Old New Orleans
Firehouses and Police Stations
Most of the fire and police stations built in the early part of the 20th century
ultimately became too small to serve the purpose intended.  Some of these were
demolished and a new station was built at the same location or a new site was
chosen - the original property was used for another purpose or sold.  The 2005 flood
damaged some beyond repair.  Several of the old buildings still standing - no longer
in use and in need of renovation - have recently been auctioned off by the city.
I went searching for vintage photos of the buildings that were sold, as well as some
others that are either still in use or have been re-purposed.  I've combined these with
some current pictures to form a little "then-and-now" gallery.  I haven't been able to
find old photos of all of these buildings.  If you have any vintage pictures of these
properties to share, they would be most appreciated.  -- Nancy, September, 2014
Old "Police Jail and Patrol Station," 2500 block of St. Philip Street - I put it first because it's
my favorite.  I love the look of this building and I'm so happy that it was purchased at a
recent city auction and will be renovated.  After its time as a police station/jail, it was used as
a library and community center; it's been abandoned since the 2005 flood.  It was built in
1902 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Update:  New owners. Raul and Liz Canache, submitted the photo below, probably taken
in the 1970's.  They are turning the property into a bed and breakfast, the Inn at the Old
Treme Jail, and renovation has begun!  You can follow their progress
Another former police station that found a buyer in the recent auction.  The photo
above was taken in 1938 when the station was completed.  The new owner of this
building wrote to me and provided some history.  It was constructed in 1938 and
was originally located on City Park Avenue, on the banks of the New Basin Canal; it
was moved to it’s current location on Rosedale in 1954.  After the precinct moved
to a new site, the building was used by the city for other purposes, until the flood
in 2005.  Renovation has already started and the owner is planning on opening a
restaurant that pays homage to the old lakefront entertainment establishments of
the past.  Below, a photo as the property looked when it went to auction.
Old New Orleans Police Department Horse Stable, 1000 block of Poland Avenue -
I've searched high and low for a vintage photo of this NOPD stable, but, so far,
no luck.  Date of construction is unknown, but I found this info from an appraisal:
"In 1896, the property was improved with an electric car barn; as of 1933, the
property was a police facility that was converted to a stable for police horses."
I think it's such a great old building - and others must think so, too, because it
recently sold at auction for $330,000, after an intense bidding contest.
Above, WPA construction of a new fire station on Elysian Fields Avenue, 1939.
It's to be "the first of four new stations being built to serve the suburbs."
Below:  Engine Company 28, Platoon 2, moves into the new building.
Above & below, Engine Company 28, at home on Elysian Fields Avenue.
Members of Engine Company 28 would be sad to see it today.  It served
as a firehouse until 1980; then N.O.R.D. used it until 1986.  Apparently,
it's been abandoned since then.  No sign of renovation yet - it didn't
sell in a recent auction.  But it's still standing, so there's hope yet.
Photo Credits:
Top photo:  
Kevin O'Mara@Flickr ;  1800's 4th District
Police Station photo:  
Former fire station, 6000 block of St. Claude - This firehouse was built
in 1924.  I don't know when Engine Company 39 moved to another
location, but the building has been abandoned since the 2005 flood.
It's about to get a second chance, it was one of the properties
purchased at auction recently.
Former fire station on Robert Street, photo above, ca. 1959;
below, current; now a private residence.
Below, a current picture of the building, now in use as
Harmony House Senior Center.
Fire Station, Engine Company 14, Tulane Avenue - The date of the above
photo is unknown, but the station was constructed in 1930.  It's no
longer with us, the building has been demolished.  I believe it was
located where a Tulane Avenue ramp to I-10 now stands.  Two photos below:
Engine Company 14's "new" home at Cleveland and S. Robertson, ca. 1967.
We have 3 time periods - and 2 buildings - for this fire station location at Esplanade
Avenue and North Galvez.  Above, the firehouse that had been constructed in 1840 is
in the process of being demolished.  Directly below, the "new" station shown in 1956.
Above, current photo - still in use as a fire station.
In the late 1800's, the Egyptian Revival style of architecture became popular.
It was then that this building on Rousseau Street, in the Uptown section, was
remodeled and its distinctive facade added.  The photo above was taken in
1897, when it served as the 4th District Police station.  Constructed in 1836,
this unique building has served many functions in its long history:  jail, court,
police station, and used by the National Youth Administration, the Salvation
Army, the Department of Streets and more.  Photo directly below, 1960's.
Above, the building today - close to 180 years old and still standing.  As you
can see, it's undergone more remodeling and its appearance has been
drastically altered.  It's currently being used as a den for a carnival krewe,
the Knights of Babylon, who uses it to build and store Mardi Gras floats.
This fire station at 4877 Laurel Street hadn't been used by the Fire Department in 30
years when the city offered it for sale in 2012.  In 2013, the City Council approved its
sale and use as a coffee shop.  Renovation has started, but I don't know if it has been
completed.  The building is across the street from Wisner Playground.  
Jerry Foster,
who lived in the 4900 block of Laurel for many years, sent the picture above.  It was
taken before the old fire house was sold.  It's good to know that the building will be
saved and put to productive use.  Many thanks to Mr. Foster for sharing the photo.
12th District Police Station, 1932:  This photo was taken after a tragic incident in which a
prisoner who was being escorted to a cell shot and killed police officers.  The information
on the back of the photo comes from a wire service and states that one trusty and two
policemen were killed and that the prisoner surrendered.  However, I searched for more
info online and found details at the
Officer Down Memorial Page, where there are memorials
for 3 officers:  Patrolman Albert Oestriecher, Patrolman Cornelius Ford and Corporal
George Weidert.  The website states that the suspect was killed in an ensuing gun battle.
Many thanks to Robert Keane for sharing this photograph.