Visit this home and several other fine examples of New Orleans’ iconic shotgun houses at the Shotgun House Tour on Saturday, May 12
818 Evelina St · Benjamin Davis & Monica Yoo
818 Evelina St. sits on a corner parcel of land at the intersection of Belleville Street that was once part of the Elmira Pleasure Grounds. Between 1895 and 1920, Elmira Pleasure Grounds was the place to be in Algiers. The venue featured a dance pavilion, moving picture machine house, vaudeville shows, military bands, concerts, refreshment stands and early Jazz band performances. It was a place to picnic and digest local culture. It was later known as Electric Park, the name change most likely occurred when electricity was connected in the area in 1916. The original property owner passed away the land was later subdivided. Historic records sourced from Kevin Herridge’s extensive research on the home, found Louis J. Neafus to be the first parcel owner of the property. Listed in the 1926 city directory, Neafus was employed as an engineer with the M.L. & T. Railroad.
The current homeowners purchased the property in Dec. 2017. When asked about their favorite part of the home, Ben and Monica looked around at the century-old heart pine flooring, restored tuck-pointed masonry and handcrafted millwork, then blurted out, “the porch!” The porch is a beautifully crafted gallery facing Evelina Street, situated within a 2002 addition to the home. The recent addition to the historic structure marries the best of historic architecture and modern conveniences. It was designed to continue and elevate the original style and character of the building. French doors line the covered gallery supported by handcrafted paired-columns, with ceiling fans and rocking chairs adding to the comfort of the space.
Ben and Monica are welcome assets to the community. Both have spent several years as educators in New Orleans. Ben has worked in the New Orleans education system for ten years, and is currently opening a charter high school on Berkley Drive in Lower Coast Algiers called Rosenwald Collegiate. Monica has taught for six years in New Orleans and now works for New Schools for New Orleans.
Photos by Charles E. Leche