Monday, July 30, 2012

1521 Mandeville - Sheriff's Sale

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   This shotgun single at 1521 Mandeville, built in 1871, goes to Sheriff's Sale on September 13.  With the future of the home in the balance, we wanted to highlight its history.

For our purposes, the history of the home begins in 1859, when Mistress Marie Eleanor Renovi and her husband, John Francis Fernandez, purchased two vacant lots of ground in the square bounded by Mandeville, Spain, St. Avide (now N. Claiborne), and St. John the Baptist (now N. Robertson) from the succession of John's father, Joseph.  The lots had been in the Fernandez family for decades, unimproved by successive generations but always contributing to the family's wealth.  The Plan of 2 Lots of Ground in the 3rd District, left, hung on the wall of Norbert Vignie's auction house in advance of the auction to advertise the properties for sale.  [d'Hemecourt, J.A. Plan Book 65, Folio 15 (065.015), October 3, 1859]  

On January 11, 1871, Michael Kastner purchased one of those vacant lots from the Fernandez's for $200.  Kastner promptly improved the parcel, causing his tax assessment to jump from $200 in 1871 to $2000 in 1873.  We can be certain that the hike in the tax assessment corresponds to the addition of a building to the lot.  Although the structure appears in the Surveyor's Plan Book, 1874-81, the first detailed description of the house does not appear until 1878, when Kastner's estate went to auction following his death.  The 1878 act confirmed the purchase of three adjoining lots on Mandeville St. by Catherine Gaus, Kastner's sister, for $2225.  Gaus paid $725 for "a frame house, slate-roofed...having three rooms, sheds, cistern, privy, etc," the same house that stands there today.  Gaus' winning bid, quite low relative to the tax assessment, shows that real estate auctions in the 1870s closely resembled those like the Sheriff's Sale today, where valuable properties could go for pennies on the dollar.
Note the "old" address numbers in the description.  New Orleans converted to the present system in the 1890s to establish uniformity across the various old ward and district boundaries.
Charbonnet, F.D. v. 102, Act 435, June 2, 1920.
The house stayed in the Kastner family until 1912, when Eugene Bordes, a butcher at the St. Roch Market, paid $1300 for the buildings and improvements on lot 19.  When Bordes sold in 1920, the Deputy City Surveyor, C. Uncas Lewis, made a plan of the property showing the same structure cited in the 1878 sale.  Lewis labeled the structure, "No. 1521, single one story." 

Although the house changed hands several times throughout the 20th-century, the physical structure itself changed very little.  The slate roof mentioned in the 1878 sale may be gone but the same walls that Michael Kastner raised in 1871 have stood the test of time.


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