This architectural rendering shows how the Pythian building, 234 Loyola Ave. in downtown New Orleans, will look when its beautiful exterior is returned. Construction begins this summer for the redevelopment project, which will turn the 1908 building into apartments, offices and retail space. (Rendering from studio WTA)
The building at 234 Loyola Ave. in downtown New Orleans has had an amazing role in the city"s history. Built as an African-American fraternal club, with a jazz venue in its roof garden, it later became hiring offices for World War II boat-builder Higgins Industries. It housed Dwight Eisenhower"s presidential campaign in the 1950s, as well as a district court, a bank and medical offices.
For the past 20 years it has been empty and neglected, but the Pythian is about to surge with new life once again with 69 residential units, offices and a “public market food hall” showcasing New Orleans food part of a downtown boom in residential living.
“This edifice represented an opportunity for transformation for the African American community. There's so much history, it's fantastic to be involved in this project.”—Wayne Troyer, architect
On the Pythian Temple roof garden dance floor in 1925 is Manuel Perez"s Garden of Joy Orchestra, including Earl Humphrey, Maurice Durand, Osceola Blanchard, Adolphe Alexander Jr., Jimmy Johnson, Caffrey Darensbourg, Alfred Williams, Manuel Perez and Eddie Cherrie. (Photo by A. P. Bedou, from the Al Rose Collection, Hogan Jazz Archive, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library)