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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Image 07
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Image 07

Page history last edited by Oregonian 1 year ago

General notes on Image 7

  • This is the image for December (or possibly March).  The presence of turquoise confirms that the immigration reference is to France.  However, many clues suggest that immigration from Italy may also be somehow relevant.
  • This image is thought to be linked to Verse 2 and the search is focused on New Orleans, LA.
  • The proposed solution for this casque is given on the Image 7 Verse 2 Solution page.



Image 7


Specific Observations

  Please record your notes about this image in the list below.  Use the letter/number grid to identify the point on the image that you're describing.  To keep things organized, 1) please start each observation with a letter/number combo (in bold), and 2) add new observations in the right place on the list to keep everything alphabetized.

  • C6 - The clock face shows a full moon, which could possibly be a reference to the Superdome, which was completed in 1975.
  • C6 - Clock with moon and stars resembles New Orleans’ iconic water meter covers. 
  • D3 - The number "19" appears in the upper left corner of the clock face.
  • D3 and D7 - The flowers are narcissus, a birth flower for December, unless there was a mistake and they are actually daffodils, a birth flower for March.  If this is the painting for New Orleans, it would make sense for the month to be March, when Mardi Gras is celebrated.  (See Image 4 for more info.)
  • D5 - The jewel is turquoise, the birth stone for December.
  • D5 - The word "preservation" may be a reference to Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
  • D7 - The number "29" appears in the upper right corner of the clock face. The latitude of Lafayette Square is 29.948N.
  • E5 - The hands on the clock point to 12:00 (presumably midnight, given the moon and stars).
  • F4 (& EFG7) -  In the thin margin just outside the Roman numerals, there are gray boxes at 9:00, 1:30, and 4:30, but there's a black line at 3:00.
  • F5 - The figure on the clock face may be a representation of the boy on the John McDonogh Monument, in Lafayette Square, New Orleans.  He is wearing classic paperboy or “knickerbocker” 1920s style of dress.
  • F6 - It would be unusual to have a seconds hand on a grandfather clock.
  • H3 - The lower left corner of the clock face is obscured by the mask, specifically the numbers 6, 7, and 8.
  • H4 - The mask might be something one would wear at a masked ball or at Mardi Gras.
  • H7 - The number "90" appears in the lower right corner of the clock face. The longitude of Lafayette Square is -90.07W. 
  • K8 to P8 - The checkered stripe running from K8 to P8 looks like a section of Loyola Avenue running from Tulane Ave to Howard Ave (mirrored). 
  • J2 - There's a black smudge here that might be a pair of letters.
  • L4 - The hairy hand with the long fingernails might belong to a werewolf or a rougarou.  The shape of the hand could possibly represent the Mississippi river delta where New Orleans is located at the southeast corner of Louisiana.
  • L4 - The curving lines on the hand may have some symbolic meaning.
  • L8 - The regular checkerboard pattern suddenly changes here as one column almost doubles in width.  This may represent a street grid.
  • N2 - "JJP," the initials of the artist, John Jude Palencar.
  • N3 - The flare of the sleeve resembles the “Preservation” sign from Preservation Jazz Hall (see below).
  • N9 - There is the head of a wolf, horse, dragon or some other animal in one square of the wallpaper.  The shape has several interpretations (see below).  Some people have suggested that the bending lines around the horse head make it look like it's on a bulge or hill in the wallpaper.



Other Notes:

  • Clues in the image and verse point towards landmarks in three of the city's oldest and most historic neighborhoods: the French Quarter, the Central Business District, and the Warehouse District.  These areas were largely spared from the massive destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but they have seen a boom in construction and development, so the location where the casque was buried may have been destroyed.
  • The configuration of circles and a line at E5 resemble an aerial view of Duncan Plaza, however plans were found online that show the park paths were not circular until at least 1986.
  • Sometime around 2003, a treasure hunter using the name of "Johann" on the Q4T site sent a proposed solution to Byron Preiss.  In response, Preiss wrote "Very impressive work esp since the book is 20 years old.  I think you deserve to  know that you are correct about st. Louid,but not correct about the location.thanks for all your excellent work."  (The use of "Louid" was almost certainly a typo, given that the "D" is next to the "S" on a standard keyboard.) 
  • The name "Louis" has many connections to New Orleans.  First and foremost, of course, there is the name of the state: Louisiana.  There is also the famous former resident Louis Armstrong, who is honored in Louis Armstrong Park, a 32-acre park near the historic downtown area.  Beyond that, "Louis" could refer to the St. Louis Cathedral, across from Jackson Square, or to the St. Louis street just two blocks to the southwest.  Any or all of those locations may be connected in some way to this puzzle.
  • The checkered background of the painting may be inspired by the checkered floor pattern of the St. Louis Cathedral.



Image Matches

  The design for the New Orleans image may have been inspired by an ornate grandfather clock that stands in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone.  The hotel is located on Royal Street in the French Quarter. (Click on photo to see larger image.)


  Both clocks are longcase clocks (sometimes called "grandfather clocks").  Most distinctively, they both have wooden cases that arch above the dial to show a disk with a moon that rises and falls in the sky.  Notably though, Image 7 replaces the numbers with Roman numerals, which may be important in some way.


  The hour hand on the hotel clock appears to have a pair of circles that match the circles on the hour hand in the painting.  It would be great if someone could get us a clear, steady close-up of the clock face so we could verify that.


