The well-known Brulatour Courtyard stands at 520 Royal Street. #watercolorwednesday
The main courtyard of the Seignouret-Brulatour Mansion, 520 Royal Street in the Vieux Carré. Many New Orleanians remember the mansion as the offices and studios of WDSU-TV. The station used photos of the courtyard in its “station ID” spots for decades. The artist is Anthony B. “Ben” Suhor, longtime local high school teacher. From WDSU’s history of the mansion:
Although the courtyard bore the name of its second owner, Pierre Brulatour, the splendid mansion was built in 1816 by Francois Seignouret, a native of Bordeaux, France. Seignouret came to New Orleans just before the Battle of New Orleans and fought in the battle on the fields of Chalmette. His dream was to establish a winery. He replaced the century-old wines imported by the late Spanish masters considered the “Poison of Catalogne” with the mellowed sweetness of Bordeaux wines.
So, Mr. Suhor captured the courtyard as it was in 1952. It’s undergone a number of transformations.
Seignouret to Brulatour to Television
M. Seignouret built the house in 1816, after the Battle of New Orleans and the end of the War of 1812. When Francois passed, his brother Emile, inherited it. Emile sold the mansion to Pierre Brulatour. Both owners were wine merchants. Many debutante balls took place in the mansion’s upstairs ballroom. So, it was well-known long before television.
Carriages with visitors entered the main gate on Royal Street. The carriage circled the courtyard fountain, dropped off their passengers, and exited.
Businessman and civic leader Edgar Stern purchased the mansion in 1949. Stern acquired WDSU radio in 1947. He formed WDSU-TV in 1949. Stern moved the offices and studios into the mansion and the building next door. The station was an outstanding steward of the mansion. They sold it to THNOC in 1998, when WDSU moved to a larger, more modern studio on Howard Avenue.
Mr. Anthony B. Suhor taught at local high schools for 52 years. He taught at Redemptorist, Redeemer, and Rummel high schools. I was privileged to be one of Benny’s colleagues at Redeemer, in the early 1980s.