If you’re interested in checking out the diversity of New Orleans‘ historical architecture, you can check out an Instagram account that showcases the best of the Crescent City’s old gems. While originally from Washington DC, its creator, Jennifer Graves Hance, moved to New Orleans in 2003 after she went to college there and fell in love with the city.
“I have always loved history and architecture and I’ve been dabbling in photography for 20 years,” she tells Lonely Planet. “I started the account because I wasn’t seeing all the things that I love about the city being represented online. I was also seeing developers coming in tearing out historic windows, gutting original interiors or just knocking houses down.”
Jennifer wanted to bring attention to the all the beautiful, original details that make these old houses special, in the hopes that people will think twice before removing them. “Someone may not think it’s a big deal to replace an original wood window until they see an old house with a vinyl window, and then they realise how beautiful the house was before,” she says. “Once that piece of history is gone, you cannot really replace it.”
Jennifer says that New Orleans is an architecture lover’s paradise, and she tries to include a little of everything on her page, including homes from the 1800s, Art Deco or mid-century dwellings. “Whatever has a personality,” she explains. “I love to share close-ups and interiors since they are not as easy to find, and I try to hit all of New Orleans’ neighbourhoods. People around the world are already familiar with the French Quarter and the mansions of the Garden District, so I like to show the variety of homes and neighbourhoods that the city has to offer.”
Jennifer believes that one advantage the city has is that it is so easy to walk around and navigate. “We have great resources too for visitors such as the Preservation Resource Center and the Historic New Orleans Collection, in addition to architecture and history tours in many neighbourhoods,” she says. “I’ve been here for 15 years and I discover new things to look at every day. History is everywhere. I love thinking about how and why a particular building was built. How did they decide on that location, or that particular style or the materials that they used? Was the person who lived there a craftsman, a cook, an immigrant or a musician? All of these people and buildings are representative of the history of our city.”
You can follow The Preservationist on Instagram here, and Jennifer has one final piece of advice. “Architecture aside, New Orleans is just a magical place filled with great food and music,” she says. “It really should be experienced by all.”