  It seems very likely that the Hotel Monteleone clock was present in the lobby in 1980, but it would also be good to double-check that.  Maybe someone could ask the hotel management?


  Three large, well-known clocks with Roman numerals have been suggested as possible matches for Image 7:


  All three clocks are visible from a distance and all three overlook public gathering places in the city.  Of the three clocks on that list, however, the first two both represent the "4" on the dial as "IIII" rather than "IV." 


  As far as we know, the only large, prominent clock in all of downtown New Orleans that used an "IV" as a "4" in 1980 was the clock at the Piazza.


St. Louis Cathedral

Photo used under a Creative Commons license
Attribution Some rights reserved by David Ohmer

St. Patrick's Church

Photo used under a Creative Commons license
Attribution Some rights reserved by Team at Carnaval.com Studios


Piazza d'Italia

Photo used under a Creative Commons license
Attribution Some rights reserved by nola.agent


  The clock face has many subtle but distinctive features that are likely to be clues:

  • Because of the mask, the clock only shows the hours 9 to 5 ("business hours") which might be hint toward the Central Business District.
  • The mask interrupts the outer and middle circles, but the boy interrupts the inner circles, emphasizing the pattern of concentric circles all missing roughly the same segments.
  • There is a small circle at the end of the second hand (?) and then 10 more similar circles between the digits.
  • There are dark bars under (inwards from) all the digits except the 12.
  • The outer ring has gray boxes at 45, 135, and 270 degrees, but it has a narrow black box at 90 degrees.
  • The spacing between the thin lines that cross the outer ring isn't consistent.  It also isn't symmetrical on the two sides.


  The mask in the center of the picture is a very strong match for the face of Louis Armstrong.  Note the prominent cheekbones, the broad nose, the puffiness around the eyes, and the high forehead with little or no hair.


  Louis Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans and is very closely associated with that city.




  The curves in the sleeve appear to match the (reflected) curves of the Mississippi River as it flows through New Orleans. 


  One of the consistent features of all the images in The Secret is that they always include the detailed shape of a nearby shoreline, probably to tie in with the theme of immigrants arriving by water.

  The pattern of hairs at the wrist seems to form a triangle or a sharp tooth emerging from the sleeve.  

  The checkerboard background pattern of the image includes a faint detail that resembles the head of a wolf or a horse.  In the context of the contrasting squares, it looks like the representation of a knight in a game of chess.


  The most common interpretation of the "wolf head" shape is that it represents the outline of Louisiana, as a hint towards the correct state.  Features such as Vermilion Bay and Marsh Island may be visible.


Image result for louisiana state outline 

  Another theory for the "wolf head" shape in the checkerboard is that it might represent the head of a horse in some statue downtown. In this case, it would be important to find the right statue because it might help us interpret the grid as a map.


  The best match that has been found so far is the head of the horse that Andrew Jackson is riding in the dark-colored statue in Jackson Square. The statue is located in the middle of the square, in line with the giant clock face on the St. Louis Cathedral.


The plaque under the Andy Jackson statue bears the quote "The union must and shall be preserved," which may be connected to the word in the clock face.


Photo used under a Creative Commons License AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Five Low Notes on Flickr

  The grid of squares on the wallpaper suggests that the whole image is a street map.  If so, the moon likely represents the New Orleans Superdome, now renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  In the perspective shown to the right (where northwest is at the top), the two curving exit ramps in the freeway interchange form arches above the dome similar to the arches at the top of the grandfather clock.


  The Superdome is a distinctive feature of the New Orleans skyline because it looks like the top of an enormous white sphere.  The stadium was completed in 1975, so it would have been a new and notable feature when Preiss was there.  (Super Bowl XV was played in the Superdome on January 25, 1981.) 


  Lafayette Street, which passes through Lafayette Square, points almost-but-not-quite directly at the dome.  The dome is a little bit off to the right, similar to the way the moon is a little bit to the right of the line formed by the clock hands in Image 7.


  Note that the aerial view shown at right puts Jackson Square in the lower right corner, corresponding to where the dark horse head is positioned in Image 7.




If the face of the clock corresponds to this view of the downtown area, with the Superdome and the arches of the freeway at the top, then Preiss appears to be restricting us to the Central Business District (the area between the Superdome and the Mississippi).

Highway 90 is our boundary on the left, Interstate 10 is at the top, and Canal Street is our limit on the right.  The square, green park area in the center of the Central Business District (almost directly below the Superdome in the photo above) is Lafayette Square.

  Lafayette Square is the green space directly below the Superdome in the aerial above.  It is positioned (more or less) in the middle of Lafayette Street which (in 1981) ran for 21 blocks.  Most significantly, Lafayette Square has statues of three standing figures - John McDonogh, Henry Clay, and Benjamin Franklin - which makes it almost a certain match for the lines in Verse 2:


In the middle of twenty-one

From end to end

Only three stand watch


  In Lafayette Square, there's also a geodetic stone which looks a bit like the clock face, with text placed on an arc and the texture. It also contains the longitude and latitude, which also match the numbers on the clock face's corners.


  The John McDonogh Monument in Lafayette Square includes a sculpture of a young boy in period costume with one arm hanging down and one arm lifted up.  The figure on the clock in Image 7 isn't identical, but it could be a stylized interpretation of the monument.


