For our first installment, Susan sits down with Pierre de Pontalba from his family’s Château de Mont-l'Évêque in Senlis, France. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. It was a quarter of her worth, and he wanted it all! She died in 1874 at the age of seventy-eight. 1920 It soon became apparent that the elder de Pontalba was intent on seizing the Almonester fortune. 2nd floor features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. She lived to build the elegant row houses known to history as the Pontalba Buildings, on Jackson Square, and a vast Parisian hotel, now used as the American Embassy. The artist, Gaston de Pontalba (1821–1875), was the youngest of the baroness’s three sons, and he accompanied her to New Orleans, along with his brother Alfred and childhood friend Eugène-Joseph Napoléon Klein. She grew up in New Orleans where she completed her greatest work, but spent most of her adult life in Paris. Several lawsuits later, she received her separation. To learn more about our membership programs, please visit our website: https://www.thelmf.org/membership #BringingHistoryToLife, © The Louisiana Museum  Foundation, All Rights Reserved. So much of Louisiana’s early history has been well-preserved by the Pontalba family. November 10, 1918: The story of the last Baron de Pontalba On November 10th, 1918, news of the death of Baron Edouard Delfau de Pontalba reached New Orleans. Culminating in an exquisite costumed Founders’ Ball overlooking Jackson Square, along with Honored … -Louisiana Life Magazine, November 2018. The Baron de Pontalba was so angered by her behavior that he shot her four times in the chest. The LMF was instrumental in re-connecting the Pontalba family to Louisiana. She conceived the Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans as two magnificent blocks of row houses facing each other on Jackson Square. (September 29) A Category 3 hurricane hits New Orleans. Micaëla Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, led the construction of two massive buildings lining Jackson Square starting in 1849. Micaela bore her husband five children, but the influence of his father on their marriage was disastrous. Aside, Micaela and Celestin speak of love and agree to meet again. (THNOC, 1974.25.27.358) No contradiction was greater than the chasm between her privileged life and her sufferings at the hand of her husband’s family. Sally Reeves is a noted writer and historian who co-authored the award winning series New Orleans Architecture. She survived, but the Baron committed suicide the same day. Micaela Almonester Pontalba was the wealthiest woman in New Orleans, but her biographer called her a frump for her lamentable everyday wardrobe. The Pontalba Buildings receive minimal damage, in spite of the nearby Presbytere’s loss of its cupola. Unfortunately, she would have to go through decades of misery before achieving them. In 1830, Micaela defied her husband’s orders and traveled to the U.S. Male historians characterized the Baroness as strong-willed, imperious, penurious, self-indulgent and vacillating, while her female biographer uncovered a life of affliction and resilience. In Paris she began a series of lawsuits to get a separation, but consistently lost to the strictures of French law on marriage. Pierre recently rediscovered the Baron’s diary, and its contents are fascinating! Micaela’s father- in- law, Baron de Pontalba, had orchestrated the marriage to his son. For more than two decades, despite his concerted efforts, he would fail to succeed on taking possession. Her father died when she was only 2 years old — leaving her with his fortune which he obtained in real estate & politics. The devils of her personal hell were her husband (and cousin), Celestin de Pontalba, and his unhinged father, Baron Joseph de Pontalba. Over time it caused a big wedge between the couple, especially because the Baron believed he was cheated on the dowry. This historic brick building was constructed for Baron de Pontalba by architect-builders Gurlie & Guillot in 1835. The building fronting Rue St. Peter, upriver from Jackson Square, is the upper Pontalba. Her efforts to protect her fortune enraged the Baron her father-in-law, who in November 1834 shot her point blank with a pair of dueling pistols at the family chateau. Baroness Pontalba. Managed by: Private User Last Updated: August 5, 2015 Armes : De gueules, à deux faux d'argent, passés en sautoir, les fers en bas et adossés ; au chef de sinople, chargé de trois rocs d'échiquier d'or [3]. For our Tricentennial year celebration, the Pontalba family lent many of their family’s treasures for the important Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square exhibition. In 1811, Micaela’s mother Louise started sniffing around to find her 15-year … Baroness Pontalba’s Buildings, an earlier and shorter work by the late architect Samuel Wilson, Jr. and historian Leonard Huber, shows respect for her accomplishments in building the Pontalba Buildings, but lacks the pathos of the full story. Share via Facebook; Share via Twitter; Share via Email; Print this Article The Louisiana Museum Foundation is excited to launch our Inaugual Founders Ball. Micaela’s life has been the subject of two books and an opera. Almonester was seventy years old when Micaela was born, and died just three years later. Son mari prenant alors le titre de Baron de Pontalba, elle devient donc Baronne de Pontalba. Here, Micaela Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba, immortalized her story in the heart of the French Quarter. By the 1830s, Micaela was a virtual prisoner of the Pontalba family, who made her life miserable. She grew up in New Orleans where she completed her greatest work, but spent most of her adult life in Paris. Inspired by Decline: Old Quarter Feeds Creativity. Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba – Photo Courtesy of Louisiana State Museum. Schneider, Frank, (Artist) M icaela Leonarda Almonester de Pontalba was the sponsor of landmark architectural complexes in her native Louisiana, as well as in France, her home for sixty-seven years. Dense and vibrantly written, it portrays its subject sympathetically. She is known to history as the “Baroness Pontalba,” a title inherited by a lackluster husband as she was about to divorce him. Baron de Pontalba (1810) Baron de Belfort (1868) pour la branche aînée; Notes et références How a chance meeting and a love of Louisiana is bringing the Pontalba family home and opening the door for an exhibition of never before seen family treasures. Joseph-Xavier Delfau de Pontalba, ou Joseph-Xavier de Pontalba né le 11 février 1754 à La Nouvelle-Orléans et mort le 20 octobre 1834 à Mont-l'Évêque, est un … From Wikipedia (English):. These letters are part of the Pontalba family archives in Mont-l’Évêque, France where they’ve been since 1807. The building on the other side, fronting Rue St. Ann, is the lower Pontalba Building. In 1777 the crown allowed him to acquire public land on both sides of the town square, which he developed into lucrative rental property and the base of a fortune. After her wedding, Micaela was promptly whisked from New Orleans to Mont l’Eveque, the Pontalba family chateau near Paris. The LMF continues to work closely with this wonderful family in the effort to share these stories. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Museum Foundation hopes that by #BringingHistorytoLife, these letters can show how the resiliency of Louisianans have stood the test of time. Eventually these properties and his immense fortune descended to his heir and daughter, Micaëla Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba. The Baroness de Pontalba is credited with building the … Baron and Baroness de Pontalbato make historic visit to Cabildo for Tricentennial Celebration Finale. Pierre is a direct descendant of the first Baron de Pontalba, Joseph-Xavier, who recorded his personal reflections during the 1796 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans in an epistolary diary! She is known to history as the “Baroness Pontalba,” a title inherited by a lackluster husband as she was about to divorce him. Colonel de Pontalba was made a Knight of St Louis in 1814. and died at Mont-l'Eveque France in 1834. Thea Musgrave’s opera Pontalba was commissioned as a fitting France-Louisiana subject to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial of 2003. Celestin’s father, Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, wanted control over Micaela’s entire inheritance. Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y … We are excited to present the Director’s Corner, a new virtual opportunity for visitors, patrons, and community members to learn more about the Louisiana Museum Foundation and the State Museum from our Executive Director, Susan Maclay! Her left breast was disfigured and two of her fingers mutilated. Xavier-Célestin Delfau de Pontalba: Birthdate: estimated between 1765 and 1825: Death: Immediate Family: Son of Baron de Pontalba Husband of Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba. Baron de Pontalba stood over her bleeding, unconscious body, yet he fired no more shots and returned to his study. 2 Pierre is a direct descendant of the first Baron de Pontalba, Joseph-Xavier, who recorded his personal reflections during the 1796 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans in an epistolary diary! Micaela’s father-in-law was the Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, who served the French and Spanish as a military officer and lived in a state of paranoia about money and social control. MICAELA LEONARDA ALMONESTER, BARONESS DE PONTALBA Micaela Leonarda Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, the daughter and heir of wealthy philanthropist Andrés Almonester y Rojas, was born in New Orleans in 1795.In 1811, she married Joseph-Xavier Célestin Delfau de Pontalba, who later inherited the title of Baron from his father. Pierre recently rediscovered the Baron’s diary, and its contents are fascinating! He believed he should have received a lot more- $40,000 in cash plus jewelry wasn’t enough! Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba was a greedy man with wild mood swings. Her portrait as a young wife shows a woman of grace and reflection; her photograph at an older age shows a hardened veteran with unmistakably masculine features. Baroness de Pontalba lived in New Orleans as an adult for fewer than four years, but her mark on the city is indelible. The Baron lived his life in France, but despite having little connection to New Orleans, New Orleanians found his death newsworthy because he was the last male… Scene II At the Pontalba home, the family discusses the repercussions … She inherited the title of Baroness, separated from her husband, and a dozen years later returned to New Orleans. Contemporaries called her persistent, bright-eyed, intelligent, vivacious, prompt, shrewd and business like. 1918 micaela’s grandson edouard, the last baron de pontalba, dies in paris. Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba - Kindle edition by Vella, Christina. With four round gunshots to the chest, fingers shattered, and blood pouring, Micaela survived. French law provided a “head and master” marital regime, but husbands had grave obligations to account for their wives’ funds, mortgaging their own assets as guarantee. Pontalba is an opera in two acts composed by Thea Musgrave. Because of the Baron’s death, Celestin took the rank, and Micaela was awarded the title of Baroness de Pontalba. Intimate Enemies, a riveting 1997 biography by Christina Vella, reads like a novel. Two years after the wedding, he had her sign a general power of attorney to her husband giving him control of her assets, rents, and capital, both dotal and as heir of her father. She also has written Jacques-Felix Lelièvre’s New Louisiana Gardener and Grand Isle of the Gulf – An Early History. Like most Creoles, she married a cousin, but her in-laws turned out to be more interested in her money than in family love and loyalty. Baroness de Pontalba occupied the mansion until her death in 1874, upon which it was willed to her heirs who sold the property to Baron Edmond James de Rothschild in 1876. Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, baronesa de Pontalba (6 de noviembre de 1795 1 - 20 de abril de 1874) fue una acaudalada aristócrata nacida en Nueva Orleans y una de las personalidades más dinámicas de la historia de esa ciudad. In the end, French law notwithstanding, the Baroness got her money back. The Baron de Pontalba, who is French, is pleased, since his business affairs suffered disastrously under the Spanish administration. The LMF was instrumental in re-connecting the Pontalba family to Louisiana. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba. Born in 1795, she was married to her cousin Xavier Celestin de Pontalba at the age of fifteen. The marriage produced 5 children, though only 3 sons lived to adulthood. 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