Grabbing some wifi at CC’s on St. Philip just now, I ran into the chef from Cafe Amelie, Jerry Mixon who was picking up some caffeine to start his and Danny’s day at the restaurant. This restaurant is a jewel in the middle of the French Quarter and the history of the Princess of Monaco courtyard (that it sits in) is fascinating. This was Prince Albert’s wife (the one from the 1880s, not the son of Grace Kelly). The Princess of Monaco was born as Alice Heine at 910 Royal; her family was instrumental in the cast iron balcony business. Cast iron was fashionable throughout the US in the 1840s and 1850s, but in New Orleans has remained so. Richard Campanella (social scientist, author of New Orleans Then and Now, Bienville’s Dilemma among others) has done research on cast iron work and theorizes that there was a bit of “Keeping up with the Jones” attitude in why you see more elaborate iron work, the closer you get to Jackson Square/wealthier homes.
Heinrich Heine, the well known, highly respected German-Jewish romantic poet & philosopher, was her great uncle. Like Baroness Pontalba, she did not enjoy married life and left the restrictive royal family life she married into and moved to Paris where she entertained artists and such at her salon in Paris. Her family tried to get part of her 6,000,000 dowry back from the Grimaldis but were unable. easy come easy go, I guess. Or maybe freedom is really just a word for nothin’ left to lose.
The hexagon tower seen from the front was commissioned by renowned architect Henry Howard. The courtyard is fabulous for sitting and eating Jerry’s wonderful gumbo with a cocktail in the evenings.