  The McDonogh Monument is located at the western edge of the square, directly across St. Charles Avenue from Gallier Hall.


For more information about the monument and the square, see the photo by Wally Gobetz on Flickr.


Photo by Wally Gobetz on Flickr, some rights reserved.

  The individual shown on the clock face appears to be wearing the stereotypical outfit of a 19th-century newsboy, including the cap, cravat, and vest.  (For a detailed list of the articles of clothing, see the Boston Costume website.)


  One odd thing to note about the figure from the clock face is the difference in the hands.  The left hand is realistic, with thumb and fingers visible, but the right hand is deformed into some sort of bulging mitt.  It's very similar to a shoe, with the toe and heel visible.  And the the arcs of the circles go from the strange "hand shoe" to the shoe on the person's foot.


  One way in which the figure on the clock differs from either a newsboy or the boy on the McDonogh monument is in his mismatched leggings.  His right leg appears to be wearing knickers and a knee-high sock, but his left leg appears to be wearing a leg of full-length tights with the same argyle or diamond pattern. 


  That left leg gives the person the appearance of a Harlequin, one of the standard characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte.  A Harlequin is traditionally shown wearing a mask and dressed in colorful clothes with a diamond pattern.



Photo used under a Creative Commons License Attribution Some rights reserved by Chris Brown

  While the figure's tights do seem to be diamond-patterned, the outline doesn't seem to be as sharp or as consistent as it should be.  Some people have suggested that the diamond-like shapes on the left leg are actually letters spelling out "DIG."


  If this is true, it's not clear how it would advance the search or be a useful clue, given that the casques are already known to be buried.

  One of the odd features of the clock is that it has what appears to be a second hand (the shorter hand that goes out horizontally with a circle at the end).

  If Lafayette Square is the center of our "clock face," St. Charles Avenue runs from there straight into Lee Circle as shown in red in the aerial (top right).  The "second hand" on the clock may be a representation of that if it's rotated 180 degrees as shown (lower right).


  The hairy hand with the long, clawlike fingernails almost certainly represents a werewolf (also known as a loup-garou or a rougarou).  In the myths from France and Germany, werewolfs were humans who turned into the form of wolves whenever they were exposed to the light of the full moon.  This would make sense with the full moon shown at the top of the clock.


  It's possible that the hand of the werewolf is meant to be a subtle clue toward the warehouse district. Many of the other clues in the image and verse also point to that area.


  The hand is the only living thing in the image.  It is front and central, with a bright spotlight coming down from above and a blue light giving it the blue halo from below.  The hand is obviously meant to be the central, important feature of this image.



 Some important things to note:


  • The way the hand grasps the pole is awkward and unnatural.  (Try it for yourself and see.)  The arrangement of the fingers must mean something.
  • If the whole image is a street map for part of New Orleans, then the pole attached to the mask almost certainly represents streets or blocks running through the street grid. 
  • The lower two fingers are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the pole.  They also completely cover the pole.
  • The thumb comes in from left and has a split nail, suggesting a forked path. 
  • The middle finger comes down at an angle and intersects the thumb.  Note that there is a small triangle of pole visible between the middle and ring fingers.
  • The index finger comes down at the same angle (parallel to the middle finger) and leaves a rhombus of pole visible between those fingers.

  There may be several places in the downtown New Orleans street grid where streets at right angles meet streets coming in at a diagonal.  So far though, the best match for the arrangement of fingers on the werewolf's hand is the neighborhood shown at far right.


  The central, narrow strip of green (matching the pole of the mask) is St. Mary's Park.  The street on either side of it is named "Diamond." ("Where jewels abound...")  Note how the upper streets in this perspective cross the park at a diagonal, leaving the park visible between them.  The lower streets are horizontal and have no park visible between them.  And the street in the middle (corresponding to the werewolf's middle finger) comes down and intersects a street that goes off at an angle (like the werewolf's thumb). 








Click on the image at left to see a labeled version that might make the corresponding fingers and streets more clear.

  It's not as perfect a match, but the werewolf's hand on the pole could also be a diagram of the area east of Lafayette Square.  The pole would be Lafayette Street and all the fingers would be the streets that run across it. 

  From bottom to top: Magazine and Constance are close together and orthogonal to Lafayette.  Tchoupitoulas and Peters are more widely spread apart and cross the street at a slant.

  Given the overwhelming evidence in the image and verse that steers us to Lafayette Street, this interpretation of the street diagram is very likely to be correct.







Click on the image at left to see a labeled version that might make the corresponding fingers and streets more clear.

  The Piazza d'Italia is located on Lafayette Street a few blocks from Lafayette Square, between Tchoupitoulas and Peters in the hand diagram above.  It was completed in 1979, which meant it would have been a new and notable landmark in the city when Preiss visited.  Several factors suggest it is well worth a closer look:


- The Piazza is a monument to honor Italian immigrants, and immigration to North America is a central theme of the book.


- The monument consists largely of various pillars in Roman or Italian styles, and page 15 of The Secret says that the Italian spirits left Italy and "sped toward the Pillars of Hercules."


- The monument features a large clock face with roman numerals.


- It also features a nested pair of arches similar to the arches at the top of the clock.  (The upper, larger arch flares off to each side at the base.  The inner, smaller arch does not.)


