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American Decorative Arts Louisiana Archives

Created by commerce along the Mississippi River, Louisiana's great wealth in the antebellum period drew large numbers of cabinetmakers and dry goods dealers to the area, especially the port city of New Orleans, where plantation owners throughout the state came to purchase goods. Retail business in the 19th century was centered on New Orleans's Royal Street, where fashionable shops sold everything from New York furniture and English hardware to French porcelain and musical instruments. In addition to the flourishing import business, the city was also a distribution center for locally made goods, many of them crafted by the city's large population of free people of color. Featured makers and manufacturers include:

  • Dutreuil Barjon, Jr.

  • William McCracken

  • Prudent Mallard

  • J. & J.W. Meeks

The Louisiana State Museum collection of Acadian and plantation-made furniture includes examples of beds, armoires, chairs and a cradle from the 19th century through the mid-20th century. Also part of the decorative arts collection are pieces of furniture used on steamboats, in restaurants, hotels and other commercial settings.

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