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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Verse 02
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Verse 02

Page history last edited by Oregonian 1 year, 10 months ago

General notes on Verse 2

  • This verse is thought to be linked to Image 7 and a casque in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Many of the references in the verse appear to be describing Lafayette Square, which is in the Central Business District on St. Charles Avenue.  Reminder: the guidelines for The Secret specifically rule out any casque being hidden in a flower bed, and many areas in Lafayette Park, including the base of the John McDonogh monument, are very carefully landscaped.  Please do not dig there.
  • The proposed solution for this casque is given on the Image 7 Verse 2 Solution page.

 

 

Interpretation

Lines Interpretation(s)
At the place where jewels abound

- One of the best-known traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the tossing of bead necklaces from the parade floats to the spectators.  Unbelievable amounts of these "jewels" are exchanged during this yearly event.  (A recent cleaning by the city removed 93,000 pounds of the beads that were clogging storm drains.) 

 

No other city in North America has such a well-established tradition of distributing shiny "jewels."  This line, by itself, should be enough to identify New Orleans.

 

- Many of the largest and oldest parade routes, including those used by the Krewe of Zulu, the Rex Organization, and Krewe of Elks Orleans, share a stretch of St. Charles Avenue from Jackson to Canal.  Parades along this route often make a major stop at the old New Orleans city hall, Gallier Hall, across the street from Lafayette Park.

 

- "Jewels abound" could also be a reference to St. Mary's Park, which is located in the Central Business District between Lee Circle and the Mississippi River.  The park forms a long, narrow strip bounded by North Diamond Street above and South Diamond Street below

 

- This could also be a reference to The Presbyt√®re, which is part of the Louisiana State Museum and has a permanent exhibit showcasing a collection of Mardi Gras jewels.  (It isn't clear whether the exhibit existed in 1980.)  Full-size images: View 1, View 2, and View 3.

 

Fifteen rows down to the ground

- If the first line of the verse gets us to New Orleans, it doesn't seem likely that the second line would jump all the way to a specific set of steps or specific brickwork.  The "fifteen rows" are more likely to be larger things like states, counties, neighborhoods, or streets.  We don't have a strong match for this line yet.

 

- The John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building, located at 600 Camp Street at the southeast corner of Lafayette Square, has an exterior decorated with alternating thick and thin bands of stonework.  Counting just those alternating bands (and ignoring the other stonework above and below) there are 15 rows in all wrapping around the first floor.  

 

Photo used under a Creative Commons License AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by www78 on Flickr

 

- There are many old buildings around Lafayette Square that have stone steps going down to the street level, but we don't yet have a list of which ones (if any) have 15 rows of steps.

 

- Some people have claimed that Gallier Hall, across the street from Lafayette Square, has 15 rows down to the ground, but in photographs it looks more like 16 rows.

 

In the middle of twenty-one

From end to end

- The words "twenty-one from end to end" is almost certainly a reference to Lafayette street, which stretches from the Interstate 10 interchange, directly through the Superdome, and almost to the Mississippi.  Starting at South Galvez Street and heading east, it currently has the following intersections: 1) Johnson, 2) Prieur, 3) Roman, 4) Bertrand, 5) Derbigny, 6) Bolivar, 7) Claiborne, 8) Loyola, 9) Rampart, 10) O'Keefe, 11) Baronne, 12) Carondelet, 13) St. Charles, 14) Camp, 15) Magazine, 16) Constance, 17) Tchoupitoulas, 18) Commerce, 19) Peters, 20) Fulton, 21) Convention Center Blvd., and 22) Poydras.  That makes 22 blocks (rather than 21) but the extra block comes from street changes associated with the construction of the New Orleans Convention Center, which only opened in 1985.

 

  The 1981 Rand McNally street map for New Orleans (shown below) illustrates the eastern end of Lafayette ending in this sequence of streets: 17) Tchoupitoulas, 18) Commerce, 19) Peters, 20) Fulton, and 21) Front.  That makes 21 blocks!  The phrase "from end to end" is probably meant as a reminder that searchers should actually look for the western end of Lafayette, rather than assuming that it stops at Loyola and the Superdome.

 

 

 

Only three stand watch

- If the "twenty-one from end to end" is a reference to Lafayette Street, then the "middle" where "three stand watch" is almost certainly a reference to Lafayette Square, where there are three statues of standing figures.  John McDonogh is at the west end, Benjamin Franklin is at the east end, and Henry Clay in the center of the park.  The John McDonogh monument is the one that has a child reaching upwards in a pose that may be related to the figure in Image 7.

 

As the sound of friends

Fills the afternoon hours

  New Orleans is a famously raucous and social place, where loud parties in the street are very common, particularly during Mardi Gras.  If these lines are only about people being outside making noise, they could apply to almost anyplace in the city.  But there are a few hints that might help narrow things down.  

  • The reference to "friends" (rather than "people," "revelers," "tourists," or whatever) suggests that this might be a place for locals, who live nearby and all know each other.
  • The words "afternoon hours" suggest leisure and the absence of haste.  This is a place where people who all know each other can gather to pass the time and relax.

 

- One possibility is that this might be a second reference to Lafayette Square, which has long been a public gathering place for the people of New Orleans.  But it seems odd that Preiss would waste another line on the square after it had already been so strongly identified by the line about "three stand watch."

New Orleans, LaFayette Square, Ballou 1854.jpg
Illustration in Ballou's Pictorial, via [1], Public Domain,

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16520066

 

- Alternatively, the sign for Congo Square (in Louis Armstrong Park) reads: "By 1803 Congo Square had become famous for the gatherings of enslaved Africans who drummed, danced, sang and traded on Sunday afternoons". Potentially, the St Charles quote in the following line could service as a double reference to the slaves, a sovereign people who built palaces (for others).  But Congo Square is more than 10 blocks and 2 neighborhoods north of Lafayette Square.  It seems unlikely that Preiss would focus our attention on the street and the square only to make such a large jump.

