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New Online Resource Improves Access to French Quarter History

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:

Vicki Voelker
Communication Strategist
Gambel Communications
(504) 324-4242 | vicki@gambelpr.com

Anne Robichaux
Marketing Associate
The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 598-7137 | anner@hnoc.org

New Online Resource Improves Access to French Quarter History
The Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey is an electronic version of the Vieux Carré Survey

February 2012 | New Orleans, LA-The Historic New Orleans Collection has released the Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey, providing improved access to information on all French Quarter properties.

Available at www.hnoc.org/vcs/, the new online tool is an electronic version of the Vieux Carré Survey, which has information on every block of the French Quarter-including maps, major site plans, old drawings, engravings, sketches, paintings, newspaper clippings, property records, photographs and more. The survey was created to bolster local historic preservation efforts by offering an extensive study of the properties within the French Quarter and to provide essential historical, architectural, legal and sociological data on individual lots and structures from the French colonial period to the present.

"The Vieux Carré Survey provides researchers with important information regarding French Quarter properties," said Eric Seiferth, reference assistant at The Collection's Williams Research Center. "Through digitization, the survey will be more accessible and informative, increasing its reach and value for historic research on an exponential level. Having the chain of title for each property in the French Quarter available online will be invaluable to researchers of all kinds, from serious scholars to curious property owners"

Prior to digitization, the data was kept in a series of nonindexed binders organized by municipal address, making much of the information difficult for users to access or analyze.

Made possible in part through financial support of the Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation, the new digital version of the survey will enable users to access the information remotely. Users will also have the option to search by address as well as by keywords, owners' names, architectural ratings and even whether the owner was a free person of color.

The Historic New Orleans Collection has been working on digitizing the survey since 2000, including working with photographer John Watson Riley to update visual records of all addresses in 2010.

The original hard copies of the Vieux Carré Survey will continue to be available at The Historic New Orleans Collection's Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street. The Williams Research Center is free and open to the public Tuesday­-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. More information on this and other resources at The Collection is available online at http://www.hnoc.org/, by calling (504) 523-4662 or by emailing wrc@hnoc.org.

 

History of the Vieux Carré Survey

In 1960. The Louisiana Landmarks Society and the Vieux Carré Commission jointly sought a grant to undertake a study of the French Quarter, and in 1961 work began on what would become the Vieux Carré Survey.

The initial work officially ceased on June 1, 1966, but only 88 of 120 city squares had been researched. The survey was microfilmed, and copies of that microfilm were placed with the Library of Congress, Tulane University's Howard Tilton Memorial Library, the Schlieder Educational Foundation and the Vieux Carré Commission, which later turned its copy over to the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library.

The survey remained in the French Quarter in the collection of General L. Kemper Williams and later became part of the holdings of The Historic New Orleans Collection in 1966.

The Historic New Orleans Collection continued to supplement the survey, and in 1977 funding was received from architect Collins C. Diboll to complete the project. By the end of 1980, all lots had been fully researched and updated.

In 2000 The Collection conducted an extensive analysis of the Vieux Carré Survey and designed a database to accommodate the information with the goal of digitizing the survey. The Collins C. Diboll Foundation donated money to convert the survey into an electronic format, digitize its images and create a searchable, web-based interface for the data and images. In 2010 photographer John Watson Riley worked systematically through the French Quarter, updating the visual record of the properties. The Collection continues to maintain the survey and has staff currently working to update chains of title.

The hard copy materials cited in the Vieux Carré Survey are housed in a number of different repositories in the United States and abroad, including The Historic New Orleans Collection.

About The Collection

Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, The Collection offers guided tours, free rotating exhibitions, a research facility and a museum shop. For more information, visit http://www.hnoc.org/ or call (504) 523-4662.

The Historic New Orleans Collection - Preserving our Past for a Brighter Future.

 

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