Tucked away on the banks of Bayou St. John in the Esplanade Ridge neighborhood, the Pitot House is a Creole colonial plantation home that was built in the 18th century, and it is the only one of its kind in New Orleans that is open to the public. The Pitot House is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now owned by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, whose members painstakingly restored it during the 1960s, the Pitot House takes its name from its most prominent former resident. James Pitot was the first mayor of New Orleans after the city was incorporated following the Louisiana Purchase. Pitot lived in the house from 1810 until 1819.
These days, the Pitot House is used as a headquarters for the Louisiana Landmarks Society, which not only gives tours of the space but also rents out the house and the 10,000-square-foot side yard and gardens for weddings and special events. The house is filled with antiques from the early 1800s, carefully curated to give visitors a glimpse of everyday life in the early 19th century.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, visitors will have the opportunity to learn firsthand what everyday life in the 1800’s might have been like at this historic location. The Pitot House will host the Life on the Bayou Heritage Fair from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., featuring more than 20 local artisans and craftsmen at work showing off centuries-old techniques, some while wearing period costumes. There will also be children’s activities, re-enactments by Plauche’s Battalion French Soldiers, and entertainment from the New Orleans Quarter Shanty Krewe singing songs of sailors and their adventures at sea. Admission is $5 per person.
The Pitot House is open for guided tours Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; tours take approximately half an hour. It’s a good idea to call ahead (504-482-0312) to make sure it’s not closed for a special event.
You can find the Pitot House at 1440 Moss St., near the Magnolia Bridge and City Park. It’s a short walk from the Canal Streetcar, where the end of the line meets Esplanade Avenue. The Pitot House is also walking distance from the New Orleans Museum of Art and Alcée Fortier Park, making it a perfect stop on a day’s tour of Mid-City.