1041 Royal Street  

Join VCPORA for a peek inside this infamous home. You may know it from the Ghost Tours, but have you ever been inside or sat on the gallery with a cocktail? If not, this is your chance! Gaze at some artwork, peruse the library, and gander at the 16ft tin ceilings. It’s not to be missed!

 Built in 1884 by James Scallen this gorgeous Italianate exposed brick building was built by contractor W. Garcia for $4000. The Architect was listed as E. Surgi, but the building is nearly identical to another building on the block by Thomas Sully. Some of the commercial residents included a Dry Goods Store, Corsetry, and a Gay bar called American Refuge.  



1041 Royal (originally 257 Royal) was built in common French Quarter form, as both a commercial space with residential quarters above. It was operated first as a Corsetry shop by Madame Delorenzie in 1851  and then Theodore Dumas Furniture store in the 1880s.  In 1884, this building was bought by James  Scallen, a local grocer who owned several  buildings on the block from which he ran his grocery business. Eventually, the building would be occupied by the son-in-law of Scallen, and became Gautreaux Dry Goods. It seems the Dry Goods business wasn’t’ so great for Henry Gautreaux, and with the famous Couvertie  Bros. operating out of two buildings across the street, there seemed little chance to succeed.  In 1892 a judge ordered the sale of his store’s inventory to pay creditors. Gautreaux held on a little longer, but marital problems  apparently arose and Mrs. Gautreaux forced another sale in 1896. She would later buy the property from James Scallen’s widow Alice. 



History or Myth

The house also happens to be a favorite stop for the haunted history tours in the neighborhood. According to these tales, the Vampire Jacques St. Germain is the most notable resident of  1041 Royal Street. The story goes he claimed to be the descendant of Count St. Germain, and had come over to New Orleans from France. He infiltrated the high society of New Orleans parties, but strangely no one ever saw him partake in any of the food served. This was odd enough, but it would take the  assault of a young woman to bring to light how strange St. Germain actually was. The young woman St. Germain assaulted escaped by jumping from the gallery of the Royal Street house, and told a strange tale of being bitten by her assailant .  When the authorities arrived, St. Germain was gone. However, his apartment was stained with blood and they found wine bottles  filled with blood….Or so the story goes. It seems the story started in the  1990s by tour guides. Historical accounts don’t seem to mention the famed Vampire. But, it is a good story nonetheless.

As research indicates, the Scallen’s owned the property until 1916, so they would have been the famed Vampire’s landlord at the time. However, a quick search of the Times Picayune, New Orleans’ City Directory, and the Census from 1900 yield no results for the Vampire.  A few St. Germain’s in the city, but no Jacques! Looking at the  1900 census, the neighborhood itself was mainly Louisiana-born and Italian-born residents.


About the Host

Alexander “Chip” Blondeau, always liked being in the French Quarter having spent so many Mardi Gras celebrations with his family here. After deciding the draw to the neighborhood was unavoidable, Chip began by looking at various condos for sale. Then he decided to take a look at the grand building on Royal at Ursulines, and it was love at first sight. It would take a lot of love to finish the renovations started by the previous owner in the 90s, but he was up to the challenge. The bottom floor had always been commercial space, which meant facing the challenge of fully converting it into livable space. Chip did a great job adding walls, while keeping the stunning tin ceiling intact! Now that the renovations are complete, Chip’s favorite space is the library or up on the gallery enjoying a good book.

A little about Chip’s family, the Blondeau’s  immigrated from France to the US around 1860, settling in  New Orleans after the Civil War. Blondeau’s ancestor worked as an engraver and then a dyer while here in New Orleans. Chip’s Mother came from Cottonport before moving to New Orleans with her family during the Depression. Her family immigrated to Louisiana in the 1760s after the British took control of the Northern territories, making their way down the Mississippi.