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

Page history last edited by Oregonian 2 years, 4 months 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 unless there was a mistake and they are actually daffodils.  (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 86)

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.

Tina Ramos said

at 11:06 pm on May 13, 2018

Googled that is was First Federal Bank.

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.

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.

Oregonian said

at 3:34 pm on May 14, 2018

This photo shows the same intersection from around the same period but doesn't show any of the parking lot: http://www.streetcarmike.com/nopsi_buses/nopsi_gmc110_stcharlesandcommon.jpg

The only interesting thing I see in that is the plant at the middle left edge, beside the "transit stop" sign. Street tree? Something growing out of a planter? Either way, there may have been more of them around the corner on Common.

GreenQueens said

at 12:10 am on May 16, 2018

I think that may have been a trash can instead of a planter but not sure. Seems like I have seen that similar style in one so the parks.

Kang said

at 9:28 am on May 16, 2018

If we're talking about the rectangular object at far left with the gravel-y texture, I agree with GreenQueens. That is definitively a trash can and not a planter. The guy in the orange shirt (left of the guy in overalls) is actually sitting on it. On top of the trash can 'hood.'

Oregonian said

at 10:05 am on May 16, 2018

Just to clarify: The boxy thing that Pink/Orange Shirt is sitting on is definitely a trash can. (And is that a handprint on his back coming out of the waistline or is that just a trick of the light? Creepy...)

But if we look up right beside the words "Transit Stop" on the sign, there's clearly some plant with vertical, woody stems growing there in the shadows. It's about 10 to 20 feet further down the sidewalk and it must be either growing out of a planter or out of a hole in the sidewalk. (The combo of Pink Shirt and trash can is blocking our view of where the tree is rooted.) So, either way, whether they had street trees or plants in containers on that corner, they may have had more of them just around the corner on Common (to the left of this photo).

We've got all these little fragments of information about that spot and it's all coming from different sources. We're not likely to ever find a single photo that shows it all, so we really need to start a map showing the block as it existed in 1981. What were the businesses on the surrounding streets? How big was the parking lot? Where were the entrances and exits? We need someone with a bad case of OCD (or a manageable meth habit) to sort it all out.

Robert said

at 1:44 pm on May 16, 2018

We had (have?) a lot of spots where there were metal grates making a hole in the sidewalk where they planted trees. Kind of like these: http://www.thebluebook.com/inc/img/qp/58316/decorative-tree-grates1.JPG I haven't noticed them lately, but I haven't been looking either. They may well still be there, or may have been removed so the city doesn't pay for upkeep.

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…

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.

Playoffhopes said

at 2:50 pm on Jun 7, 2018

I’m sure everyone thinks they have stumbled onto something that all others have missed, but I will add myself to the list. Using the internet and google earth having street views makes it so much easier. If anyone is on here in the NOLA area I would love to team up with you. Not only does what I have explain the numbers, it also makes several parts of the picture fit that don’t seem obvious and pinpoints a pretty small area to search that from what I have read has not been mentioned before. I would love to team up with someone on this.

GreenQueens said

at 7:23 pm on Jun 9, 2018

I am in NOLA area and always interested to hear fresh ideas. Email and we can exchange numbers if you want to chat.

skeller@... said

at 1:28 pm on Jun 11, 2018

Hi What is your email ??

GreenQueens said

at 11:47 pm on Jun 12, 2018


BrandonH said

at 4:36 pm on Dec 13, 2018

Well it does appear to say "DIG JAX" in clock boys leggings. In the full sized painting this would be much easier to detect. This caused me to scrap my old solution that I was very convinced of and had developed during five trips to Nola. Happy hunting

Kang said

at 6:22 pm on Dec 13, 2018

Interesting! @Dominique Youx had posted a comment months ago about the DIG in the sock - which I clearly see. But for me at least, I was never able to make out what if anything was written in the other sock. So you think it says JAX? If so, how do you interpret that clue?

BrandonH said

at 11:08 am on Dec 14, 2018

My best guess is that it indicates the casque is buried near Jax Brewery, most likely on the moonwalk. There are old pics of large wooden boxes with X's on the sides built around trees along the moonwalk, a friend has counted 21. i can make a case for every line of the poem.

Indigoone said

at 4:41 pm on Dec 14, 2018

How long has Jax Brewery been there? Excellent find on the sock by the way. I cannot believe how many years we've all looked at this painting again and again, and still people are able to find new things. Great job!

