Urban Fold

That 70's Show

In New Orleans, the third act begins on a famous outdoor stage.

Charles Moore’s Piazza d’Italia is like one of those fruity, rummy Hurricane cocktails that you sip through a straw from a curvy glass garnished with an orange slice and maraschino cherry: colorful, over the top, and made of questionable ingredients. In 1978, when the piazza went up in downtown New Orleans, urbane critics were quick to decipher the architectural in-jokes for those in the derriere-garde. They elucidated the "concentrical hemicyclical" colonnades painted bright yellow, ochre, and red. They gushed over the esoteric water features—"wetopes," Moore called them. And they winked knowingly at twin cartouches of Moore’s benevolent face on an arch above the piazza’s St. Joseph’s Fountain. Reported The New York Times, "This place...may be the most significant new urban plaza any American city has erected in years."

Thanks to Jeffrey Lofton, APR

Full Story: That ’70s Show

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