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Blake Pontchartrain: the lion statues at Pritchard Place

Unveiled in 1912 and later dubbed "traffic menaces"

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Hey Blake,

Is there any story behind the lion statues at the intersection of Pritchard Place and South Carrollton Avenue?

Huey

Dear Huey,

Those stately stone lions have sat watch over Pritchard Place since the "residence park," as it originally was known, was unveiled in 1912. The subdivision was an extension of Pritchard Street, which was named for R.O. Pritchard, a local businessman best known for developing the Verandah Hotel at St. Charles Avenue and Common Street.

  According to a December 1912 story in The Times-Picayune, the developers of Pritchard Place, the Hopkins-Rhodes Company, also created nearby Audubon Boulevard and Fontainebleau Drive. The company invested $40,000 in the Pritchard development. In a 1913 newspaper ad, it was described as an "ideal location for your home within easy access to the best car line in the city and only fifteen minutes from Canal Street." Other selling points included "Schillinger sidewalks" (describing a certain type of concrete pavement), shell driveways, shrubbery and trees. As for the lions, a 1912 story in The New Orleans Item called them "the most striking of the improvements. Each one, six feet from haunch to head, sits on a six-foot cube of sandstone on either side of the entrance." They were carved by the Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company.

  By 1930, the lions and the nearby archway at South Carrollton Avenue and Fontainebleau Drive had become such landmarks that a Times-Picayune editorial bemoaned the fact that as the number of people driving automobiles grew, the number of accidents near both spots increased, since the lions distracted drivers and blocked the view of oncoming traffic. While the newspaper said it leveled its criticism with some hesitation, since the lions were striking features, a June 29, 1930 editorial called them "extreme traffic menaces" and urged the city and developers to improve the situation.

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