 

- Ultimately, the best match that has been found for this clue is the Piazza d'Italia, which was completed in 1978, just a few years before Preiss visited.  The Piazza is located on Lafayette Street, just four blocks from Lafayette Square, which makes it a natural step in the progression of the verse.  And, as Preiss surely knew, an Italian piazza is a traditional gathering place where friends can linger and spend some time together.  Windows on Italy (a vacation rental site) describes the "sociology of the Italian piazza" this way:

 

Here is a sovereign people

Who build palaces to shelter

Their heads for a night!

- This line originally appeared in Travels in the United States in 1847 by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina, when the author was describing a hotel in New Orleans:

 

"The Saint Charles, which lifted its proud head above the surrounding hills and woods, the Saint Charles, which had called up my memory of Saint Peter's in Rome, was no more than a hotel! Here is the sovereign people who build palaces to shelter their heads for a night! Here is the religion which is dedicated to man as man, and here the marvels of art are lavished on the glorification of the masses." 

 

The line was reprinted as an excerpt in Abroad in America: visitors to the new nation, 1776-1914, edited by Marc Pachter and Frances Stevenson Wein and published in 1976.  (We can assume that Preiss saw the reprinted quote, rather than the original, because he used another quotation from Abroad in America as a clue in Verse 6.)

 

FirstStCharlesHotelEngravedView

St. Charles Hotel, artist not credited [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

  The hotel Sarmiento was describing was the St. Charles Hotel on St. Charles Street. The hotel is described this way in New Orleans: A Pictorial History, by Leonard Victor Huber:

 

"The St. Charles was the most admired building in the New Orleans of the 1840s.  Named for the street on which it stood, this 350-room caravansary, with its huge barroom adorned with a range of Ionic columns and its stately ballroom above it, became the center of business and social life in the American section of the city.  The first St. Charles was surmounted by a cupola and dome 46 feet in diameter, which, with its lantern, rose to a height of 185 feet above street level.  The dome of the St. Charles was visible for miles, and guests of the hotel who cared to climb to the colonnade and porch, which supported the dome, could get a fine view of the city and the winding Mississippi.  ...  Fire, which broke out on January 18, 1851, in the St. Charles's upper stories soon went out of control due to poor fire-fighting equipment and consumed the hotel, the Verandah Hotel across the street, and continued up St. Charles Street all the way to Lafayette Street, destroying fifteen buildings, including Dr. Clapp's Strangers' Church."

 

 The St. Charles Hotel was located on St. Charles Avenue between Common Street and Gravier Street.  The location is only one block away from Canal Street.  A pedestrian traveling between Lafayette Square and St. Louis Cathedral would pass the site of the St. Charles Hotel along the way.  (Lafayette Square is on St. Charles Avenue and the cathedral is on Royal Street.  St. Charles Avenue turns into Royal Street when it crosses Canal Street.)

 

- The St. Charles hotel burned down twice and was rebuilt both times, but it finally met its end in 1974.  The April 2015 issue of Preservation in Print described the end of the hotel this way:

 

 

  Place St. Charles, located at 201 St. Charles Ave, is the current structure standing where the St Charles Hotel once stood.  It isn't clear whether construction would have already begun on the new structure at the time when Preiss was visiting.

 

Gnomes admire

Fays delight

The namesakes meeting

Near this site.

- This is possibly both the most perplexing and most important section of the verse.  For the sake of organization, let's divide the analysis into two parts:

 

 

"NAMESAKES"

- The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "namesake" as "one that has the same name as another; especially : one who is named after another or for whom another is named."  Note the ambiguity of the ordering.  A namesake can be the first thing that had the name or it can be the thing that was named later in honor of the first thing.

 

  If we are looking for the namesakes of gnomes and fays, then we are looking for either:

  • the original origins of the words "gnome" and "fay," or
  • two things that were named after gnomes and fays.

  Neither of those things seems like something we would see in the business district of an American city.

 

- A more likely interpretation might be that Preiss was using "namesakes" playfully and we are really looking for two places (probably businesses) that sound like "gnome" and "fay."  Given the location, it's very possible that the match for "gnome" is going to be an acronym that starts with "New Orleans."  Until recently, the New Orleans Music Exchange (NOME) existed at 5434 Magazine St, but who knows where it might have been in 1980. Jimmy Glickman opened the New Orleans Music Exchange in 1993. There was a Nome Credit Unit listed as  operating in 1982 according to the public records in the New Orleans Public Library but the address can only be seen in person as they have not digitized their files. There's also an Irish pub called Fahy's at 540 Burgundy St.  Again, it's anyone's guess where this might have been located 35 years ago.

 

- The English fairy derives from Old French form faierie, a derivation from faie (from Vulgar Latin fata) with the abstract noun suffix -erie. In Old French romance, a faie or fee was a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs.   This definition strongly suggests a link to Marie LaVeau. Namesakes meet at this site could then possibly be the meeting of St. Louis St and St. Louis Cemetery #1, where LaVeau is buried. 

 

 

"THIS SITE"

- The words "this site" suggest that we should already be in the appropriate place by this point, and the gnome and fay matches are simply noted to confirm the spot.  Based on the clues in the image and verse, there are two likely places where we should be standing:

  • The Piazza d'Italia at Lafayette and South Peters is a strong match for many of the clue in Image 7.  It has pillars, arches, a large clock with Roman numerals, and a design centered on interrupted circles.  An Italian piazza is also a traditional gathering place for friends, making it a natural match for the earlier lines in the verse.
  • The former site of the St. Charles Hotel is the other strong possibility.  The arrows around the edge of the clock in Image 7 strongly suggest that we are meant to take either of two routes from the piazza to the block where the hotel once stood.  That impression is, of course, strongly confirmed by the way the Sarmiento quote describing the hotel comes directly after the line about "sound of friends."  The way that the progression from piazza to hotel is referenced in both image and verse makes it very like that this interpretation is correct.

 

-  If "this site" refers to the Piazza d'Italia, then the nearby place might be the American Italian Museum located next door.  There may be a sign or a display that mentions two people whose names sound like "fay" and "gnome."

