More Morphy


1939 photograph of 604 N. Esplanade Ave. New Orleans

On April 14, 1835, Alonzo Morphy purchased a townhouse, the middle one of three connected homes at 600-604-606 Eslanade Ave., New Orleans.

Lawson made no mention of this in the Pride and Sorrow of Chess.

It's a rather invovled story that also complicates tracing the early Morphy story.


Lawson noted that Alonzo Morphy and his new bride moved in with the Le Carpentiers at their newly constructed mansion at 1113 Chartres Street in 1829. They lived there until 1841 when Alonzo bought the mansion at 89 (419) Royal St. While their new home (actually one of te oldest buildings in New Orelans) was being completely remodeled, the family stayed a few months in a pontalba apartment on St. Peter St.

According to New Orleans historian, Stanley Clisby Arthur as well as the 1938 New Orleans City Guide and several other sources, Alonzo Morphy lived in the townhouse on Esplanade Ave. At any rate what is certain is that Alonzo Morphy did purchase the valuable property on April 14, 1835 from the speculating contractor, Henry Raphael Denis and sold it in 1836 to Pierre Pradat.

As mentioned, the townhome was the center one of three connected homes built by Denis in 1833.  While Morphy bought number 604, number 606 was purchased by Michel Doradou Bringier who gave it to his daughter, Louise Francois Bringier, as a wedding present when she married  a certain attorney named Martin Gordon, Jr. in December 1835.
Now Martin Gordon, Jr. was, of course, the son of Martin Gordon. When the original Banque de la Louisiane was re-chartered, its original building was auctioned of. Martin Gordon (Sr.), originally from Virginia,  bought the structure and remodeled it into a slendid home in which his old friend, Andrew Jackson, was a frequent guest.  Unfortunately Martin Sr. had serious financial reversals that forced him to sell his fine home at 89 Royal St. at auction where it was purchased by Alonzo Morphy.

Back to 604 Esplande Ave. . . .

Henry Raphael Denis bought the three-house lot in 1833 from Barbe Desdunes, a free woman of color, who had owned it since 1812.  In 1860, this particular structure was bought by Madame Egerie Vatine and converted into an acadamie that was so successful it lasted "into the 20th century aquiring the title of Vatinel's University 'which offered a veritable degree in life as well as learning through its sixth grade curriculum.' Its special forte , aside from that of formal education, was preparing children for their first communion." [New Orleans Architecture: The Esplanade Ridge  by Mary Louise Christovich, Sally Kittredge Evan]





A little hard to read, but worht the effort.