- Most notably, the entire monument is designed around a series of concentric arcs that go more than halfway around the circle but are interrupted by other features. 



Photo used under a Creative Commons license
Attribution Some rights reserved by nola.agent


Photo used under a Creative Commons license
Attribution Some rights reserved by nola.agent


Click on any of the photos above to see close-ups.


The concentric circles on the Piazza are interrupted by water features and by a series of terraces that form the shape of Italy.  Seen from above, the innermost circles radiate out from the terraces that form the Calabria region (the "toe" of Italy). 


And, as noted above, the innermost arcs on the face of the clock also radiate out both from a shoe and from a shoe-like shape: the strangely bulging right hand of the stretched-out, arching, oddly-positioned newsboy.  And the newsboy has one stretched-out leg with a diamond pattern that seems to be a reference to Italian culture.


  Anyone studying the Piazza will eventually make the connection: The stretched out newsboy figure on the face of the clock is a representation of the shape of Italy!


  Yes, it's a maddeningly abstract representation, like all the others in The Secret, but it's clear enough.  In addition to the "Calabria hand," the elbow of the other arm even creates the bulge of the Marche region.




  So what about the bulging hand, you ask?  Cleverly enough, if the newsboy is flipped downwards, the hand becomes the Calabria region, the elbow still forms the Marche region, and the arch of the whole body still forms the Italian peninsula.  It works either way.


  Very well done, John Palencar!  Once again, we salute you!

  For anyone who's having trouble keeping track of the New Orleans landmarks in this layout, here's the same 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 (in 1981) ran a total of 21 blocks from one end to another.
  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 St. 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.


  One major part of the puzzle that has not yet been explained is the outer ring of the clock face.  It has two arrows that start on either side of the mask and sweep around to point at either end of "Preservation."


We don't yet know exactly how to interpret the outer ring, but we can make some reasonable guesses:

  • The arrows are probably telling us to go in a certain direction.
  • Because the arrows start on either side of the mask, we are probably meant to start on either side of where the concentric circles are interrupted in the Piazza.  That means starting on Lafayette Street and on South Peters Street.
  • The lines form curves around the clocks, but we obviously aren't expected to curve through the downtown area.  We are supposed to go in straight lines along streets.
  • If the short, narrow lines are streets we cross along our route, then the gray and black boxes probably indicate turns.
  • Puzzles in The Secret seem to emphasize the exploration of neighborhoods on foot.  If that's still the case here, we don't need to worry about which way we go down one-way streets. We are meant to make this journey by walking along the route.


  That's a lot of assumptions and any or all of them could be wrong.  But if those interpretations are correct, we have two patterns:

  • Arrow A: Start mid-block, cross two streets, turn at the third street, cross four more streets, PRESERVATION.
  • Arrow B: Start mid-block, cross two streets, turn at the third street, cross two more streets, turn at the sixth street, cross two more streets, turn at the ninth street, PRESERVATION.


  Most of the background wallpaper is composed of fairly consistent rectangles.  But there's one spot in the lower right corner where the lines suddenly slant and the rectangle is replaced by a rhombus or diamond. 


  If the lines and boxes represent the street grid of the downtown area, the best match for the diamond pattern and the adjoining block is the area between St. Charles and Camp near Lafayette Square.


This is the diamond shape from the wallpaper (rotated to align with the map display).

The diamond block that matches the wallpaper grid is directly across St. Charles Avenue from the site of the former St. Charles Hotel.

  The newsboy figure on the clock appears to be deliberately pointing and drawing our attention to a spot on the calf of his leg.  It might be a signal toward the top and central spot on the hourglass shape, in which case it would be a reference to Lafayette Square and the John McDonogh Monument (as a hint to help us find the statue). 


  But if the socks (or tights) have a diamond pattern, the newsboy may also be drawing our attention to a dark-colored diamond, which might be the diamond shape in the wallpaper.


  The strange shape on the werewolf's hand is too sharp and too emphasized to just be random wrinkles.  This shape must represent something, and it's probably a crucial part of the solution.


  The nested curves here resemble contour lines, such as those on the raised relief model of Italy in the Piazza d'Italia.


  The arrows pointing at "PRESERVATION" may indicate that the left and right portions of the outer rim represent the features of two one-way streets.  If so, the boxes and lines may represent intersections.  This may be the same technique Palencar used in Image 11, where the features of a straight sidewalk were shown curved into the rim of a circle.


  The word "PRESERVATION" at the top of the clock, coupled with the flared, bluish-purple sleeve on the werewolf, has always seemed like a very strong clue towards Preservation Hall jazz club in New Orleans.


  Preservation Hall is on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, about a block from the St. Louis Cathedral.


  It's possible, however, that the connection between "PRESERVATION" and Preservation Hall is a deliberate red herring and the word may actually refer to the lesser-known Preservation Resource Center, which was founded in 1974.


  The Preservation Resource Center is currently located at the end of St. Mary's Park, but that address cannot be part of the solution because the building was only purchased by the PRC in March of 1998.  Prior to that, the Preservation Resource Center was located in a row house at 604 Julia St.


  The St. Charles Hotel was torn down just a few years before Preiss visited, in what was seen as a major blow to historic preservation.


