The Pythian

THE PYTHIAN: A development that honors our community´s culture and benefits our economy

By Alejandra Guzmán

Click aqui para español->El Pythian

Historic preservation represents a commitment to honor our history and culture. From an economic-development perspective, historic preservation supports vibrant urban environments that promote commerce, tourism, and other activities that attract investment and promote economic growth. The Pythian building is a great example of this.

The Pythian building was constructed in 1908 as the epicentre for African-American business, community gatherings and cultural expression. Its rooftop hosted numerous social gatherings that witnessed many love stories unfold.

One of them in particular, would later be immortalized through art commissioned by the Pythian building partners. Many years later, the building was used as the hiring office for Higgins Industries. Andrew Higgins, who was described by Dwight D. Eisenhower as “the man who won the war for us”, maintained his office in the building during WWII.

Co-developers of the building, ERG Enterprises, Green Coast Enterprises, and the Crescent City Community Land Trust, identified the historic richness of this building and the value its restoration would bring to the community. Their intentional efforts to preserve the building’s cultural value is evident throughout the building.

 An example of those intentional efforts is displayed within the Pythian Market food hall. Recently commissioned by the developers, this space now eternalizes the portrait of civil right leaders A.P. Tureaud Sr. and his wife Lucille Dejoie through a large mural created by local artist Brandan “B-mike” Odums. A.P. Tureaud and his wife Lucille Dejoie met at the Pythian and dedicated a lifetime to fighting segregation and social injustice in Louisiana.

Dr. Eric George of ERG Enterprises stated, “Brandan’s depiction of A.P. and Lucille is a wonderful representation of all the different stories of love, history, and culture that took place in the building. The contemporary form was an excellent present-day tribute to such a rich history”.

Visitors to the Pythian Market food hall will also experience a taste of our community´s diverse and rich culture through a great selection of international cuisines. I look forward to seeing additional development in our city that proves to be beneficial to our community´s culture and our local economy. Until next time!

Twitter @aleguzman

Alejandra Guzman

Writer/Escritora 

Economic Development/Desarrollo Economico

@aleguzman

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Publisher's Note

Mixing Traditions

It is no cliché. New Orleans has a wonderful mix of traditions that add to the charm of this amazing city. With the holidays in full-swing, we can enjoy holiday-centered, free events like simple walks around traditional neighborhoods to see the elaborate Christmas decorations, Caroling in Jackson Square, attending the gospel and jazz concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Church, watching the technological light display during Luna Fête, and visiting the beautifully decorated hotel lobbies in town, among others.

 There is one tradition in Louisiana that is so unique and that I hope to experience this year: The Bonfires on the Levee. Just thinking about seeing the pyres, the fireworks display and its reflection on the river during a cold night and having a warm drink while learning about this tradition from our River Parishes' neighbors sounds like an amazing way to soak in some of the culture around us.

Though the original purpose of the bonfires is unconfirmed, fitting the storyline of Papa Noel following the lights on a pirogue being pulled down river by alligators to deliver presents is such a tale. It involves a mix of many elements that are unique to the culture that has shaped the city of New Orleans.

I just love being able to experience different traditions and learning about the ways diverse groups of people who have made New Orleans their home, celebrate the holidays

Happy Holidays!