 

-  If "this site" refers to the site of the former St. Charles Hotel, then we are on the block bounded by St. Charles Ave., Common St., Carondelet St., and Gravier St.  There would have been many small businesses in that area in 1980, but most of them have probably changed by now.  What we need are photos, directories, guidebooks, or anything else that would tell us the names of the what was located in this spot when Preiss came by.

 

 

Other possibilities:

- Dryades Street and Cours de Naides (now St Charles Avenue) were named after wood and water sprites respectively. They run parallel but originate near Lee Circle (source: The Majesty of St Charles Avenue [book]).  More info.

 

- St. Charles Avenue intersects Lafayette Street at Lafayette Square.  One could argue that the name "Lafayette" has a connection to the word "fay" (although Wikipedia says that the name actually comes "from the occitan words la faieta that designate a beech forest").  It's harder to argue that a street named after naiads (Cours de Naides, now St Charles Avenue) could be a namesake for gnomes.

 

- It's a ridiculous long shot, but there's an unobtrusive marker on the corner of St. Charles and Common that commemorates the southern terminus of the Jefferson Highway.  It would be an amazing thing if someone could find a way to link "gnome" to Winnipeg and "fay" to New Orleans (or vice-versa).

 

- Verses 11 and 12 (Gnomes admire  Fays delight) form a perfect anagram: "Montreal hides fays' gem: dig"

 

  For anyone who's having trouble keeping track of the New Orleans landmarks referenced in this verse, here's an aerial view with the main features labeled.

 

  1. The Superdome (the moon in Image 7).
  2. Lee Circle and St. Charles Avenue, which together form a shape like the "second hand" on the clock.
  3. The blocks where St. Mary's Park runs between north and south Diamond streets.
  4. Lafayette Street, which runs a total of (around) 21 blocks.
  5. Lafayette Square, where the three statues stand watch and one monument has the boy with outstretched arms.
  6. Piazza d'Italia, which has the pillars, arches, clock, and concentric circles.
  7. Place St. Charles, where the Saint Charles Hotel once stood.
  8. Hotel Monteleone, where the grandfather clock is in the lobby.
  9. Jackson Square, where there's a black horse with an open mouth.
  10. Preservation Hall.
  11. Armstrong Park.

 

 

 

Note that, in a truly bizarre coincidence, St. Mary's Park currently runs into a building with "PRESERVATION" in big letters on the side.  It looks like a clue, but it's not, because the Preservation Resource Center only purchased the building in March of 1998.  Prior to that, the Preservation Resource Center was located in a row house at 604 Julia St.

 

 

  

Phone Book Searchers Needed!

  Our best hope of moving forwards with the New Orleans search would be to find the place where the namesakes of "gnome" and "fay" once met.  Those namesakes are very likely gone after 35 years, which means we need some Louisiana volunteers to carefully go through old phone books to find the right matches.  Here are three places where searchers can get access to those records:

 

  So once you finally get access to a New Orleans city directory from 1981, what are you searching for?  Here are the top searches we would like to see happen:

  1. First, just search directly for businesses named "Gnome" or "Fay" (like "Gnome Booksellers" or "Fay's Famous Barbeque.")  It's extremely unlikely that this search will turn up anything, but it's the obvious first base to touch.
  2. Look for something named "Nome."  There's currently a Nome Federal Credit Union on Canal Street.  Was there something in 1981?
  3. Look for anything that starts "Greater New Orleans M_____ ."   That should still be a fairly easy search.  There won't be a lot of things starting like that.
  4. If those first searches don't turn up anything, this is where the real searching begins.  If the namesake for gnome has the initials NOME, then our best bet is that the "NO" stands for "New Orleans," but that start will still leave us with a long list of possibilities.  We need someone to go through all the business and government listings looking at everything that starts "New Orleans M_____ " to find something that has a fourth word starting with E.  For example, until recently there was a New Orleans Music Exchange.  There must have been other things as well. 

 

  It's probably not worth even trying for the "fay" reference at this point because we have no idea what the first letter might represent.  But if we can get a list of possible matches for GNOME - with their addresses - we can use a reverse directory to look up whatever other businesses were operating near the same location.  Once we find the gnome reference, we'll have enough of a foothold to find our way to the fay namesake as well.

 

  If you're a New Orleans searcher willing to help with this task, please stay in contact and keep us all informed of your progress so we'll know what still needs to be done.  Good luck!

 

 

Other Notes:

  • The quotation from Abroad in America is the strongest piece of evidence tying this to New Orleans.

 

 

 

Comments (74)

Mitchel Whitington said

at 5:52 pm on Sep 11, 2016

"In the middle of twenty-one From end to end"
It was previously mentioned that Lafayette Street in New Orleans is 21 blocks long, so here is some info about that. Looking at that with the perspective of Lafayette Square being the location, here goes...

From end to end, Lafayette Street has the following intersections:
Galvez St., Johnson St., Prieur St., Roman St., Bertrand St., Bolivar St., Claiborne Ave., <Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1975>, <Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1976>, Rampart St., O'Keefe Ave., Baronne St., Carondelet St., St. Charles Ave., <Lafayette Square>, Camp St., Magazine St., Constance St., Tchoupitoulas St., Commerce St., Peters St., Fulton St., Convention Center Blvd., Poydras St.

Lafayette St. dead ends into the Superdome, and picks back up after the Hyatt Regency. Both would have been there when the casque was buried. If you don't count them as blocks, and take out Lafayette Square (the street doesn't pass through it), then Lafayette St. really is 21 blocks long. Going strictly by number of blocks, "In the middle of twenty-one from end to end" would be at the intersection of Lafayette St. and Carondelet St., however, which is two blocks away from Lafayette Square. Of course, there are many ways to look at "in the middle"... and this is starting to feel like I'm desperately trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. But having said that, if you interpret "end to end" to mean the contiguous part of the street - Rampart to Fulton - and look at an online map, then Lafayette Square is in the middle. Doing that negates the whole "21 blocks long" thing, though. Throw in the fact that Lafayette St. is pedestrian-only between Camp and Magazine Streets, and this seems to be really grasping.

