Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

Blake Pontchartrain: the history of Bottinelli Place

A family tribute at a dead end on Canal Street

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Hey Blake,

At the north end of Canal Street around the cemeteries is a dead-end street called Bottinelli Place. There are several brick buildings including one that looks like a small church with two towers. What do you know about the street and those buildings?

Philip

Dear Philip,

That one-block, dead-end street near the 4900 block of Canal Street no doubt has piqued the curiosity of those who have passed by or visited one of the small businesses located there. It is a tribute conceived by the late Teddy Bottinelli to honor his father, noted sculptor Teodoro Bottinelli.

  The elder Bottinelli was an Italian immigrant who carved some of the figures on Stone Mountain in Georgia, and eagles on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington D.C. and on the Federal Reserve Bank Building in New Orleans. After Teodoro's death in 1933, his wife Emma opened the Quality Flower Shop at Canal and North Anthony streets. As the business prospered, the family bought properties in the block behind the shop. At the family's request, the New Orleans City Council agreed in 1978 to change the name of the street to Bottinelli Place.

  Teddy Bottinelli designed the street and its signature red brick building as a tribute to his father. "It used to be a typical New Orleans street with blacktop on the middle and weeds on both sides," he told Liz Scott in a 1997 article in New Orleans magazine. He explained that the design incorporated architectural pieces he rescued from buildings being torn down, including the Byzantine spires, windows, columns and a cast iron staircase from the former Temple Sinai on Carondelet Street.

  As for the cobblestone street, Teddy ordered more than 200,000 quartz stones from northern Italy to design a street that would resemble the ones his father remembered from his native Italy. The son laid every one of them himself. Teddy and his mother both died in 1997. Their flower shop closed the next year, but the tribute to a beloved father and craftsman remains in place.

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