Title page for ETD etd-01252005-064635

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McNab, Cecilia L.
Author's Email Address cmcnab@lsu.edu
URN etd-01252005-064635
Title Palimpsest Encounters: A Baseline Study of Federal, Antebellum, and Postbellum New Orleans Gardens Using the Notarial Archives Drawings
Degree Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
Department Landscape Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce G. Sharky Committee Chair
Max Z. Conrad Committee Member
Miles E. Richardson Committee Member
  • historical garden layers
  • historiacal series method
  • garden history
  • image research
  • archival research
  • southern garden history
Date of Defense 2004-11-11
Availability unrestricted
The focus of this thesis is to establish a basis for a typology of New Orleans gardens from 19th Century Notarial drawings. Previous inquires of the New Orleans Notarial Archives drawings emphasized elite gardens of the Vieux Carré and Garden District. This baseline study investigates both vernacular and elite gardens of 159 drawings in the three oldest of the city Municipal Districts during the period 1810-1880, and identifies 19 garden templates. It sets the drawings in their social, political, and historical context to inform a critical understanding of the garden types.

The inquiry examines 47 spatial and design variables, using the New Orleans Notarial Archive drawings, photographs, maps, and personal accounts as primary source materials. Quantitative data analysis methods, qualitative image analysis, site observation, and interviews with experts are used.

Three products were derived from this study: Property Location Map, Property Variable Data Base, and Lexicon of the three Municipal District gardens. The study findings reveal that while individual properties sometimes vary within a particular garden template type variants are not geographically (and perhaps not culturally) dependant. The garden typology determinants are: space dependence, gardener program, environmental and cultural conditions, vegetation availability, resources, and consensus gardenways. All results are consistent with previous research conclusions. The 19 garden templates identified may be applied in period garden rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction.

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