Denae said

at 12:33 pm on Jan 22, 2018

Has anyone explored he possibility of this verse referring to City Park in New Orleans? I can make several connections with verse phrases to places in the Park, but I can’t really connect Image 7 with City Park. Any ideas?

NYBass said

at 12:36 pm on Jan 23, 2018

I think City Park is a brilliant idea.
1. City Park has Bayou Bridge, which has the same arch as the top of the clock.
2. The horse head in the image = Carousel Gardens
gnomes and fays (fairies)....Storyland Park?

what are your thoughts?

Denae said

at 2:04 pm on Jan 23, 2018

Several of the bridges in the park have the same kind of arch. Hyam’s Fountain has an jnscription that reads “By bequest, Mrs. Chapman H. Hyams left her jewels to Audubon and City Parks, the proceeds of which were to build a testimonial of her love for her home city. This fountain was erected March 1921 in a faithful endeavor to realize her wishes. She loved the beautiful and gave that all might enjoy." which may be a reference to “at the place where jewels abound.” ALSO several of the horses in the carousel have jewels as eyes so that could also be a reference to the jewels abound line. There are several things about preservation in city park. I was definitely thinking Storyland as the gnomes and fairies reference. Oh, and the sleeve does look like the Mississippi River, but it also resembles a bayou that runs through City Park.
A few things still have me stumped though:
1. The hotel reference in the verse. I can’t find anything in the park that may have been a hotel at one time or refers to the Saint Charles Hotel. (I did find a plaque for a former plantation home though?)
2. In the middle of twenty-one still isn’t clear, and I wonder why he wrote out the words instead of using the number 21
3. In the picture, the mask that seems to resemble Louis doesn’t make sense with city park. I haven’t found anything about him in the park (yet)

I have a spot near Jackson Square that I want to check out, and then I want to actually walk around City Park and see if I can make any more sense of it possibly being there.

NYBass said

at 2:57 pm on Jan 23, 2018

The hotel reference is clearly a quote that references the St. Charles Hotel.
This made me think of St. Charles Ave, which crosses Audubon Park, but there are more allusions to City Park than Audubon Park.
Preiss seems to enjoy whimsy: the St. Augustine, Houston and Raleigh locations are all linked to local family-style amusement park areas.
He also seems to associate with public areas that are off the beaten path, such as the Boston, Milwaukee, Chicago and Cleveland locations.

So with this in mind, City Park seems to play into the former, moreso I think, than Audubon Park.
Could the 15 rows and middle of 21 have anything to do with the city planning of New Orleans? The blocks are all grid-like.

It would seem like the clue of *exactly* where it's buried lies in the picture rather than the verse. There are more specifics in the clock image that need interpretation, that might make more sense once close to the site.

Still, the whimsy of City Park / storyland points me in that direction as well.

Denae said

at 4:23 pm on Jan 23, 2018

I wish I had access to exactly what Preiss had back in 1980, maps and park layouts, etc. City Park was badly damaged during Katrina so if the casque was buried there, it's likely that a lot of the references have changed, or no longer exist which would make it near impossible to find without a lot of luck.

There's another user that's pretty active on the image thread who lives near NOLA and thinks he has a location determined. I'm hoping to meet up with him and some friends this weekend to walk through what we've both come up with. He checked one of his theories this past weekend, but didn't turn up anything. Sooooo I guess we'll see!

Melanie M said

at 7:39 pm on Feb 3, 2018

Hi - I"m new here and am looking at both City Park and Armstrong. A few things that could be in City Park's favor - for consideration - I actually haven't been there since the 80s' so am relying on second hand info.

The sleeve of the jester/werewolf imitates not only the Miss. but also the creek in the south half of the park
Native Americans lived on the land in the 1600s as part of a trading route (tie to the turquoise and possibly the shelter reference in the verse)?
McDonogh (founder of the Times-Picayune) bought the land from the Allards, who built a plantation on the land (this is the newspaper boy image on the clock)?
Shelter - one city park site I found said that in 1938, a Works Progress Administration project developed the park’s infrastructure, creating shelter houses, pathways and bridges, and commissioned various sculptures

DanaSkully said

at 6:42 pm on Feb 10, 2018

I see a few people talking about Storyland in New Orleans being a possibility with this verse. A couple years ago, I was on the same track and downloaded a few articles from the Times Picayune which convinced me that Storyland was much different in Preiss' time. By 1983 the city had so many complaints and Storyland was so run down, they did quite a refurbishment. There was a "Little Casino" where the gift shop now stands and I believe the characters are different now, or at least the statues are new. If you go to "All Files" on this wiki and type "Storyland" in the search bar, 4 pdfs will appear about Storyland. Some of these have pictures. In the "Letter to the Editor" pdf, said letter is at the bottom center of the page. The 1971 article describes (a little bit) what it was probably like in Preiss' time.

Jess said

at 7:32 am on Feb 16, 2018

http://originalpeople.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/06-Congo-Square-History_jpg.jpg

"Sound of friends fills the afternoon hours". Only solid reference to afternoon specific activity!

GreenQueens said

at 10:38 am on Apr 14, 2018

One additional reference worth mentioning is Lafayette Square. Even in the 1800s in the second oldest park in the city there is record of music events on the plaza and people gathering to socialize in one of the first "suburbs" outside of the French Quarter. Music has been apart of the park on Wednesdays for what I understand when and prior to when PB would have been here. Weekly during the summer tourist season. I confirmed with friends and locals it has been going on since the 80's. The big attraction is that it is free for all that want to come. I work a few blocks away and you can hear the music and the people having fun.

Jess said

at 12:31 pm on Apr 14, 2018

I think Lafayette is generally considered a leading possibility for this, as a busy meeting place. However, I think it lacks the specificity regarding ‘afternoon hours’ for me to believe it unreservedly.

Robert said

at 9:08 pm on Feb 22, 2018

Hello all, native New Orleanian here... I just heard about this book and puzzles with the Josh Gates show a few days ago (could have been recorded earlier - love Tivo!). When I saw the hand my first thought was not the loupgarou which is more Cajun (Lafayette and the Acadiana region), but Marie Laveau which is distinctly New Orleans. Marie Laveau's buried at St Louis Cemetary #1.