(Source: Preservation in Print, April 2015)


  The arch at the top of the clock is similar to the arch at Louis Armstrong Park.  There is a broad arch above, echoed by a smaller arch below.  Both arches have white circles and have areas of shadow cast by an overhang.


  The gate is located at the St. Ann Street entrance on the southeast side of the park.



  Another possible match could be the horse in the golden Joan of Arc statue.  (It's one of many copies of the original Jeanne d'Arc statue in Paris.)  The New Orleans statue was unveiled in 1972 and stood across from the World Trade Center at N. Peters and Canal until it was moved to the French Market in 1999.  


  Alternatively, there are lots of horse head shaped 'hitching posts' around the French Quarter.








Latitude / Longitude Hints

The clock face has a "90" in the lower right corner and a "29" in the upper right corner.  If we take the 29 to be the starting coordinates for the latitude and 90 to be the starting coordinates of the longitude, we are considering an area that would include all of the French Quarter and the downtown area.  (Notably, this would rule out the neighborhood on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain where the streets are all named after jewels.)

There is no clear interpretation for the "19" in the upper left corner. One possibility is that it isn't really a "19" at all.  Unlike the numbers in the other two visible corners of the clock face, the "9" here is not clearly in line with the digit beside it.  Instead, the "9" is nudged slightly upwards, as if to set it apart from the "1" and indicate that these are two separate digits, rather than a single two-digit number.  It could be telling us to take 9 steps or paces in one direction and then 1 in another.  Or it could indicate an intersection between the first column and the ninth row.





Early reasons for thinking the casque might be in Armstrong Park:



Other places to consider:

  • Lafayette Square
  • Jackson Square
  • Lee Circle
  • St. Mary's Park
  • the Piazza d'Italia



Places we can rule out:

  • The Moonwalk along the Mississippi.  It’s part of the federal levee system and Preiss wouldn’t be digging there. The Moonwalk, Waldenburg Park, and even Jackson Square would be under the Flood Protection Authority  (within 1500 feet of a levee), and would need a permit to dig. (https://www.floodauthority.org/)
  • St. Anthony's garden.  It’s private (religious) property and belongs to the Catholic church. It is generally padlocked and closed to the public.



Questions, questions, questions...

  • What was it that made "Johann" on the Q4T site see a connection to St. Louis?  What did he send to Byron Preiss that made Preiss say he was "correct" about that part?
  • What is the significance of the seconds hand and why is it pointing to 15 seconds?
  • What does the "19" in the upper left corner of the clock face mean?
  • What is the strange wolf / dog creature at N9?
  • Why is the creature who’s holding the mask down on the ground out of our sight?
  •  What could be the source of the blue light that illuminates the mask from below? 



How to obtain permission for attempted recovery




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Comments (Show all 62)

Oregonian said

at 1:01 pm on Apr 22, 2018

Good analysis. Some quick points:

- I think the better street match for the puzzle is Lafayette. It goes right through the Superdome and Lafayette Park and then continues right down to the interrupted circles on the Piazza. It's closer to all those features than Poydras. It's also the match for the whole "21 from end to end" business in the verse.

- About half the verses clearly ARE sequential. I tried to explain this on the front page under "Tips for Puzzle Solving," although I'm not sure anyone read it. But there are journey puzzles that take us on a trip through a sequential series of steps and then there are destination puzzles that just describe the features of an area. Roanoke Island and Milwaukee would the the purest examples of journey puzzles. Even if you don't agree with the specific solutions I've posted, I think everyone agrees that the verses are leading searchers along a path. Charleston would be the best example of a destination puzzle. It just describes historical references to the area. I *think* the New Orleans verse is a journey format, but we won't know for sure until we find the namesakes for "gnome" and "fay."

- For all of these puzzles, I think it's crucial for us to put aside our own preconceptions about where the casque should be hidden or what aspects of a city should be highlighted. The main obstacles that have kept people from solving the New York puzzle are all the preconceptions about what defines that city and where one would set up a puzzle. We've got to put all that aside and let each puzzle take us where it takes us, even if Italian immigration isn't the first (or tenth) thing we think about when we think "New Orleans."

Kang said

at 6:50 pm on Apr 22, 2018

Ditto - great thoughts above. For anyone who like GreenQueens is not comfortable with the thought of tossing aside the France immigration connection for Italy, going that far may not be necessary and yet Italy may still be part of the puzzle. The jewel and "Turquoise the Fays of France" line from the Litany clearly connect France for this puzzle, as do many other things including the city's history. Yet, if some theories are correct, Italy keeps popping up. But we may not need to remove and replace. Italian immigration was a large part of New Orleans history as well. And we already have an example in the solved Cleveland puzzle where the immigration theme was Greece, however the Italian Gardens featured VERY prominently in that puzzle. So perhaps it is like that puzzle. And after all, Preiss did tell us that "Fairy secrets come in twos...."

Oregonian said

at 10:00 am on May 1, 2018

Hey folks,

I'm very sorry to report that I'm now convinced that this casque is firmly and completely gone for good. If you've been following the work on this puzzle so far, you know that the routes shown on either side of the clock were likely meant to take searchers from the Piazza to the site of the former St. Charles Hotel. Up until now I've been operating under the hope that the site would have been inaccessible to Preiss in 1981. The hotel was torn down in 1974 and I was hoping that the area was fenced off, which would have forced Preiss to put the casque nearby, in a spot for a street tree or in a planter or something. There was just a slim chance that Preiss would have found some spot that could be protected through 35 years of intense downtown construction.

