Architect F. Monroe Labouisse Jr. was an influential preservation architect, activist, educator, and writer whose award-winning work included the restoration of Madame John’s Legacy in the Vieux Carré.
F. Monroe Labouisse Jr. was a prominent native New Orleans architect, preservation activist, and writer known for his professional and personal involvement in protecting the city’s historic fabric. In 1958, he began his architecture career at the office of local modernist architects Nathaniel Curtis, FAIA, and Arthur Davis, followed by a stint at the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.¹ He also gained experience at his father’s architectural firm, Parham & Labouisse.² After earning a master of architecture degree from Yale University in 1965, Labouisse returned to New Orleans to establish his own firm specializing in historic restorations.³ His projects included the award-winning 1971 restoration of Madame John's Legacy for the Louisiana State Museum and the 1978–79 restoration of 604-06 Julia Street on Julia Row for the young Preservation Resource Center (PRC).⁴ In 1982, architect J. David Waggonner III joined him to form Labouisse & Waggonner, and together the firm worked on such projects as the adaptive reuse of a c.1830 Creole townhouse into the renowned Soniat House hotel (1982).⁵
In addition to his professional work, Labouisse was a dedicated participant in several local preservation-focused entities, including the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC), the Historic Faubourg St. Mary Corporation, Louisiana Landmarks Society, Friends of the Cabildo, the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates, Inc. (VCPORA), PRC, and the Vieux Carre Commission (VCC), for which he served as chairman in 1978.⁶ Following in the footsteps of one of his mentors, architect Samuel Wilson Jr., Labouisse also taught courses in architectural history and design at Tulane University’s School of Architecture and wrote regularly on preservation-related topics for New Orleans Magazine and PRC’s Preservation in Print.⁷ Upon his untimely death in 1986, Labouisse was remembered for his commitment to authenticity, his professional integrity, and his unflinching support of efforts to protect the architectural heritage of his beloved hometown.⁸
1. “F. Monroe Labouisse Jr., local architect, dead at 46,” The Times-Picayune, January 5, 1986.
2. “F. Monroe Labouisse, Sr. Office Records, ” Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University.
3. “F. Monroe Labouisse Jr., local architect, dead at 46”; Waggoner & Ball Architects, “Overview.”
4. Waggoner & Ball Architects, “Madame John’s Legacy"; and “F. Monroe Labouisse Jr., local architect, dead at 46.”
5. Waggoner & Ball Architects, “Overview” and “Soniat House.”
6. “F. Monroe Labouisse Jr., local architect, dead at 46.”
7. Louise C. Hoffman, “A Tribute to Monroe Labouisse,” Preservation in Print 13 no. 2 (March 1986): 14.