If you came down the 15 steps down the levee at Artillery Park, you would be facing Jackson Square and the clockface above the Cathedral. To the left of the Cathedral as you look at it is St Peter's which takes you past Pres. Hall and that door way across the street. You will come out at Rampart at the left side of Congo Square. To the left 2 block and 1 in, is St. Louis #1 where Laveau is buried. To the right Congo Square, is Louis Armstrong Park. Armstrong opened in 1980... but was redone. They added statues, I'm not sure how many were there originally to stand watch.

If my google maps counting is right there are 21 pavers from street to gave. 1/2 way through, to the entrance side are 3 palm trees. BUT, what was there in 82?

jhdubya said

at 11:04 pm on Mar 5, 2018

the clock points to "Preservation"
if one is at Lee Circle and orients the clock like a compass towards Preservation Resource Center (NOT Preservation Hall), then the line and cirlcle to the right is located right at Coliseum Square Park.
Lee Circle monument has 15 steps down. "15 rows to the ground"
It is also a starting point for Mardi Gras parades "jewels abound" and is right near North and South Diamond Streets

Oregonian said

at 10:53 pm on Mar 11, 2018

Prior to the year 2000, the Preservation Resource Center was located on Julia St in the row houses (604 Julia St).

jhdubya said

at 11:11 pm on Mar 5, 2018

further: "in the middle of twenty one From end to end, only three stand watch"
Coliseum Square Park has 21 lamp posts from end to end. there are 3 lamp posts that go across the park.
so if you read it as "in the middle, of 21 from end to end, only 3 stand watch" that would logically mean in the middle of the park there are 3 lamp posts "watching" and 21 lamp posts are from one end of the park to the other at the longest points.

RLee Waldron said

at 11:03 am on Mar 26, 2018

I found this little passage online:

During his stay in New Orleans, [Oscar] Wilde accepted several invitations from commercial clubs and polite society. But he also took time out to call upon Mary Ashley Townsend ("Xariffa"), a critically acclaimed poet of the South. Wilde visited her at her residence and spoke in praise of her work and charming hospitality.
Below is an example of her New Orleans metaphor.

Down the Bayou

"The cypress swamp around me wraps its spell,
With hushing sounds in moss-hung branches there,
Like congregations rustling down to prayer,
While Solitude, like some unsounded bell,
Hangs full of secrets that it cannot tell,
And leafy litanies on the humid air
Intone themselves, and on the tree-trunks bare
The scarlet lichen writes her rubrics well.
The cypress-knees take on them marvellous shapes
Of pygmy nuns, gnomes, goblins, witches, fays,
The vigorous vine the withered gum-tree drapes,
Across the oozy ground the rabbit plays,
The moccasin to jungle depths escapes,
And through the gloom the wild deer shyly gaze."

Distaff and Spindle: Sonnets, Lippincott, 1895

Jess said

at 9:15 am on Apr 3, 2018

There was a comment about this a few months back (possibly deleted now), where I think someone had suggested cypress trees might be the link. I feel like there might have been a cypress ‘forest’ somewhere near esplanades (which is also possibly named after wood nymphs). That’s as much as I can remember... not sure it was ever really followed up?

RLee Waldron said

at 9:33 am on Apr 13, 2018

I think the connection would more be cypress knees than the trees themselves. The trees are rare inside the city, and the knees are even rarer, as they require the root system to spend a significant portion of time inundated. One of the few parks that I can think of that even has the trees is Armstrong Park. I hope to go look around and catalog which parks have cypress trees, and which have cypress knees [that look older than 30 years old).

Linda S said

at 12:55 pm on Apr 10, 2018

Just read about Keller, way to go...

Linda S said

at 12:55 pm on Apr 10, 2018

Kang said

at 11:01 pm on Apr 12, 2018

Untested theory on "Gnomes admire - Fays delight - The namesakes meeting - Near this site." When I'm trying to riddle something out - sometimes I go back to the text/prose of the book.

I think maybe the first section are hints to the city and immigration country for this puzzle. In the book, the Gnomes fair folk are from "The Lowlands." Holland. An area at or below sea level. Just like New Orleans. The Fay fair folk are from France. The immigration theme country. So those may have been hints for those.

Next - The the two lines in The Litany for this puzzle are:
Turquoise the Fays of France keep: stone
Rare as a blue midsummer's day.

First thought was that maybe midsummer's day - might be a play on words reference to Shakespeare's a Midsummer's Night Dream.

The two main characters are Oberon and Titania. They are the King and the Queen of the Elves. Fits the theme of the book.
https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/m/a-midsummer-nights-dream/character-list

One of the oldest krewes - hosts of the Mardi Gras balls are named "The Elves of Oberon." How could Preiss do a NOLA puzzle without a Mardi gras reference - each ball for which has a King and Queen - like the play? So they might be the namesakes - having taken their name from the play. They originally used to host their balls at the famous French Opera House. Long gone, but which used to be at the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse. Maybe this is the 'site' that something is 'near.'Or an intersetion (or near) along our journey. Or near the site where they have the ball now. Etc.

I haven't figured it all out. Throwing it out there for discussion. Perhaps someone from NOLA or folks more familiar with this puzzle can take some of that and put the pieces together. Thoughts anyone?

Jess said

at 3:42 am on Apr 13, 2018

I know basically nothing about the Mardi Gras balls, but I like the thinking of the French/Dutch connection. I think that’s a good line of interpretation. Unfortunately the only thing I can think of both loving are pancakes. Purely coincidentally- and I by no means say this seriously but because it is an amusing thought to have had- Mardi Gras is celebrated in the UK as ‘pancake day’.

RLee Waldron said

at 9:27 am on Apr 13, 2018

The more famous venue for the EofO ball is the Municipal Auditorium, which even has a plaque stating that the EofO ball was the first to use the municipal auditorium. Th Elves hosted their ball there from the construction of the Municipal auditorium until its closing due to Katrina in 2005. This is also the location that the Meeting of the Courts of Rex and Comus at the time that BP would have visited the city and written his book; I've often wondered if that is the "meeting" referred to in the verse.

