AMIACT building

Building rendering by Tulane City Center, Irene Keil, project lead 2010  
Proposed rendering of the Allison Montana Institute of Art, Culture, and Tradition

   Parcels of land that will become the site for the site for the A.M.I.A.C.T. project were originally purchased and developed by ETIENNE CORDEVIOLLE, “a very flashy looking elegant fellow”, born Antonio Estevan Cordeviola, a wealthy free man of color who together with his partner Francois Lacroix, had a thriving textile business and many land holdings in New Orleans. Lacroix and Cordeviolle owned one of the most fashionable clothing stores in the city around 1840.

  The city directory of 1842 lists Etienne Cordeviolle as residing at an address located on one of the lots he owned.

Lacroix and Cordeviolle stationary 
billhead produced by a printing house in Paris
  Etienne Cordeviolle was born Antonio Estevan Cordeviola on March 15, 1806 in New Orleans to Estevan Cordeviola, an Italian immigrant from Genoa, and Maria del Rosario, a native of Guinea.

  Cordeviolle operated a dry good store for several years before he became a notable builder and real estate speculator as well as a tailor in nineteenth century New Orleans. Together with his partner, the distinguished and wealthy Creole Francois Lacroix he oversaw a very successful clothing and textile business established in 1817 in New Orleans. As described in the book “Exiles at home”, by Shirley E. Thompson, they literally created the identity of the well-dressed Creole gentleman. An 1853 advertisement for Lacroix’s tailoring business boasted the best and most extensive assortment of clothing of every description, made in Paris. An 1874 newspaper reminisced about Lacroix’s artistry: his coats passed muster before the severest tribunals of Europe; his trousers made the dandies of Rotten Row or the Champs-Elysèes grown with envy “.

  The partnership ended by 1849; Cordeviolle retired from business in New Orleans and migrated to Paris, where he created fashions for Paris houses and drew a healthy income from his clothing designs, still continuing a business relationship with his former partner across two continents. Cordeviolle died in Paris on September 19, 1868.

  Lacroix and Cordeviolle were also wealthy real-estate developers speculating on the growing economy of New Orleans and its environs. They bought, sold, and collected large sums in rent on large parcels of property throughout the 1830’s and 1840’s, before they dissolved their partnership in 1848. “Their real estate portfolio included vast stretches of former plantation property that had recently been incorporated into the city proper. For example, within the span of one week in 1837 Lacroix and Cordeviolle acquired seventy-three lots that had just been carved out of the old Blanc Habitation in the area between Tremé and the lake.” (S.E. Thompson: Exiles at Home).

© Curtis Pierre 2015