biography of Gaston De PONTALBA (1828-1875)

Birth place: France

Addresses: New Orleans, active 1848-51

Profession: Sketch artist, musician

Comments: Both his parents, Joseph Xavier CÈlestin Delfau de Pontalba and Micaela Leonarda Almonester, were born in Louisiana of prominent families. After they divorced (1838) Gaston lived in Paris with his mother, until the 1848 Revolution forced them to leave France. Madame Pontalba and her sons Gaston and Alfred fled to London and then returned to New Orleans. They stayed until 1851, and their trip was recorded by Gaston in a diary and sketchbook that was eventually published as Voyage à la Nouvelle OrlÈans du Fev. 1848 au 7 Mai 1851. Included were city views, primarily of the Place d'Armes (now Jackson Square). This famous site consists of two rows of apartment buildings, facing each other across a square, which were constructed by Gaston's mother (to this day known as the Pontalba Buildings). He returned to Paris in the spring of 1851 and continued to pursue his interest in art, publishing prints of French estates and castles.

Sources: G&W; Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists. 312-13.

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