Unfortunately, though, that's not the case. In "Lost New Orleans" (published in 1980) the author says that the site of the former hotel was put to use as a parking lot. So the site was accessible, it was a powerful symbol of the need for historic preservation, there were cars all around to hide someone from view, and there undoubtedly were parking lot islands with grass or trees where the casque could be buried. I doubt we'll ever know what Preiss meant by the "namesakes for gnome and fay" unless someone happens to find a picture of the lot. But I'm now 99% convinced that the casque was buried on that lot and is now gone for good. Such is life.

I'll write up a full solution page whenever I have more time.

Oregonian said

at 10:18 pm on May 13, 2018

Here's a photo worth examining: http://www.streetcarmike.com/nopsi_streetcars/NOPSI_940-StCharles-1981-09-16.jpg
It's taken from the corner of St. Charles and Union looking northwards in 1981. (You can see a 2015 Google street view from the same spot here: https://goo.gl/maps/NG7YfJJzCCT2 ) The clocks on the Whitney Bank building are visible at the far right.

The interesting thing about the 1981 photo is that it's centered on the spot where the St. Charles Hotel once stood before it was torn down in 1974. At the time of this photo, the site was being used as a parking lot. We can't see a whole lot, but beyond the yellow pickup truck there's a lamp post, and beyond that there's a fairly large mound of greenery. It's either a very large, mounding shrub, or a short, wide-spreading tree. It must have been something that grew fairly fast, if the site was cleared only seven years earlier. In any case, large plants means open soil, so there was definitely at least one spot where the casque could be buried on that lot in 1981.

The building beyond that is the Southern Savings Association Office Building, which was completed in 1974. (It's now the Royal St. Charles Hotel: https://www.emporis.com/buildings/219237/royal-st-charles-hotel-new-orleans-la-usa ) Anybody know what that red and blue "ff" logo is for? It might be interesting to know the ground-floor tenants of the building in 1981.

Kang said

at 12:36 pm on May 14, 2018

@Oregonian, An option you may want to consider is that those are not F's but S's. Maybe the Southern Savings logo. Like old timey "Long s" - That building was the headquarters of Southern Savings up until at least 1990. It's unlikely that another bank like First Federal would have been at that location. Also, the front of the marquis is blurry but may read Southern Savings Assoc.

Oregonian said

at 11:30 am on Jun 8, 2021

Absolutely correct. Those red and blue wavy lines are (were?) the logo of Southern Savings Association.


Kang said

at 1:37 pm on May 14, 2018

@Oregonian - I think I may have found a pic you've been looking for. Here's the parking lot (or some of it at least). Pic is dated 1979.

Here's where I found it if you want to do more digging. Speaking of digging - I don't see a lot of places one might do that. Jus sayin'...

Oregonian said

at 3:21 pm on May 14, 2018

Closest thing so far! Good find. That photo was taken from inside the parking lot, looking northwards at the intersection of St. Charles and Common. The main thing I'm getting out of this is that our tree/shrub must have been on the parking lot side of Common (because of the way it moves in front of the "Southern Savings" lettering when the angle changes, as compared to the 1981 photo). That's huge.

We already knew that there wouldn't be much open soil in the area - partly because it was a parking lot but mostly because the puzzle makes it clear that finding the lot is 99% of the work. Once we were on the site of the former St. Charles Hotel, it (presumably) would have been obvious that there were only a few small spots suitable for digging. That final clue about the namesakes of gnome and fay would have been enough to eliminate the other contenders and leave us with just a square foot or so. It still seems likely that finding the names of those ground-level businesses around the lot would lead us to the correct namesakes.

The tree on Common is certainly a plausible burial site, but it's not necessarily the only one. Photos of the southwestern half of the lot would help clarify whether there are any other possibilities.

Kang said

at 5:49 pm on May 14, 2018

Happy to help. Though I honestly have zero idea what is leading you here. Maybe all will become clear when you post your solve. In the meantime, here's a few more if they help:
1991 – parking lot gone, but bank still there, if it helps.
Early 2000’s. Bank logo more clearly show 2 S’s. Store front to right of bank says Po-Boys…

Oregonian said

at 11:57 am on Jun 8, 2021

Three years later and I finally - FINALLY! - have the photo I wanted. It was taken the same year as Kang's photo (1979) and it's along almost exactly the same line of sight, cutting across the southern corner of the parking lot. But this one was taken in the opposite direction, facing west toward Gravier, so it shows the full front entrance of the parking lot on St. Charles Avenue.


So check it out: Even if someone missed all the references to the Superdome and Lafayette Street and the Piazza and all of that... even if someone didn't buy into the street directions along the edge of the clock... if a 1982 searcher just went to St. Charles Avenue and took a stroll, surely she or he would notice that ornate, golden-brown face of the Whitney Banks clock, looking so much like Image 7. And then our searcher would look across the street to see the long, skinny arrow on the Bob Himbert Parking sign, pointing in to the site of the former St. Charles Hotel, just like the arrows on the Image 7 clock face pointing in to "Preservation." Heck, there were probably even two arrows, one on each side of the sign.

Preiss made this one solvable in several different ways. We just didn't get there in the window of time before the Place St. Charles was constructed.

