THE ICON: Barthelemy Lafon
THE LEGACY: As legend holds, Barthelemy Lafon was a smuggler and pirate in league with Jean Lafitte. It’s testament to his legacy in that such a sexy detail is but a footnote to the rest of his story. Arriving in from France shortly after 1788’s Good Friday fire leveled two-thirds of New Orleans, he soon would be recognized as one of the city’s most respected architects and surveyors. In addition to putting his stamp on the city’s oldest neighborhood, he designed today’s Lower Garden District as well as parts of Faubourg St. Mary and Bywater. Today, his work can still be found on the map of the city, from Lee Circle (formerly Tivoli Circle) to St. Charles Avenue (he called it Nyades) to the Lower Garden District and the streets he memorably named after muses: Euterpe, Terpischore, Melpomene, Thalia, Erato, Clio and Calliope.
THE ARTIST: Jessica Strahan, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I have duly received your favor of July 15th and with it the Almanac of Orleans which you were so kind as to send me, and for which I present you my thanks. We have on this side of our country no Almanac so scientific.” — President Thomas Jefferson, writing to Barthelemy Lafon from Monticello on Aug. 28, 1808