Originally constructed as housing for widows and orphans of the yellow fever epidemics, The Saint Anna is a composition of several structures built and added on to over time. Built and run by women, the original masonry and plaster building went up in 1853 in the Greek Revival style, and was expanded in subsequent years to include an infirmary; renovations of the interior spaces took place throughout its history.
This project earned us the 2016 Louisiana Landmarks Society Award of Excellence for Historic Preservation Award, the 2015 Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Excellence in Construction Award for Historical Restoration/Renovation Less than $25 Million (awarded to Palmisano Contractors), and the 2016 Louisiana Landmarks Society Award of Excellence for Historic Preservation
The Saint Anna complex is composed of an original masonry and plaster building constructed by builders Robert Little and Peter Middlemiss in 1853 - the period of significance used for the restoration of defining architectural elements. An infirmary was added in 1960. First built by women as the St. Anna’s Asylum for the Relief of Destitute Females and Their Helpless Children of All Religious Denominations, the structure was designed as housing for widows and orphans following a yellow fever epidemic. The asylum rescued many destitutes over the decades until its conversion into senior living in 2007.
The original asylum is a fine example of the extensive talents that builders during the nineteenth century displayed by consulting pattern books; in this case, probably one of seven of Asher Benjamin’s builder’s guides. There was no architect found on record for the asylum. The name "Anna" came from one of their benefactors, a Dr. Mercer, in memory of his late daughter.
Classic elements abound on the structure; triglyphs, gutta, dentils, and crenellation on and above the frieze, two story columns, and a fanlight. Building techniques include fine examples of exterior plaster scoring and penciling which were sensitively restored by hand. Extensive damage by water infiltration required portions of the front façade to be rebuilt with (in-kind) brick and mortar. Significant elements were preserved whenever possible.
The rehabilitation adapts the buildings into twenty-three modern multi-family residential units while maintaining the important historic elements of the interior, exterior, and site. The building has served as a landmark for New Orleanians for generations.
The original masonry and plaster building went up in 1853 in the Greek Revival style, and was expanded in subsequent years to include an infirmary; renovations of the interior spaces took place throughout its history.
Detail of the historical plaque mounted on the iron fencing surrounding the structure.
A new ADA-compliant entryway was created at the rear of the structure to bring residents into the building from the dedicated parking lot.
This rehabilitation project adapts the three-story building to 23 modern multi-family residential units while maintaining the important historic elements of the interior, exterior, and overall site, in order to satisfy requirements for state and federal historic tax credits.
Detail of the rehabilitated main staircase.
Interior detail of a multi-family unit foyer leading into the dining area. Notice the original masonry wall to the right. The original opening was sealed and repurposed to highlight the original architecture of the structure.
Interior detail of a multi-family unit dining area looking onto the living area. The dining and adjoining foyer areas were repurposed from a gallery passageway in the structure's previous life as a home for women and children.
Interior detail of a multi-family unit kitchen adjoining the living area. The kitchen units are minimalist designs that compliment the historic features of the structure. Quartz countertops, new cabinetry, and modern appliances complete the look.
Interior detail of a multi-family unit looking out onto the spacious courtyard. Here, you can see the interior of the repurposed passageway, the preserved gallery on the opposite sides of the courtyard, and a split-level staircase.