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Appreciating Carroll Gardens' French Quarter

Whenever I grow lonesome for New Orleans, one of my favorite cities (and one that respects its own history a damn sight better than does New York), I take a quick stroll down Sackett Street between Smith and Court in Brooklyn. There, in the middle of the north side of the block, lie a trio of buildings I like to call Carroll Gardens' French Quarter. Each is equipped with a elevated porch that stretches the full length of the house. These are enclosed by a combination of highly ornate cast-iron railings, pillars and roofing. Blanche DuBois would not look out of place monitering a stoop sale at one of these addresses.

A chance meeting with a woman who lived in one of them revealed that the porches were part of the original buildings, which will erected sometime in the 1870s or thereabouts. One of the houses, No. 329, was on the market in 2006, asking $2.5 million. It met its price plus a little bit more. These days, you could probably buy five such New Orleans houses for that money.