Kang said

at 1:08 pm on Apr 13, 2018

RLee - I think you may have cracked it! Isn't the Municipal Auditorium in Armstrong Park!!? Or perhaps part of Congo Square right next door? Either would fit neatly with "near this site." Or maybe the Courts of Rex and Comus is the 'meeting' reference. Either way may work.

Is Armstrong Park not also the general consensus of the burial spot? Or is there not really a consensus on that?

Jess said

at 2:55 pm on Apr 13, 2018

I actually remember talking about the idea of the theatre mask representing the Mahalia Jackson theatre/municipal auditorium with someone in the comments a month or so ago... annoyingly I don’t remember who, but someone based in NOLA focussed on the park. I remember hypothesising something like how if you take the picture as a map of LA park, the way the mask overlaps the theatre is like where the theatre overlaps the water (or something very similar).

Jess said

at 2:44 pm on Apr 13, 2018

Interesting... comus is Latin for comedy. Could that white mask the theatrical mask for comedy?

Robert said

at 3:24 pm on Apr 13, 2018

If that's the case, the masks are Thalia and Melpomene -- both streets in New Orleans. Just the other side of the expressway (south-ish -- nothing's straight in NO) from Lafayette Square. The streets are 1 block from each other.

Jess said

at 3:47 pm on Apr 13, 2018

Interesting... though I can’t think why gnomes and fays would be interested in those masks.

Apparently there’s some kind of creepy Milton play called the mask/masque of comus but I feel that’s a little out there. Am I allowed to just stick with the link between the theatre and the laughing mask/festival holders name?

Kaowheat10 said

at 3:10 pm on Apr 13, 2018

I love the Municipal Auditorium actually being At the Place where Jewels Abound. Rex held there balls there every year for 6 decades. There was a time in the 70s were there would be almost 70 balls being held there from Xmas to Fat Tuesday per year. Great catch.


http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/article_bd2c6453-4e75-55c8-9446-af48a0693c0d.html

Jess said

at 3:20 pm on Apr 13, 2018

I’m growing more and more convinced by the park campus now. I still refuse to believe the ‘afternoon hours’ line can be about anything other than Congo square. Somewhat controversially, I actually think the soverign people building palaces line could have been used to zero in on NOLA in general, not the St Charles Hotel, and also referred to the slaves at Congo square.

Kaowheat10 said

at 3:47 pm on Apr 13, 2018

I agree that the St. Charles Hotel line is to let you know that the verse 100% matches to the image.

Jess said

at 3:53 pm on Apr 13, 2018

Hypothetically, that direct quote could have just been a kind of additional ‘Easter Egg’ to confirm the city for anyone who did come across that particular book/quote. Given that nobody had google in the 1980s, it would be ridiculous to expect people to find that exact sentence. Therefore it would make sense if it was also a clue in itself, that you didn’t need the quote for.

Jess said

at 4:32 pm on Apr 13, 2018

There’s another good article here:
https://prcno.org/municipal_auditorium/

Also (apologies if this is obvious to anyone actually familiar with it), apparently the ‘Meeting’ of the Rex and comus courts traditionally marks the end of the carnivals (as below, from 2017):

“As of midnight Tuesday and the meeting of Rex and Comus courts, carnival will come to a close.”

Does anyone know of this always happens at midnight? If so, could be another link to the image!

Robert said

at 5:26 pm on Apr 13, 2018

As long as I can remember, yes. Both balls were at the auditorium, and at midnight they would meet and that's the end of MG and beginning of Lent. Also at midnight, the "Parade of Street Sweepers" starts rolling through the Quarter led by the NOPD on horseback. It's kind of cool to see.

Jess said

at 4:20 am on Apr 14, 2018

RLee, do you happen to know how long that plaque would have been there? Would be good to get a photo of it if it’s likely to have predated the book!

RLee Waldron said

at 1:56 am on Apr 16, 2018

I don't know, but it didn't look new back in 2005 the last time I was in there.

Robert said

at 10:29 am on Apr 13, 2018

The Auditorium is right there next to Congo Square and Armstrong Park...

Jess said

at 12:11 pm on Apr 13, 2018

As mentioned before, I actually think the mask looks more like a theatre mask than a Mardi Gras one. Another point for the auditorium possibly being significant.

RLee Waldron said

at 1:58 am on Apr 16, 2018

I think it can serve a dual role in bringing you to an area of theatres. Mahalia Jackson and the Municipal auditorium are right next to each other. both venues have hosted both plays and balls.

Oregonian said

at 11:27 am on Apr 13, 2018

A lot of people - including me - have explored various "otherworldly" creatures to explain the last four lines of this verse. We've looked at werewolves, muses, characters in Storyland, and creatures from the back pages of the book. But the problem with all of these is that such creatures wouldn't be "namesakes." They might be friends, family, relatives, or whatever, but they wouldn't be namesakes.

After poking through all those other theories, the only thing that really seems to work for me is acronyms. Most people would agree that, yes, a U.S. Navy SEAL is a "namesake" for a real seal (the animal). So, if this is right, we're looking for a place where the initials G.N.O.M.E. (or N.O.M.E.) are near the initials F.A.Y. Those occurrences wouldn't be likely in most places, but this is New Orleans, which gives us a huge boost on that first one. We could be looking for something like "General New Orleans Medical Examiner" or "New Orleans Music Exchange." The second one could just be any law firm or LLC where the partners have the right initials ("Fanning and Yellen, Attorneys at Law" or something like that). Preiss would have expected us to see the signs for these places AFTER we followed the other clues and reached the right spot.

If I'm right about this, we've got two challenges: The first is that the businesses may not still exist or operate under the same name that they used in 1980. The second is that there's no easy way that I know of to do a search on just initials. If we're looking for a business or government office with the initials F.A.Y., we've got to go through the entire "F" section of the phone book, looking at every possible name or word that could match the first letter. It's a needle-in-a-haystack search, which is probably why no one has found the match yet, but it isn't impossible.

