The Blue Plate Fine Foods building was August Perez Jr.’s first major commission in New Orleans and one of the city’s earliest modernist buildings. Blue Plate was named after Blue Willow chinaware, renowned for its quality, because the company liked the upscale image it conveyed, and a sign by the entrance door reproduces the Blue Willow pattern. The manufacturing process for the company’s products, including mayonnaise and other sauces, determined the layout of the plant’s three floors. Walls of poured concrete are reinforced with rail ties, a substitution due to a war-related scarcity of materials when the building was being constructed. The smooth white stucco-covered exterior, streamlined rounded corners, and horizontal bands of glass-block windows have a hygienic and wholesome look. An enormous blue neon sign on the roof, identifying the factory, has been amended to indicate that the building now houses artists’ lofts, with the wording of the sign beside the entrance now slightly altered to reflect the building’s current use. The rear of the building was near the tracks to facilitate loading the company’s products. The front was set back seventy-five feet from the street to allow for a lawn and landscaping—an early instance of preserving open space on an industrial building site. In 2012 the factory was converted into apartments.
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Blue Plate Artists Lofts (Blue Plate Fine Foods)
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