What is the history of the building at North Peters Street and Elysian Fields Avenue?
In the early 1800s, it was the site of the Marigny Plantation. Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville was a French Creole nobleman (and president of the Louisiana Senate for a year), who was considered a leader of the Creole population. When he inherited his family's land, he subdivided it and sold the parcels, creating the Faubourg Marigny, which then was mostly Creole. Today, the neighborhood boundaries are the Mississippi River, Esplanade Avenue, Press Street and St. Claude Avenue.
The massive steel and brick structure at North Peters Street and Elysian Fields Avenue was built in 1895 and once housed the Claiborne Steam-Electric Generating Plant and Substation, which supplied power to streetcars, businesses and residents downtown. The station, which used coal for fuel and piped in water from the river, operated until 1922.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were more than 200 different gas, electric and streetcar companies in New Orleans, which resulted in inefficiency, waste and financial problems for the companies. In April 1922, the City Commission (now the City Council) passed an ordinance to create a single entity for power service. New Orleans Public Service Inc. (NOPSI) was founded, and the city's entire generating capacity came from the Market Street Power Plant, approximately two and a half miles upriver from the Claiborne Station.
The original smokestacks of the Claiborne Station no longer exist, and today Entergy Corporation (successor to NOPSI) owns and operates an electric power substation at the site, supplying electricity to about 5,500 customers in the French Quarter.