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James Freret Office Records

Identifier: SEAA-147

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of project drawings for commercial, historic, religious, and residential projects throughout Louisiana; travel sketches of Pompeii and throughout Europe; tax receipts; and miscellaneous correspondence associated with New Orleans architect James Freret (1838-1897), dating from 1826-1902.


  • 1860s–1890s


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is the physical property of Tulane University Special Collections. Copyright belongs to the creators or their legal heirs and assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or owner’s heir for permission to publish where Tulane University Special Collections does not hold the copyright. For further information, please contact Research Services at

Biographical / Historical

James Freret was born in New Orleans to James P. and Livie (D’Arensbourg) Freret. His father owned a cotton press, his uncle William Freret served as mayor of New Orleans, and his cousin William A. Freret also was an architect in New Orleans. William A. and James collaborated on the completion of the cast iron constructed Moresque Building. The building was begun before the Civil War, and completed afterwards. Before the Civil War, James trained in the office of New Orleans architect George Purves. In the early 1860s, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After the outbreak of the war, he returned to Louisiana to take a commission as an officer in the Confederate Army’s engineering corps. After being wounded in battle, he returned to New Orleans before the end of the war, to take up work as an architect.

Freret designed many institutional and commercial structures in New Orleans and Louisiana, but was most prolific as a residential architect. SEAA has many of his project drawings for residences, and representation for institutional structures in New Orleans includes buildings for Little Sisters of the Poor, Masonic Hall, and the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home. 1870 drawings for proposals for Temple Sinai are included in SEAA’s holdings for religious structures.

Architects who worked in Freret’s office include his son-in-law Charles Allen Favrot, Louis A. Livaudais, and Rob Roy Bayhi. Favrot and Livaudais went on to form their own architectural firm. See SEAA’s digitized Freret drawings—James Freret Architectural Drawings. Also, see Freret residential plans in SEAA’s 2007 exhibit—Impressing the Client, 1868–1940.


9.73 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into five series: Series 1: Residential Project Drawings; Series 2: Project Drawings for Tombs, Monuments, and Buildings; Series 3: Travel Sketches; Series 4: Institutional Project Drawings; Series 5: Tax Receipts and Miscellaneous Correspondence.

Existence and Location of Copies

Items in Series 1, 2, and 4 can be accessed remotely by visiting The Architect's Eye digital collection at Tulane University Digital Library.

Digitization Note

This collection or portions of this collection have been digitized. Visit Tulane University Digital Library or contact TUSC Research Services at for more information.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US