the other day when someone asked me if I had a baby photo.  The answer is no — I don’t have any photos of myself before the age of 11…and it hurts.  So I started crying.  They hadn’t hurt me or threatened me but the overwhelming feeling of my childhood overcame me.  Mourning for the child version of me who never had the chance to enjoy being a child.”

Our diagnoses are the same, for similar reasons. Our (genes, and) escape into books at an early age (IMO) also gifted us with high IQs. EMDR made a difference to us both. Triggers, yep, still. Overwhelming feelings at the oddest times, exactly. I’ve had success with treatment, but when I become lax I can relapse into a very manic/anxious/depressed state. The key is maintenance.

The point is that there IS hope. Read her full article and suggestions here:

 Little brown girl with mandolin, sitting ...