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New Orleans' Most Famous Apartments, The Upper Pontalba

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photos via upperpontalba.org

Built in 1849-1851 by the feisty Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the city-owned Upper Pontalba apartments are often labeled as the oldest apartment building in the nation. Quick history: What started out as 16 rowhouses overlooking Jackson Square (which was still in its pre-Andrew Jackson statue, Place d'Armes days) was transformed in to 50 apartments in 1935. In the 1970s, the ground floor units were turned into retail spots and an $8-million renovation/restoration took place from 1993 to 1995. The fourth floor attic space was turned into 18 more apartments. There's no parking, no elevator, and no fancy amenities (well, except you're right in the heart of the French Quarter). Some of the original details have been stripped away, but the crowd molding was cast from original designs and sconces are modeled after the Baroness' designs, and hello – that balcony. So how does one nab one of these spaces? Well, there's a waiting list. And rules: wanna-be tenants need to provide proof of income, agree to a credit check, and applicants who "declined the opportunity to lease on two occasions" may be kicked off the list. Rentals range from two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,872-square foot spaces for $2,920 to 534-square foot efficiency apartments for $782.
· Upper Pontalba Apartments [official site]