Michigander said

at 11:36 am on May 21, 2018

Good Morning from Michigan!
I am an avid reader of everything posted on this site and I think it's the best laid out, best information, best solution ideas, of any site I've visited. I appreciate Oregonian's hard work and I feel like I know many of the people who frequently comment on here, even though I've never spoken to them! I frequently want to comment but I am far away from all of the casques except Milwaukee, so not expecting to dig and my ideas correlate with what's on here most of the time. Some of the facebook pages have the most outlandish theories and I do realize that since 10 casques haven't been found, no one can say with 100% certainty that these are the correct cities, but come on. I think the states and cities are all correct, as they have been shown on this site.
I mostly just wanted to say that I enjoy Kang and all of his hard work, very much. Kang, I see you to be an open minded, very kind person and you always have so much respect in your way of responding to everyone. I've especially liked your latest pics of NOLA. I have always felt that the casque is in that Jackson Square / Artillery Park area. San Francisco has to be in GG Park. I think Oregonian's solution is the best I've seen. Wish the asphalt could be removed. :)
Thanks for all of the fun. Glad I saw Expedition Unknown in January.

Kang said

at 5:14 pm on May 21, 2018

"Aw shucks, ma'am. T'was just a lil internet searchin." Seriously, thank you. I've poked around this puzzle but don't have a real theory. My gut leans toward Armstrong Park but if someone thinks it's Jackson Square or a parking lot they could be right. And if I had a solve that said it was elsewhere I would be happy if they found it instead. Because I just want SOMEBODY to solve the puzzle rather than saying "I knew it all along..."

Michigander said

at 11:38 am on May 22, 2018

I agree all the way! Happy Hunting.

Playoffhopes said

at 9:34 am on Jun 7, 2018

I’m new here, caught up in the puzzle of all of this, like many do I would guess. Are you in the New Orleans area? I have really been taken with verse 2 and following all of the interpretation ideas they all seem to make sense. Right up to the end, until out of no where last night something hit me, that when I started searching made several pieces at the end and parts fall in place. Was curious if there was anyone here that could do some searching there, I’m not sure my wife is going to understand my need to go to a certain spot in New Orleans all of the sudden. :-)

Kang said

at 2:15 pm on Jun 7, 2018

@Playoffhopes Welcome to the puzzle and the wiki! I predict that the first time you tell someone you're trying to solve a puzzle from a 40-year old book that leads to buried treasure...you will long remember the look on the face staring back at you...Unfortunately, I am not in NOLA and only dabble in this puzzle. Wiki Moderator Oregonian is well versed in this puzzle, but I don't believe he is local either. But other users are and maybe someone can help in your quest. It has happened before. Who knows - maybe you've uncovered something of great importance! Good luck to you. Great handle by the way. I could never use it the way my teams play. It'd be false advertising.

RRPerry said

at 1:21 pm on Jul 23, 2021

I think the clock represents Jackson Square Park in New Orleans if turned 180. The animal head found in N9 is certainly LA state outline if turned 180. The sleeve on the arm is the Mississippi river as it goes by Jackson Square Park.

RRPerry said

at 1:26 pm on Jul 23, 2021

In F5 the news boy's lifted 'arm and hand' are actually a white shoe on a leg if turned 180.

Linda S said

at 1:45 pm on Jul 23, 2021

yeah i noticed that long time ago, i took it as the middle of 21 10 or 11 steps..
nice eye as no else ever said a word.

Oregonian said

at 3:17 pm on Jul 23, 2021

The bit about the newsboy's right hand being a foot was added to the content of this page just over three years ago (see above):
"One odd thing to note about the figure from the clock face is the difference in the hands. The left hand is realistic, with thumb and fingers visible, but the right hand is deformed into some sort of bulging mitt. It's very similar to a shoe, with the toe and heel visible. And the the arcs of the circles go from the strange "hand shoe" to the shoe on the person's foot."

The Image 7 solution page explains how the outstretched shape of the newsboy can form the "boot" of Italy from either end.

Linda S said

at 3:56 pm on Jul 23, 2021

thank you Oregonian and im loving the update pages.
happy friday

RRPerry said

at 2:00 pm on Jul 23, 2021

I would like to suggest Jackson Square Park rather than Layfette park. The clock if turned 180 is a replica of Jackson Square Park.

Drixel said

at 12:57 am on May 5, 2024

Might have missed it, but I haven't found anything mentioning area D9 of the painting. The edge of the clock in that area is very different from the area on the opposite side D1(&D2). D9 edge if very angular while D1(&D2) are smooth and curvy. D9 does extend out as far as the wooden lip does at D2. Also leads to the bottom areas looking a little different from each other I3(J3) and I8(J8). Not as prominent but the curvature quite different.

Drixel said

at 11:25 pm on May 5, 2024

This painting/verse is pretty difficult. I was reading a Wordpress.com solution and I was interested in their idea of the Gnome and Fays portion being Roosevelt Hotel(was The Grunewald) which has a fountain with gnomes and fays. I was enjoying their solution at first but then it gets so complex and just kinda off the wall toward the end, but here it is so you can see the some of the info listed. https://thesecretneworleans.wordpress.com/

Drixel said

at 4:15 pm on May 6, 2024

about the horse's head representing the state. i always remember learning its the state shaped like a boot. and with the lat/long coordinate being so easy to find, i can't imagine anyone would need a horse head clue for the state. it feels more like it would be a landmark clue.

