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House Styles in New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley

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Wrought Iron Balconies
Wrought Iron Balconies in New Orleans

Wrought Iron Balconies in New Orleans

Photo by Fiona Smallcorn
Although we use the term "French Creole" to describe buildings in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the fancy ironwork is not actually French at all. Many cultures since ancient times have used the strong, decorative material.

The wrought iron balconies of New Orleans are a Victorian elaboration on a Spanish idea. Creole blacksmiths, who were often free black men, refined the art, creating elaborate wrought iron pillars and balconies. These strong and beautiful details replaced the wooden pillars used on older Creole buildings.

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