Today I received an email from XXNO that a striking house on Canal Boulevard was about to be demolished. Since I live about half a mile away, I have enjoyed the sweeping curves of the building since I was a girl. Amidst brick ranches and post-Katrina modulars, this building truly stands out as a marriage of form and function. And even though it has been vacant since the flood, I take note of it several times a week.
According to XXNO:
This Art Moderne-style house first appears in the New Orleans city directory of 1940 (Polk 1940). It was the home of Emile P. Hymel, vice president of the Commonwealth Homestead Association, a building and loan company. It was a â€˜house of the futureâ€™ designed by architect August Perez, Jr. in 1930. The house was likely a model home of sorts as development began to extend up Canal Boulevard to Lake Ponchartrain in the late 1930s. It was also likely designed by Perez, although its construction date was about 1940 rather than 1930.
The property’s owners have been trying to sell since Katrina, but without any takers they decided to demolish the house and replace it with a new one. The bulldozer arrived and took down the fence.
Demolition was about an hour away when a buyer called the Realtor and had her call off the dogs. We arrived soon afterward with our video camera, and you can see the joy in the new owner’s face as she talks about her love for the house itself and her excitement in being able to save it.