365 New Orleans: Once Upon a Home

 

365 New Orleans is focused on local artists and businesses. Every single day, for one year, a new person or place will be highlighted. Follow along on Instagram: @365NewOrleans 

 

Pearce Grieshaber, creator of Once Upon A Home, is born and raised in New Orleans. He tells the story of how this whole came to be:

 

In February of 2006, the hum of generators and the sounds of hammering were commonplace in New Orleans. My childhood home in the Garden District was one of the lucky ones; Katrina and Rita had blown away only a few shingles which led to some roof repair and several mold abatement projects within the home. However, a discovery that one of the construction workers made seemed intriguing: a brittle piece of old newspaper dated from 1885 tucked behind lath board and plaster.

I wondered who else spent time and energy working on that house over the years, who owned it and who lived there. The questions kept coming. I was always fascinated with history and architecture, was even a licensed tour guide, but this was different. This was home. 

I set out to discover the history of 1120 6th Street, the architecture, the materials, the people. I spent my free time at university libraries and City Hall, I conducted oral interviews with neighbors, and spent late nights scouring online archives and databases. I learned about Colonel James Butterfield Sinnott who lived across the street and built the house for his daughters, Molly and Eleanor. I found old maps showing a new neighborhood made of dirt roads and lightly sprinkled with only a few structures. I began to see my childhood home in a new, historical perspective. I was hooked.

 

I learned about the previous owners and tenants along with the architecture and renovations the house had seen over the years. There was fire and death as well as love and growth. I realized that my family and I were adding to the legacy that preceded us. I came to understand that in the grand scheme of things we were merely stewards of the house, and ultimately we would become the steward of it’s legacy.

All of these stories and bits of information came together like a jigsaw puzzle in the form of a book titled 1120 6th Street. I wove the research together, published it, and presented it to my family as a gift. It was a celebration of the house, her guests, and her 125-year history.

When construction workers crumpled the piece of newspaper and sealed it into the wall in 1885, it was an afterthought; when it was discovered again 125 years later, it was both a relic and a spark. 1120 6th Street led to other research projects and books. What started as a love for history and New Orleans architecture has become a business venture. Currently, residential and commercial property owners commission Once Upon A Home to tell the stories and compile the history of their estates and businesses.

 

 

 

1. What products and services do you offer? 

Our clients commission us to research, write, and present the stories of their commercial and residential properties in New Orleans. We tell the story of the land, it’s structure(s), the people who owned it, and the people that live(d) there. These stories can be told in just about any format; books and posters are most popular. Our books include citations to insure that every part of the story is properly researched and factual.

We pride ourselves on creating the highest quality product for the budgets we are given. What we create is far more than just a book or a poster. It is countless hours spent in archive facilities, libraries, and city records. We sift through census records, newspaper articles, magazine articles, countless books, theses written decades ago, old maps, and new maps. We track down old owners and conduct oral interviews with those associated with your home before you were.

We then sort through all of this information to create charts, graphs, and diagrams to explain how and why your house came to be. We then construct a narrative weaving together all of our findings from beginning to end. Our copy editor sifts through all of the text to assure a fluid read throughout. All of our information is meticulously sorted, and laid out to create a smooth and clean read from cover to cover with beautiful images supported by rich text.

Every project is different and every budget is different. We can tailor our research to one specific area, or we can create a more comprehensive project focusing on the entirety of a building’s history. We will consult with you to decide what works best for you based on your budget, who will be viewing the work, and what you desire the scope of your project to be. See our Pricing section to see comparisons between several projects varying in depth and scope.

 

2. How long have you been in business? 

2010

 

3. How do people find you online? 

onceuponahome.org

 

4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew? 

Since the majority of our work is making the books for people, they aren’t aware that we offer the posters as well. The posters won’t have much information and businesses tend to commission us for the items. But, we could easily do that for a house as well.

 

5. Lagniappe Info. 

People always to want to know if their house is haunted. While we can’t answer that (because how we would know if it’s haunted?), we can tell you the likelihood of someone having died in your house is pretty high.

If you only want the poster done, it takes about a month or so. If you choose the book route, it could take 6 months or a little longer, depending on the house. Some houses just have more history than others.

This is high end product and it’s not just slapped together. We use graphic designers and we do a lot of research on your property.

The last chapter of the house books are always about the family that now currently lives in the house.

 

Head to the Once Upon A Home website for more info and pricing! 

 

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