Books, haunted corridor and corsets- all in one block

800 Chartres-

As you walk through the carnival that is Jackson Square (going away from Canal Street) you almost immediately enter a hushed and cool block. The side of Pontalba Apartments is interesting, and some of the balconies are lovely and actually used by real people.

Check out the beautiful downspouts at 830 Chartres; copper with the covered iron work at the person level with its open mouth at the street. Incredible.

This block of Chartres that is split by lovely little Madison Street is one of my favorites. Partly because I lived on Madison back in the wild 80s and sat on my balcony nursing any number of hangovers while looking at Chartres. Possibly also because one of my favorite bookstores is there- Librairie is one of the older used bookstores still in existence (my memory is that it opened in 84 or so) , and I think I found my prized copy of Anita Loos’ Cast of Thousands and all of my Cornelia Otis Skinner books there. Part of a weird collection I had.
It’s the neatest (meaning things are shelved) of all of them and I believe is run by Beckham’s Books owner, the other great bookstore in the Quarter that goes back a long ways. That one (Beckham’s) is the best on a rainy Saturday.
I also like the mix of facades and the little shops like Trashy Diva. Perfect for the Quarter. Both Divas and Spicy and Dark, and Ragin Daisy’s second place that is opening soon in that block (I still miss that Chinese laundry) and a couple of others lovely clothing stores that I of course don’t shop at, but are pretty cool to have all there in a row. Think of it as Girlie Way.

The corner of Dumaine and Chartres has the oldest set of intact row houses and was the site of the Conde Market in 1782. The wooden toy shop needs their display windows cleaned but is a very cool place to take kids or bored husbands by the looks of it.

The haunted part of the title comes from Muriel’s Restaurant’s corridor and second floor. Supposed to be haunted.
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About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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