(Post 1 of 2)

Oregonian said

at 11:41 am on Apr 13, 2018

One of our wiki members, ldpater, did great work recently by going to the "Historic New Orleans Collection" research center and finding that they do have old phone books on microfiche! Those phone books are probably our best chance of finding the right initials (if that's really what Preiss wanted us to find).

New Orleans searchers would need to organize a methodical effort and divide up the labor. (I wish we could crowd-source this, but I doubt the phone books are available on the web or anywhere outside the city.) The three sections of the phone book that would need to be examined are "F," "G," and "N." People would need to scan down each column on each page, looking for combinations of words that would make the right set of initials. I really have no idea how many pages that would be or how long it would take. It's a tough search but, at the moment, it's the only idea I've got for solving this one.

(Post 2 of 2)

Kang said

at 9:09 pm on Apr 13, 2018

I'll add a 'just a thought' too - Gnomes admire - Fays delight - could be, but does not need to be followed by a 'thing.' A thing we need to figure out. It could just describe what they are doing. As in a verb? (Not sure if that's the right grammatical term).

Say if they were at a party, or a ball. (Hmm.) Gnomes admire. As in that's what the gnomes are doing - they're admiring. (Us gnomes have been known to do that at a party). And Fays delight. That's what they're doing - they're having fun. Or they're delighting in the attention (of the gnomes). Would be like saying Men admire - women delight. Just a thought.

Jess said

at 4:16 am on Apr 14, 2018

I always read it as a verb, though grammatically it could be an object also. My reading was that they are exited and pleased by the meeting of the namesakes. Glad someone else has an appreciation of the possibilities in the grammar- someone got pissed at me for discussing this once!

Jess said

at 4:49 am on Apr 14, 2018

I also looked at the word namesakes again- I’ve always generally taken it to mean something named after something else, but in the oxford dictionary apparently it’s also just two things with the same name. Thought this might be helpful for anyone else hell bent on trying to find something specifically named after something else.

RLee Waldron said

at 2:02 am on Apr 16, 2018

I've gotten pretty hung up on his usage of the word "namesake", and how it could relate to my theories (cypress knees and courts).

If Tom Smith has a bridge named after him - "The Tom Smith Memorial Bridge" - Is Tom the namesake, or is the bridge?

Jess said

at 5:01 am on Apr 16, 2018

I'm confused by this too. Surely the namesake can't be both the original and the tribute? Which would mean it shouldn't be plural if it's these two things meeting. Which makes me think it could plausibly just be two things with the same name.

Kaowheat10 said

at 6:22 am on Apr 16, 2018

Why couldn’t it just be as simple as St. Ann st running through the Louis Armstrong Arch? Louis Ann. It would be namesakes (plural). St. Ann street runs between the park and Congo square and past the auditorium.

Jess said

at 6:52 am on Apr 16, 2018

That’s not a bad call- 2 roads named after things (ie two namesakes) that meet to make a bigger name. Not sure this is something the fair people specifically would delight at, but there’s no reason these two lines couldn’t be separate clues. As good as any other contender out there!

GreenQueens said

at 8:08 pm on Apr 16, 2018

Absolutely agree it’s not definitive, but and sorry if this is a repeat but I still think namesakes meeting could be the two pieces of Lafayette St meeting at Lafayette Square.

Jess said

at 11:51 pm on Apr 16, 2018

Though it’s not a word meaning this, the suffix ‘ette’ means small version of something (ie kitchenette). So broken down in crude French, Lafayette would mean ‘small fairy’ (though really la fee-ette: don’t know if ette is ever added when a word ends in ‘e’; should have listened better in French class.

Jess said

at 11:53 pm on Apr 16, 2018

There is a part of me that wonders why the gnomes are mentioned- but again it could be that the two lines stand alone and the caveman French is irrelevant.

Jess said

at 12:31 am on Apr 17, 2018

And actually, whether it’s a French word or not, ‘fayette’would mean ‘small fay’ even if not literally ‘small fairy’. Fay is what he names the French fair people who own the turquoise in the book (and the ones delighting), so that it isn’t the French word meaning fairy doesn’t matter.

ldpater said

at 3:51 am on Apr 18, 2018

I am just going to put this out here for a possibility .... I have always considered the "gnomes admire, fays delight" reference to children, don't know why... i just do. Living in NOLA and attending public schools, every May, the schools would send children with flowers to honor John McDonough at his monument in Lafayette Square. The children collected money to purchase this monument in his honor in the late 1890's. The plaque actually states that it is from the "Public School Children." Could it be that this is what BP is referring to... the school boys are admiring and the school girls are delighting in honor of John McDonough leaving his fortune to the children for their education??

Oregonian said

at 10:01 am on Apr 23, 2018

I'm increasingly inclined to believe that "Fifteen rows down to the ground" refers to the steps on Gallier Hall, across St. Charles Avenue from the John McDonogh Monument. Could someone in New Orleans go there and get some very clear photos so we can have some solid evidence? (Even if the count is off by one today, there's a small chance that Preiss made a mistake or that an additional step was added at street level as part of some change in the sidewalk.)

Tina Ramos said

at 12:17 pm on Apr 23, 2018

My daughter just stopped by there and it is 16 steps down to the ground.

GreenQueens said

at 7:48 am on May 10, 2018

I can post pics of the steps tomorrow. There has been lots of road work over the years due to the street cars. The street appears to be lower than in some of the older pictures which could explain the extra step. I have spent many days eating lunch across the street in the park pondering that very issue.

GreenQueens said

at 8:57 pm on May 11, 2018

I uploaded the best pic I had of GH Stairs. The shadows don't help but here are 16 steps. The curb is now almost level with the street. I believe the curb was higher and may have been at the level of the last stair.

GreenQueens said

at 7:49 am on May 10, 2018

Sorry meant to say the curb is lower not the street.

