No, this isn’t a post about an upcoming convention but, it is a post about some interesting architectural research sent in by Robert Thompson.

One of Two Thermo-Con Homes at N. Broad and Agriculture Street. Built 1947.

Higgins Incorporated of New Orleans patented Thermo-Con Concrete and sought to promote its use as a building material throughout the southern United States, as well as the Caribbean, South America, and parts of the South Pacific region. In 1946, the company built a Thermo-Namel demonstration house at its Industrial Canal plant, and one year later followed with the Thermo-Con Demonstration Houses erected on the corner of North Broad Avenue and Havana Street. Other Thermo-Con residences quickly followed, and included a cluster on Havana Street, ones on Althea and Hydrangea Lanes in Lake Vista, and one on Vicksburg Street between Harrison Avenue and Bragg Street. A developer in Atlanta used the material to build a 104-apartment complex in North Buckhead, and another developer planned to create 200 3-bedroom houses in Pass Christian Heights, Mississippi. Thermo-Con’s use went beyond residential architecture: fire walls in Fort Worth, Texas; USAF buildings at White Sands, New Mexico; and warm-up pads for the USAF at Andrews and McChord Air Force Bases.
After World War II, there was a considerable amount of experimentation with building materials. Industrial plants that had been mobilized for war were converted to fuel the high demands for affordable residential architecture. Various commercial enterprises sought to capitalize on federal incentive packages.
For example, Andrew J. Higgins built a Thermo-namel demonstration house at his Industrial Canal plant in 1946 (shown above). Utilizing a technique developed by Oakland, California architect Maury I. Diggs, Higgins boasted that his “package homes” could be customized for any floor plan or color scheme. As we have mentioned in previous posts, a national steel shortage forced Higgins to abandon Thermo-namel and to develop Thermo-Con.
Higgins resided in one of two Thermo-Con demonstration homes(constructed 1947) located at the intersection of Havana Street and North Broad Avenue (Sanborn Atlas 1963 image shown above), until his grander cellular concrete home was completed in the Lake Vista neighborhood in 1949.
Gunnison Homes, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, developed porcelain-enameled steel prefabricated residences after the war. The Champion, shown above, was its low-cost model. Introduced in metropolitan New Orleans in 1949, the model was available in two sizes and multiple colors. Authorized dealer J. Burrows Johnson opened a demonstration home at 2811 Hamilton Street,situated in a neighborhood that came to feature a number of steel residences. The house is no longer extant.
Olin J. Farnsworth, who owned the Lustron franchise in New Orleans, opened his demonstration house in May 1949 at 3700 Cherry Street. The “surf blue” Westchester was outfitted with furnishings supplied by Kirschman’s and was quickly joined by its De Luxe twin at number 3704 (Sanborn Atlas image above, 1961).

Between 1949 and 1950, Farnsworth built a number of Lustron Westchesters in the Crescent City.(1) He apparently utilized Lustron for a double bungalow, located at 9412-9414 Stroelitz (Sanborn Atlas image above, 1961). New Orleans architect and educator George A. Saunders briefly lived in the rear unit while teaching courses at Tulane University. Saunders worked for Bolt and Beranek, who served as acoustical consultants to Lustron.(2)

Baton Rouge also had its post-war neighborhoods. A large number of concrete block residences were built on Carleton Drive and North 39th Street between 1946 and 1947 (Sanborn Atlas image above, 1963). These typically included steel joists, flat roofs, curved facade elements and small carports. Many of these remain with minor modifications.
Historic Sanborn fire insurance atlases can help make the process of identifying new building materials easier. Lustrons, constructed of prefabricated steel frames and sheathing, appear as solid grey masses on historic Sanborns; Thermo-Cons, cast of cellular concrete on site, appear as gold masses marked “fire-proof.” Concrete block structures are frequently indicated in blue with the abbreviation “C.B.” and steel- and iron-clad frame structures typically have yellow centers with grey surrounds.

Kitchen Witch Cookbooks

by Robert Thompson

Faubourg St. John neighbors Debbie Lindsey and Philipe LaMancusa opened their store at 1452 N. Broad, suite C, today. “Kitchen WItch Cookbooks” will undoubtedly become an asset to our area, as a unique and quirky bookshop run by two lovely people. Debbie is planning to be open 7 days a week, 10ish to 4ish and will feature book signings and related events.

It is in the little strip mall like building with the Boost Store and the Beauty Supply. Plenty of parking, but heck I can just walk there. We haven’t had a neighborhood hangout with the feel of special books since Maple Street left, and cooks will obviously find a wide selection of cookbooks. I love the esoteric treasures hanging around, and there’s also vinyl records for music lovers. The place is still settling in, creative chaos I’d call it, but I was so excited to visit I couldn’t wait longer. Hope this appeals to our membership and we can support still another great Faubourg St. John business.


from their website at

Kitchen Witch Cookbooks is a small book shop at 1452 North Broad in New Orleans. They specialize in rare, hard to find, out of print and pre-owned books on food and cooking. This is a fully functional independent book store and not just a website location. You will always find Debbie or Philipe at the shop ready to answer questions, share secrets, relay gossip, political opinions and give you directions to the hottest spots to eat. The shop’s phone number is 504-528-8382 and they’ll gladly take and execute telephone purchases.

They will happily ship your purchases, and all out of state shippings save the 9% taxes that we must extract from in-shop clients. They do ship ‘Media Mail’ and that takes seven to ten days from time of departure.

Debbie Lindsey and Philipe LaMancusa (the two person operating team) look forward to your visit, either in person or by phone/email/spirit/carrier pigeon. They are full of advice on dining and other visitor concerns and are very friendly. In fact, let them know when your birthday is and they will send you a card!

Visit Kitchen Witch Cookbooks on Facebook…

Subway on Broad Delivers

Faubourg St. John’s Subway sandwich shop will deliver right to your door if you are willing to buy 15 dollars or more!

(504) 319-8525 Subway is located at 1153 North Broad.

Click on the scoop in the graphic above for more information!


Headquarters to hold Grand Opening January 1st

1101 North Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 382-9875

Click on the flyer for a larger view.
November 10, 2010
You may remember FSJNA’s post on the new Subway
when they opened up at 1153 North Broad…
Well, yet another business has opened up just
down the street at Ursulines and North Broad.
It’s called Headquarters.

Headquarters is an upscale hair styling establishment.
They style hair for men and ladies.
The place stays busy with customers waiting for one
of the three chairs both times I visited.

Headquarters is open from 8 am in the morning until 8 pm
at night.

Mr. Jamal McCoy is the owner and can be reached at
304-4087 if you’d like to learn more about this new Faubourg
St. John business.

Headquarters has only been open for three weeks and it appears
they are going to be very successful. Please stop by the corner
of Ursulines and North Broad and welcome Mr. Jamal McCoy
and Headquarters to Faubourg St. John!