Pontalba is an opera in two acts composed by Thea Musgrave. The artist, Gaston de Pontalba (1821–1875), was the youngest of the baroness’s three sons, and he accompanied her to New Orleans, along with his brother Alfred and childhood friend Eugène-Joseph Napoléon Klein. The Pontalba buildings, which had fallen into 2nd floor features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Almonester was seventy years old when Micaela was born, and died just three years later. Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba (November 6, 1795- April 20, 1874) was a wealthy New Orleans-born aristocrat, businesswoman and real estate developer, and one of the most dynamic personalities of that city's history. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba. She inherited the title of Baroness, separated from her husband, and a dozen years later returned to New Orleans. Managed by: Private User Last Updated: August 5, 2015 Because of the Baron’s death, Celestin took the rank, and Micaela was awarded the title of Baroness de Pontalba. Smart, beautiful, and sole heiress to one of the most prominent (and wealthy) couples in 19th century New Orleans, she was destined to do great things. Micaela bore her husband five children, but the influence of his father on their marriage was disastrous. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Like most Creoles, she married a cousin, but her in-laws turned out to be more interested in her money than in family love and loyalty. She also has written Jacques-Felix Lelièvre’s New Louisiana Gardener and Grand Isle of the Gulf – An Early History. The Louisiana Museum Foundation is excited to launch our Inaugual Founders Ball. She survived the shooting attack, despite having been shot four times in the chest, with one of the bullets having crushed her hand. Baroness de Pontalba lived in New Orleans as an adult for fewer than four years, but her mark on the city is indelible. Contemporaries called her persistent, bright-eyed, intelligent, vivacious, prompt, shrewd and business like. She is currently working on a social and architectural history of New Orleans public markets and on a book on the contributions of free persons of color to vernacular architecture in antebellum New Orleans. In a marriage contract of 1811, her widowed mother agreed to an expensive dowry for her daughter to seal the alliance to their socially prominent Pontalba cousins. The Baron de Pontalba was so angered by her behavior that he shot her four times in the chest. Micaela Almonester Pontalba was the wealthiest woman in New Orleans, but her biographer called her a frump for her lamentable everyday wardrobe. Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y … With four round gunshots to the chest, fingers shattered, and blood pouring, Micaela survived. From Wikipedia (English):. Share via Facebook; Share via Twitter; Share via Email; Print this Article Born in 1795, she was married to her cousin Xavier Celestin de Pontalba at the age of fifteen. -Louisiana Life Magazine, November 2018. The LMF continues to work closely with this wonderful family in the effort to share these stories. Special thanks to Pierre de Pontalba, Wynne R. Miller and Audrey Canalès for their editing and translation efforts! It was a quarter of her worth, and he wanted it all! Schneider, Frank, (Artist) M icaela Leonarda Almonester de Pontalba was the sponsor of landmark architectural complexes in her native Louisiana, as well as in France, her home for sixty-seven years. Scene II At the Pontalba home, the family discusses the repercussions … Baron de Pontalba stood over her bleeding, unconscious body, yet he fired no more shots and returned to his study. She Had a Secret Affair. She is known to history as the “Baroness Pontalba,” a title inherited by a lackluster husband as she was about to divorce him. His only son Joseph Xavier Celestin Delfau de Pontalba was born in New Orleans in 1791 and was taken to France in 1796. Aside, Micaela and Celestin speak of love and agree to meet again. 2 Several lawsuits later, she received her separation. She grew up in New Orleans where she completed her greatest work, but spent most of her adult life in Paris. Micaela’s father- in- law, Baron de Pontalba, had orchestrated the marriage to his son. Cabildo Costume Ball will honor Pontalba legacy with Charles-Edouard and Isabelle, Baron and Baroness de Pontalba, from le château de Mont-l’Évêque, December 1, 2018! French law provided a “head and master” marital regime, but husbands had grave obligations to account for their wives’ funds, mortgaging their own assets as guarantee. Micaela’s life has been the subject of two books and an opera. In 1777 the crown allowed him to acquire public land on both sides of the town square, which he developed into lucrative rental property and the base of a fortune. Culminating in an exquisite costumed Founders’ Ball overlooking Jackson Square, along with Honored … She died in 1874 at the age of seventy-eight. The marriage produced 5 children, though only 3 sons lived to adulthood. Below are a collection of letter excerpts from an epistolary diary of the first Baron, Joseph-Xavier de Pontalba, to his wife, Louise Le Breton des Chapelles in 1796 during the first documented yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans. En 1836, elle commande à l’architecte Visconti la construction d’un hôtel particulier 41 Rue du … As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Museum Foundation hopes that by #BringingHistorytoLife, these letters can show how the resiliency of Louisianans have stood the test of time. The Baron de Pontalba, who is French, is pleased, since his business affairs suffered disastrously under the Spanish administration. 