Ponchartrain Motors, Louisiana

The front of the building features operable steel windows on the upper floor.
The Ponchartrain Motors Building is a Modernist-style car dealership constructed in 1954 as a two-story structure, based on designs supplied by the General Motors Corporation. A partial third story was added in 1966 to accommodate not only an automobile showroom, but also a large service center and enclosed upper level and rooftop parking. Most of the interior consisted of unadorned, utilitarian spaces, typical of automobile service facilities. In contrast, the showroom at the front of the building was a very finished, quite formal space befitting the Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles sold here.
Its walls were covered with wood and mirrored panels and the coffered ceiling was punctuated by several massive, lantern-like chandeliers. The rehabilitation of this building, which cost just over $7.9 million to convert into a Rouses Market, retained all these features and incorporated them into the design of the new grocery store. The original decorative wall panels, the coffered ceiling and the chandeliers now grace the front portion of the store and the various departments are identified with period-style signage. The historic steel windows were retained and repaired; existing garage door openings provide ready access for delivery trucks; and the already extant interior and rooftop parking needed little adaptation for continued use.

A small rooftop garden, an added green feature, supplies fresh herbs that are sold in the produce section. The new market provides a much-needed service to the residents of the historic Upper Central Business District in New Orleans, Louisiana, which, until now, was without a grocery store.

Last updated: October 12, 2017