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Home History

If walls could talk, would you want to know what your house has to say? With a few historical detective skills under your belt, you can learn how to trace the history of your New Orleans home, possibly even back to the days of the city’s first settlers.

Join Robert J. Cangelosi Jr., an Adjunct Lecturer at the Tulane University School of Architecture, as he presents an in-depth program on historic home research entitled “Researching your New Orleans Property.” The seminar, hosted by Friends of the Cabildo, will be held on Sat., June 21 at the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., at 10 a.m.

Cangelosi, president of Koch and Wilson Architects, will discuss how to develop the history of a property and will focus on teaching homeowners to use primary sources to determine a house’s history, rather than relying on often-incorrect oral traditions and secondary sources.

Cangelosi will also discuss how homeowners can act as historical detectives by preparing a “chain of title,” which documents the ownership of a property and is the essential first step in developing a history. Cangelosi explains that the “chain of title” relates to the property, not the improvements, and rarely will the chain alone indicate when improvements were made.

Figuring out when building improvements were done on a home involves research into various records, including building permits, the census, water records, tax records, city directories, contracts, newspapers and other public records. “Researching your New Orleans Property” explains how these records can be used and where to find them. The seminar also includes a brief section on the architectural styles found in New Orleans.

Friends of the Cabildo is a private nonprofit volunteer group that provides financial and volunteer support for the Louisiana State Museum, its projects and its property. Since incorporating in 1956, the Friends of the Cabildo has grown into a large statewide membership organization, a dynamic and motivating force in broadening and supporting the aims of the Louisiana State Museum.

Space for the seminar is limited. Get tickets from the Friends of the Cabildo office at 523-3939. Admission is $30, or $20 for FOC/LMF/PRC Members. For more information, contact Jason Strada at 523-3939 or jason@friendsofthecabildo.org. All proceeds are raised in support of the Louisiana State Museum and its exhibits and programs.

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