1918 micaela’s grandson edouard, the last baron de pontalba, dies in paris. The Baroness de Pontalba is credited with building the … Pierre is a direct descendant of the first Baron de Pontalba, Joseph-Xavier, who recorded his personal reflections during the 1796 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans in an epistolary diary! The LMF was instrumental in re-connecting the Pontalba family to Louisiana. Baron de Pontalba (1810) Baron de Belfort (1868) pour la branche aînée; Notes et références Baron de Pontalba A color reproduction of Baron de Pontalba. Micaëla Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, led the construction of two massive buildings lining Jackson Square starting in 1849. Her efforts to protect her fortune enraged the Baron her father-in-law, who in November 1834 shot her point blank with a pair of dueling pistols at the family chateau. (September 29) A Category 3 hurricane hits New Orleans. This historic brick building was constructed for Baron de Pontalba by architect-builders Gurlie & Guillot in 1835. Baroness Pontalba. The arched opening leads to income producing retail space, and stairwell leading to living above. Her father died when she was only 2 years old — leaving her with his fortune which he obtained in real estate & politics. The Baron lived his life in France, but despite having little connection to New Orleans, New Orleanians found his death newsworthy because he was the last male… Pierre recently rediscovered the Baron’s diary, and its contents are fascinating! We invite you to support the LMF's efforts by becoming a member! In Paris she began a series of lawsuits to get a separation, but consistently lost to the strictures of French law on marriage. Baroness Pontalba’s Buildings, an earlier and shorter work by the late architect Samuel Wilson, Jr. and historian Leonard Huber, shows respect for her accomplishments in building the Pontalba Buildings, but lacks the pathos of the full story. Micaela began to suspect their intentions when she discovered that the elder Pontalba had no intention of fulfilling his side of the marriage contract and was appropriating her money. Here, Micaela Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba, immortalized her story in the heart of the French Quarter. Thea Musgrave’s opera Pontalba was commissioned as a fitting France-Louisiana subject to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial of 2003. Inspired by Decline: Old Quarter Feeds Creativity. She is known to history as the “Baroness Pontalba,” a title inherited by a lackluster husband as she was about to divorce him. If she visited New Orleans, she was accused of deserting her husband. Micaela’s father-in-law was the Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, who served the French and Spanish as a military officer and lived in a state of paranoia about money and social control. Baroness de Pontalba lived in New Orleans as an adult for fewer than four years, but her mark on the city is indelible. Her left breast was disfigured and two of her fingers mutilated. The opera was commissioned by New Orleans Opera to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Sally Reeves is a noted writer and historian who co-authored the award winning series New Orleans Architecture. These letters are part of the Pontalba family archives in Mont-l’Évêque, France where they’ve been since 1807. In 1830, Micaela defied her husband’s orders and traveled to the U.S. Après plusieurs procédures, elle obtient la séparation d’avec son mari et la restitution de ses biens. Xavier-Célestin Delfau de Pontalba: Birthdate: estimated between 1765 and 1825: Death: Immediate Family: Son of Baron de Pontalba Husband of Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba. Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba – Photo Courtesy of Louisiana State Museum. No contradiction was greater than the chasm between her privileged life and her sufferings at the hand of her husband’s family. Unfortunately, she would have to go through decades of misery before achieving them. The devils of her personal hell were her husband (and cousin), Celestin de Pontalba, and his unhinged father, Baron Joseph de Pontalba. In 1811, Micaela’s mother Louise started sniffing around to find her 15-year … It was a maneuver he persuaded to happen in an effort to gain her vast inheritance. So much of Louisiana’s early history has been well-preserved by the Pontalba family. Her mother had wisely contracted for a small portion of the money to be used as a dowry. For our Tricentennial year celebration, the Pontalba family lent many of their family’s treasures for the important Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square exhibition. The building fronting Rue St. Peter, upriver from Jackson Square, is the upper Pontalba. 1920 Son mari prenant alors le titre de Baron de Pontalba, elle devient donc Baronne de Pontalba. The Pontalba Buildings receive minimal damage, in spite of the nearby Presbytere’s loss of its cupola. She grew up in New Orleans where she completed her greatest work, but spent most of her adult life in Paris. Musgrave also wrote the libretto which is loosely based on the life of Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, a prominent figure in 19th-century New Orleans. He believed he should have received a lot more- $40,000 in cash plus jewelry wasn’t enough! By the 1830s, Micaela was a virtual prisoner of the Pontalba family, who made her life miserable. Baroness de Pontalba occupied the mansion until her death in 1874, upon which it was willed to her heirs who sold the property to Baron Edmond James de Rothschild in 1876. Baron and Baroness de Pontalbato make historic visit to Cabildo for Tricentennial Celebration Finale. The LMF was instrumental in re-connecting the Pontalba family to Louisiana. Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba was a greedy man with wild mood swings. Contemporaries called her persistent, bright-eyed, intelligent, vivacious, prompt, shrewd and business like. She survived, but the Baron committed suicide the same day. MICAELA LEONARDA ALMONESTER, BARONESS DE PONTALBA Micaela Leonarda Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, the daughter and heir of wealthy philanthropist Andrés Almonester y Rojas, was born in New Orleans in 1795.In 1811, she married Joseph-Xavier Célestin Delfau de Pontalba, who later inherited the title of Baron from his father. Colonel de Pontalba was made a Knight of St Louis in 1814. and died at Mont-l'Eveque France in 1834. The building on the other side, fronting Rue St. Ann, is the lower Pontalba Building. In the end, French law notwithstanding, the Baroness got her money back. (THNOC, 1974.25.27.358) After her wedding, Micaela was promptly whisked from New Orleans to Mont l’Eveque, the Pontalba family chateau near Paris. Two years after the wedding, he had her sign a general power of attorney to her husband giving him control of her assets, rents, and capital, both dotal and as heir of her father. Her marriage ended dramatically after her father-in-law, the Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, attempted to take her life and then took his own. Eventually these properties and his immense fortune descended to his heir and daughter, Micaëla Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba. In New Orleans a civil law judge ordered the restitution of her property. Celestin’s father, Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, wanted control over Micaela’s entire inheritance. That evening, after brooding through the day, he took his own life with the same pistols. Her father, Andres Almonester y Rojas, had been a wealthy New Orleans notary and politician who amassed a fortune in colonial real estate with the indulgence of Spanish authorities. The celebration will be another one for the history books that we know you won’t want to miss! November 10, 1918: The story of the last Baron de Pontalba On November 10th, 1918, news of the death of Baron Edouard Delfau de Pontalba reached New Orleans. Male historians characterized the Baroness as strong-willed, imperious, penurious, self-indulgent and vacillating, while her female biographer uncovered a life of affliction and resilience. How a chance meeting and a love of Louisiana is bringing the Pontalba family home and opening the door for an exhibition of never before seen family treasures. For more than two decades, despite his concerted efforts, he would fail to succeed on taking possession. Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba (November 6, 1795-April 20, 1874) was a member of one of the most illustrious Creole families in Louisiana. She conceived the Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans as two magnificent blocks of row houses facing each other on Jackson Square. Xavier Celestin de Pontalba, at the age of 15. We are excited to present the Director’s Corner, a new virtual opportunity for visitors, patrons, and community members to learn more about the Louisiana Museum Foundation and the State Museum from our Executive Director, Susan Maclay! Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, baronesa de Pontalba (6 de noviembre de 1795 1 - 20 de abril de 1874) fue una acaudalada aristócrata nacida en Nueva Orleans y una de las personalidades más dinámicas de la historia de esa ciudad. Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba - Kindle edition by Vella, Christina. For our first installment, Susan sits down with Pierre de Pontalba from his family’s Château de Mont-l'Évêque in Senlis, France. Her portrait as a young wife shows a woman of grace and reflection; her photograph at an older age shows a hardened veteran with unmistakably masculine features. Over time it caused a big wedge between the couple, especially because the Baron believed he was cheated on the dowry. It soon became apparent that the elder de Pontalba was intent on seizing the Almonester fortune. She lived to build the elegant row houses known to history as the Pontalba Buildings, on Jackson Square, and a vast Parisian hotel, now used as the American Embassy. Dense and vibrantly written, it portrays its subject sympathetically. The Baroness de Pontalba is credited with building the Pontalba buildings along with her father Don Andres Almonester who rebuilt St. Louis Church (now known as St. Louis Cathedral), the Cabildo and Presbytere after the 1788 fire. To learn more about our membership programs, please visit our website: https://www.thelmf.org/membership #BringingHistoryToLife, © The Louisiana Museum  Foundation, All Rights Reserved. Joseph-Xavier Delfau de Pontalba, ou Joseph-Xavier de Pontalba né le 11 février 1754 à La Nouvelle-Orléans et mort le 20 octobre 1834 à Mont-l'Évêque, est un … Pierre recently rediscovered the Baron’s diary, and its contents are fascinating! Intimate Enemies, a riveting 1997 biography by Christina Vella, reads like a novel. Armes : De gueules, à deux faux d'argent, passés en sautoir, les fers en bas et adossés ; au chef de sinople, chargé de trois rocs d'échiquier d'or [3]. 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