Kang said

at 8:14 pm on May 17, 2018

For anyone working on the "Fifteen rows down to the ground" line who might be thinking the Artillery Park steps next to Jackson Square and wondering what it looked like back then - I found this photo from 1978. If it helps.
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126427781/JacksonSquareSteps1978.JPG

GreenQueens said

at 7:54 pm on May 18, 2018

Kang any pics of the back side? Some people have proposed that the spot could be behind the steps, but today there is (and has been) heavy construction.

GreenQueens said

at 11:07 am on May 20, 2018

The area beneath the wall that is behind the stairs. In between the wall and the moonwalk, by the parking lot. There is construction going on there right now and has been several times over the years.

Kang said

at 5:09 pm on May 20, 2018

@GreenQueens - I wasn't real optimistic on this one, but happily turned up quite a few. Some have little detail or bad angles and there's a big chunk of time missing. If you're interested in any of these let me know and I'll send you the originals. They'll be uncropped and of better quality. Cheers!
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484727/WAPoverheads.JPG
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484745/WAPpre-81.JPG
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484751/WAP99-07.JPG
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484757/WAP008-2011.JPG
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484763/WAP2014-date.JPG
http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/126484766/WAPundated.JPG

Brad said

at 2:53 am on Nov 23, 2018

Has anyone looked into a Mardi Gras association with this verse?
I have been looking through stuff and have seen a few cross-overs and wondering if anyone else has done work on it...

At the place where jewels abound (Mardi Gras... New Orleans)
Fifteen rows down to the ground (Mardi gras route? Typically unchanged for each Krewe)(Could this be an exact location? Location at the start of a verse!)
In the middle of twenty-one
From end to end
Only three stand watch (Some Mardi Gras routes pass Gallier Hall at Lafeyette Square, supporting the above analysis)
As the sound of friends
Fills the afternoon hours (Mardi Gras)
Here is a sovereign people (Soveriegn. Ruler. King Queen. Rex and Comus Krewes had Kings and Queens)
Who build palaces to shelter
Their heads for a night! (Palaces are floats? Palaces are the balls that are held by Rex and Comus Krewes? These occur on one (a) night only.)
Gnomes admire (here I'm lost)
Fays delight
The namesakes meeting (At the end of Mardi Gras, The King and Queen of Mardi Gras (Rex Krewe king), goes to the Comus ball and is met by the King and Queen from Comus. King and King, Queen and Queen not named the same, consequently namesakes)
Near this site. (Where were the Balls held around 1980? What else is there that can nail down the exact casque location???)

Thoughts?

Brad said

at 9:13 pm on Nov 23, 2018

If people have thoughts on this, please post them here rather than in my personal email.
Also, please only comment if you have a pretty solid theory either to help, or pretty strong evidence against. A small theory or telling me that I am incorrect won't help push theories forwards. For example, telling someone there is no treasure in New Orleans is something that can only definitely be said by the person who found the casque, or the late Byron Preiss.
Thanks for your consideration and assistance.

jhdubya said

at 8:37 pm on Feb 18, 2019

Fays delight =Euterpe Street...the fairy (fay) of delight
Gnomes admire = this is tough. Garden gnomes should be an instant thought. Garden District. Who would Garden gnomes admire?
Lafon created the Garden District in New Orleans. There is a fountain named Lafon Fountain in the Garden District near Euterpe St.
It is a park just like the other successful finds. Not too famous or impossible to bury the casque.
?

Guardian said

at 3:08 pm on Nov 30, 2018

There’s no question about Milwaukee, but someone snagged it. And yes,it’s the only one on this forum that’s right. But there’s no question about Hermann Park and Golden Gate Park, even though the exact spots are wrong. In fact, my early overenthusiasm is responsible for the Houston “line of sight” gaffe, which I have to keep repeating I’ve redcinded. I suspect NYC is the only one not in a park, but it’s close. And a new photo has emerged showing the green fence wasn’t at FOY in ‘81, so that blows that theory. The “outline of Florida” in I6 isn’t Florida, it’s a river alongside a park. Finally, the supposed find in NOLA is exactly where I was zeroing in, so I’m convinced that’s it.

Kang said

at 6:11 pm on Nov 30, 2018

Hi Guardian - I'm curious about the '81 FOY photo you mention emerging - but can't seem to turn it up. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Guardian said

at 6:58 pm on Nov 30, 2018

I went looking for it as soon as I posted it, but I can’t find it. I thought it was on FB, and now I think it may have been in a comment—which makes it harder to find!

Linda S said

at 2:04 pm on May 17, 2019

ok have a new theory on New Orleans,, the arch of the clock is the archway to the French Market..fairies and gnomes are gold and silver, the old US mint, it roads around the mint match the image of the hand as broken streets. just need to locate the spot but i believe it to be near the Mint.

BrandonH said

at 2:47 pm on May 17, 2019

I'm looking at a solution in that area also. How do you connect gold and silver to gnomes and fairies?

Linda S said

at 2:52 pm on May 17, 2019

its in the book, if one reads it, there is a lot of info to help connect it together.. we just got back home from a week of walking all over the city and they solve I have come up is totally different then what I thought it would have been. like for the middle of 21 is 11, meaning the 11th ward of New Orleans..i will be putting together my solve soon, I don't know when we will return to NoLa but I would happy to help someone who lives there with clues.

Robert said

at 11:53 am on Nov 5, 2019

I don't believe the poem would jump from a general area to a specific location as proposed in the solution. I believe the "Fifteen rows down to the ground" is quite literal. And it's at where riverboats landed. Today (and back when the book was written) the area towards the river from Jackson Square is the Moonwalk and Washington Artillery Park. The park overlooks Jackson Square and has 15 rows down to the ground of an open amphitheater. I've uploaded a picture from Google street view with the rows marked out - http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/136729419/moonwalk.png

Linda S said

at 11:55 am on Nov 5, 2019

I agree, I have a picture somewhere of an area off the 15th step., if your looking at the river its on the right hand sign,used to be a newspaper stand there, it was fenced off when I wanted to dig.. but I think its in this area also.

Linda S said

at 4:26 pm on Dec 20, 2019

anyone have any information on the River Walk back in 1980s? thank you

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