Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain




















































































































































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Not that there is any 'architecture' in Canal Street:  to speak in
broad, general terms, there is no architecture in - Page 340
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Not That There Is Any 'architecture' In Canal Street:

To speak in broad, general terms, there is no architecture in New Orleans, except in the cemeteries.

It seems a strange thing to say of a wealthy, far- seeing, and energetic city of a quarter of a million inhabitants, but it is true. There is a huge granite U.S. Custom-house - costly enough, genuine enough, but as a decoration it is inferior to a gasometer. It looks like a state prison. But it was built before the war. Architecture in America may be said to have been born since the war. New Orleans, I believe, has had the good luck - and in a sense the bad luck - to have had no great fire in late years. It must be so. If the opposite had been the case, I think one would be able to tell the 'burnt district' by the radical improvement in its architecture over the old forms. One can do this in Boston and Chicago. The 'burnt district' of Boston was commonplace before the fire; but now there is no commercial district in any city in the world that can surpass it - or perhaps even rival it - in beauty, elegance, and tastefulness.

However, New Orleans has begun - just this moment, as one may say. When completed, the new Cotton Exchange will be a stately and beautiful building; massive, substantial, full of architectural graces; no shams or false pretenses or uglinesses about it anywhere. To the city, it will be worth many times its cost, for it will breed its species.

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