What: The NolaArt House
Film By: UNO Student and documentarian Indiara Sfair
Editor’s Note: NolaVie partners with students of UNO professor László Zsolt Fülöp, pairing them with artists, non-profits, environmental groups, and cultural entities to facilitate a live curriculum that results in a short documentary. Filmmaker Sabreen AJ discusses the significance of the NolaArt House, and its intriguing history as it became a home to artists in New Orleans. Sabreen details how the titles of the house were formed based on the significance of Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant, and how the house interacts with the public today.
|Read the full transcript of the interview below|
This elegant Italianette-style building doesn’t only have a splendid style but also has a great history and unique story. This house was built sometime in the 1800s, and it wasn’t just any house.
This house was a brothel house when prostitution was legal in New Orleans. It was owned by Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant whose surname means The Rising Sun in French.
And why is this important? Well, we all know the amazing folk song: “The House of the Rising Sun.” There is a claim that the writer of this song used to live here when he wrote the song and he named it after Madame Marianne’s surname.
This song is about living in hard conditions and times, and in New Orleans it is a symbol of problems against injustice and suppression.
However, many people in the neighborhood call it The Treehouse because there used to be a treehouse and lots of big plants in the backyard. It is also known as The Art House, which is a given name from the neighborhood and the whole city. There was a group of freestyle artists who used to live in this house for a good period of time, and they used it as a place of entertainment and art expedition. They performed many creative activities and hosted special occasion holidays/festivals like Mardi Gras, Halloween, Voodoo, and more.
But, unfortunately, they had to leave their home and the creative space when the building had to go under the following, as we see it right now. However, we don’t know how many other stories this place contains. I am sure an ancient house like this has more stories to tell. I promise.