Visit this and 6 other stunning homes in New Orleans’ historic Garden District and Lower Garden District at the Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 8 and 9.
In 1891, Samuel Adams “S.A.” Trufant built his family this stately Queen Anne-style house, filling it with all the grandeur of its time. Nearly 125 years later, his descendants rebuilt it, meticulously restoring this architectural gem after a four-alarm fire nearly destroyed it.
The blaze broke out on the third floor of the house on Feb. 24, 2015. Ann Trufant, who was 87 at the time, lived there with her son, Bill, and his wife, Bobbi. Ann was the only one home when the fire broke out, but she escaped without injury.
The blaze tore through the upper floors. What wasn’t damaged by fire was ruined by water and smoke, necessitating an extensive, two-year renovation. The Trufants — whose family has lived in the house for five generations — engaged architect and architectural historian Robert J. Cangelosi Jr. and general contractor Roof Technologies Inc. and gave them a goal: restore the 19th-century grandeur but also make the house a modern, livable space for a 21st-century family.
“The family wanted a contemporary kitchen, a great room and modern bathrooms,” Cangelosi said.
To accommodate all the repairs, it was necessary to gut the house completely and rebuild it. To correct a structural problem, a steel truss “skeleton” was installed. Master plasterer Jeff Poree also removed all of the damaged decorative plaster elements, made templates of the pieces and then reconstructed them with stunning authenticity.
Originally designed as a single-family home by architects Sully and Toledano, the house had been divided into apartments in the 1920s, a common move for families trying to make ends meet during the Great Depression. During the renovation, the Trufants removed the last vestiges of the old units, restoring the house back to single-family status.
Now that the renovation is complete, a portrait of patriarch S.A. Trufant — saved from the fire by family friend Ruthie Winston — once again hangs over the fireplace in the front formal parlor. It’s easy to imagine that he’d be pleased with the results.
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 8 & 9 in the Garden District and Lower Garden District
Advance sale tickets: $30 for PRC members, $45 for non-members. $50 on day of tour.