Drixel said

at 7:51 am on May 12, 2024

not sure how long this link will be up but will upload the pics also https://www.ebay.com/itm/404900029980

Oregonian said

at 3:53 pm on May 12, 2024

WOW!! That's a great find! It's even the right year. (I might have to buy it.)

This is the first photo I've seen showing the size of the parking lot, and it was huge (because, of course, the hotel was huge).

Years ago Kang found an old black-and-white photo of the front of the parking lot and he commented that it didn't look like there were many places to hide things. But that's the whole point. If there were a lot of places to hide things, the casque would never be found. A parking lot is great, because you can eliminate 98% of the surface area right at the start. And there must have been some patches of exposed dirt.

Please keep posting any more images you can find of that spot! Every little bit helps.

Drixel said

at 8:56 am on May 14, 2024

The biggest part of this I think is the article clipping stating purchased 6-month option on lot and plans were already submitted for office building going to be built. Pretty sure that means they started tearing up the parking lot by end of 1980, if not having something posted about parking lot being closed off, or sign saying something about what was going to be built soon. Something to suggest parking lot wouldn't be there much longer if even there in 1981.

Drixel said

at 2:15 am on May 15, 2024

Come to think of it, they probably closed the parking lot shortly after plans were submitted. If not closed it, put up closure signs to let people know when they would need to find a new place to park. Cause you know they aren't going to want to delay breaking ground by towing a bunch of cars or getting into any kind of legal mess. I'm sure there is some kind of codes/rules they would have to follow before breaking ground. The size of the Place St Charles would even suggest street closures during the time the main structure was being built.

Oregonian said

at 10:53 am on May 15, 2024

The "6-month option," as I understand it, just gave the Canadian developers six months to find the financing and complete the purchase of the lot. Did they go through with it? I don't know. (Someone built a tower, but it may have been a different group of investors.)

All we can really say for sure (I think) is that 1) the St. Charles Hotel was demolished in 1974, 2) the land was being used as a parking lot in May of 1980, and 3) the Place St. Charles opened on the spot sometime in 1984.

What we really need is someone in Louisiana who is willing to go through the local newspaper archives and find all the stories and photos related to the St. Charles Hotel and Place St. Charles. There must be articles about construction and street closures (and parade routes along St. Charles Avenue), but none of those newspapers seem to be digitized and on the web. It's going to take old-school research efforts to go through the microfilm.

Drixel said

at 11:19 am on May 17, 2024

designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects and The Mathes Group, now Mathes Brierre Architects, with local architect The Mathes Group. Moriyama & Teshima is the Canadian developers

Drixel said

at 1:04 pm on May 17, 2024

the thing that sticks out the most to me is the part saying unveiled plans to build the city's tallest office building-hotel on the site. 53 stories still most of any other building. just not technically the tallest if you go by height.

Drixel said

at 7:54 am on May 12, 2024

historic images of st charles hotel as a parking lot 5/1980

Drixel said

at 12:36 pm on May 14, 2024

for some reason i have a feeling the 2 flowers are important. even tho they seem to be the same, maybe they are 2 different flowers. the outer petals are why i feel like maybe they are 2 different flowers. and being about to see the inside of the left flower is why i feel like its important.

Oregonian said

at 10:58 am on May 15, 2024

How do you feel about them being daffodils, and this being the image for March?

Limey said

at 7:11 pm on May 16, 2024

I think there are two flowers – the left side one a Magnolia ( the state flower of Louisiana), and the right side one a Narcissus (one of the birth flowers representing December).
I also think it has to be the month December with the turquoise stone and the clock hands pointing to 12 o’ clock.
There could still be a Mardi Gras connection as its roots trace back to the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, which were traditionally held in December and February:

Drixel said

at 10:47 am on May 17, 2024

i agree about the daffodil being one and yeah i was feeling the other was maybe a magnolia. but the outside petals being turned its hard to tell. maybe they are both daffodils. it just feels like its important that they differ from each other.

Drixel said

at 11:03 am on May 17, 2024

has anyone figured out anything concrete about the clock hands? and i've been thinking about the first line of the poem. where jewels abound. i get mardi gras and the necklaces. but when i first started looking at this one i couldn't stop thinking about all the streets named after gems. and i still get pulled back on occassion. and today was thinking, jewels abound. the necklaces aren't jewels. they're just plastic and beads. which made me feel like the streets named after gems might be the starting point. also check this site out https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/voodoo-priestess-marie-laveau-created-new-orleans-midsummer-festival-180963750/ another point of view St John's Eve. was lead to this cause i searched midsummer's day from the description the books gives about torquiose. rare as a blue midsummer's day. Marie would start the festival off the banks of Lake Ponchartrain. also theres a mardi gras fountain above all the streets with gem names. so idk. i mean this area has changed so much its such a difficult painting/poem to solve.

Drixel said

at 1:33 am on May 22, 2024

just brainstorming but maybe the greyed out marks on outside of the clock are referencing the 3 that stand watch. but a 4th isn't facing toward casque which is the black mark?

Drixel said

at 1:35 am on May 22, 2024

if middle of 21 is 11. guessing there are 11 inside marks since the 12 o'clock mark is missing. assuming the marks are there but hidden by mask.

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