New Orleans House Project

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Pyramids on the Crescent

 I spent some of this week's stitching time trying to finish a long-term project.  

Back in 2013, I purchased some New Orleans-inspired reproduction fabrics.  The line was called "New Orleans 1850" and was designed by Jean Ann Wright for Newcastle Fabrics.  I loved the fabrics, but wasn't sure how I would use them in a quilt.

Fortunately, the staff at the Quilted Owl (local quilt store, now closed) came up with a plan using the 1850s fabric and a quilt pattern from Traditional Fat Quarter Quilts by Monique Dillard.  They kitted up the necessary yardage for the Pyramid quilt and I succumbed.

Eight years later, I finally got around to making the quilt.

I really love the look of these blocks, but they were aggravating to make.  The pattern instructions called for using the flip and sew technique to make the Flying Geese blocks.  That's my least favorite method of FG construction, but I was afraid to switch to the no-waste method for fear I'd run short of fabric.  It seemed like it took forever to make all the FGs (160) and trim and press them into submission!

The pattern made good use of the gorgeous border stripe fabric.  As I was cutting the borders, I noticed a fun typo on the selvedge.

I cut and attached the borders last night, so I now have a New Orleans 1850 Pyramid quilt.  I'm not sure if that's what I'll name the quilt, but it got me thinking about pyramids in New Orleans.

I knew there was one relatively famous (infamous?) pyramid in our fair city, but a little research turned up a couple more.

New Orleans has a long tradition of above-ground burials.  Two general theories are given for this practice: our swampy, flood-prone land is unsuitable for in-ground burials, and/or ancestral residents were just following the customs popular in their home countries (France and Spain).  Whatever the reason, New Orleans cemeteries contain all sorts of unique tombs.

The oldest pyramid tomb is located in St. Louis Cemetery #1.  It was constructed in 1814 for two children.  
The tomb has been renovated, but still looks essentially the same.

In 1892, Lucien Napoleon Brunswig had this tomb built for his namesake son who died at the age of ten.  His wife was buried here about a year later.  The elder Brunswig was not interred until his death in 1943.  The tomb is located in Metairie Cemetery, which is just on the outskirts of New Orleans.

And that brings us to the most famous pyramid, a tomb built in 2010 by actor Nicolas Cage, also in St. Louis Cemetery #1.   Mr. Cage has a colorful history with the city (he once owned an infamous "haunted" house in the French Quarter) and presumably plans to enjoy New Orleans eternally.

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