Pagoda House New Orleans

Unique New Orleans Homes: The Pagoda House

Blogger’s Note:  There are many unique and wonderful architectural moments in New Orleans, but one of this blogger’s favorites is the “Pagoda House” on Napoleon Avenue.  Quite of a mystery to unravel as to whom the original owner might be as well as the inspiration to reference traditional Japanese architecture.
 Pagoda House New Orleans
 (Above): 2037 Napoleon Avenue, also known as the Pagoda House, built in 1904. Listed as the home of Raoul Vallon designed by Frank P Gravelt & Co Limited, costing over $15,000 or more to construct in the early 1900s. The Vallons owned the home until 1925.

Asian inspiration in the heart of New Orleans

Built by a well known member of the early 1900’s high society, the Pagoda House was the result of a good friend’s inspiration. The home was the brain child of insurance broker, Raoul Vallon. Vallon was high society, a member of the Rex Organization and a member of the elite Bayou St. John Fencing Club. The idea of the unique design for the Vallon family home came from long time friend Lafcadio Hearn. He had recently moved to Japan from New Orleans. He thought the Pagoda design would be excellent for the hot summers of New Orleans. The style is key for ventilation. Achieved catching breezes and letting heat out of the belvedere at the top of the house. The extended roof lines also help provide shade and shelter from sun and rain. The pagoda-style upturned corners of the red tile roof were traditionally said to keep out evil spirits. The home was built for what may seem like a novel sum of $15,000. However, fast forward to 2016 and that would have been $400,000 building cost!

Pagoda House 1948

(Above) An image of the Pagoda House taken in 1948.

The Vallon Family owned the property until 1925 when it was sold to an importer, Eduardo Massa and his wife. They embraced the oriental theme of the home. They decorated it with teak wood furniture, fine china, silk tapestries, and inlaid tiles – gathered during their trips to Europe.


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