St. Elizabeth’s Home of Industry was founded by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1855 to teach vocational skills to orphaned girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. First occupying a Henry Howard–designed building at Magazine and Josephine streets, the home was relocated here in 1871. The building had formerly housed St. Joseph’s Academy and at that time consisted of just the three-story central section, constructed by builder Thomas Mulligan. The brick building is shaded by a two-story gallery supported on cast-iron Corinthian columns. In 1883, a wing was added to the Prytania Street side of the building. Designed by Diettel and built by Albert Thiesen, it had a two-story-high chapel with stained glass windows on the upper floor. The wing has rusticated brickwork at ground level and on its quoined corners and is covered by a mansard roof. The following year, an identical wing was built on the Perrier Street side. In 1888, the earlier central section was given a mansard roof, an addition that gave the complex the unified appearance it has today. Although by that time mansards were no longer the height of fashion, the addition here may have been influenced by the popular mansard-roofed main building at the Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 in Audubon Park (OR179). St. Elizabeth’s was funded in part by Dr. William Newton Mercer, in memory of his daughter Elizabeth; his other daughter, Anna, was commemorated at St. Anna’s Orphan Asylum (OR132). In 1993, after standing empty for several years, St. Elizabeth’s was purchased by novelist Anne Rice, who renovated it to use for charitable events and parties; she sold it in 2002 and the building was converted into apartments, as was the chapel. A row of contemporary town houses was constructed as a part of the project.
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St. Elizabeth’s Apartments (St. Elizabeth’s Home of Industry)
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