Kang said

at 5:28 pm on Dec 14, 2018

Been there since 1891. http://www.frenchquarter.com/nola/jax-brewery/4169/
And there's a prominent JAX sign on the corner of the building. (At least currently. No idea if it's always been there) https://goo.gl/maps/Lg4yGRVQR1G2
If it says DIG JAX, I wonder if it means the dig spot is within sight of the sign? Jackson Square, Artillery Park, Moonwalk, etc? Just spitballin...

Dominique Youx said

at 4:00 pm on Feb 19, 2019

Very Interesting, I Saw the "DIG",but I could not make sense of the other sock. I saw the "A" and "X", but never could make out the other, it never occurred to me it could be a "J". Verse 2 says "its namesake meaning at this site", well The brewery was founded by Lawrence Fabacher in 1890 as Jackson Bohemian Brewery; its name was later changed to Jax Beer and finally Jackson Brewing Company, after Andrew Jackson and Jackson Square. Very interesting.

Guardian said

at 8:36 pm on Dec 17, 2018

Has it occurred to anyone that “Jax” may have the double meaning of being short for Jackson?

Kang said

at 10:48 am on Dec 20, 2018

Yes. In addition to Jackson Brewery (Jax Beer), right across the street is Jackson Square, probably the most famous possible reference. Question for anyone from NOLA - would you think that Jackson Square as a possible dig spot would be an 'off limits' kind of location that Preiss would have avoided back in '81? Would you rule it out on that basis? And do you know of any other Jackson related locations that should be considered under this possible interpretation?

GreenQueens said

at 11:34 am on Dec 23, 2018

It's my understanding from talking to many locals (I have only been here 3 years) that things were not as tight security wise in 81 and someone dressed in a hard hat and vest would likely have easily gotten away with the dig, so I myself cannot rule it out based on the definition of "off limits". Security is Not the same today of course. My very first sweet spot was the planter on the west side of Artillery Park (the Jax side). I can make the verse work but the deeper I got into trying to understand the picture I moved on. So the "Dig" on the socks has been discussed before of course. I thought it might be XXX at one point...30 of something always looking for some more details. The verse and poster combinations I have seen or heard for Jackson Square don't line up a natural spot to dig so the square isn't off my list but not anywhere near the top 3. I do think JS plays a role as one of the many references for the verse and poster.

BrandonH said

at 11:15 am on Feb 1, 2019

GreenQueens, DM me or send email me if you would like pictures of the large wooden tree "boxes" that were on the Moonwalk in 1981. There were 21 of them and they had large Xs on the side. I have considerably more info if you'd like to review it and potentially join our small group.

Linda S said

at 4:06 pm on Feb 7, 2019

ok so it looks like i am going to new orleans in april..and will taking a peek around the area.. but wanted thoughts on 19 being 1-9 the 9th ward of new orleans..

Linda S said

at 4:09 pm on Feb 7, 2019

also what are those initials in area of n-o 1-2, extremely faint, only noticed cause i blew up the image and make it black and white

Indigoone said

at 7:44 pm on Feb 7, 2019

N2 - "JJP," the initials of the artist, John Jude Palencar.

Linda S said

at 3:07 pm on Feb 12, 2019

did anyone else notice that the boy image actually matches the gate at Stadium Drive in City park? any input is appreciated.thanks yall

RLee Waldron said

at 4:06 pm on Feb 12, 2019

Are you talking about the gates to the open end of Tad Gormley?

Linda S said

at 4:09 pm on Feb 12, 2019

yes i believe that is the name of the park.

andrewwilliammartin@... said

at 4:01 pm on Mar 5, 2019

Ok - a bit left field but if you focus on the last paragraph. Eurerpe Street. Euterpe is the fay (fairy) of Delight - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euterpe and "Gnomes Admire" I think has a reasonable association with Hearth - it's the centre of the home and is associated with the earth - Gnomes are creatures of the earth (plus they rhyme) so would admire the hearth - https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=CYDJ_TnzXMEC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=gnomes+love+hearths&source=bl&ots=O8XzTJMFlu&sig=ACfU3U21P31_IiTeSxY7UfiL9er-wW99cQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjv3L3S4uvgAhWHiXAKHduNBX8Q6AEwEHoECAEQAQ#v=onepage&q=gnomes%20love%20hearths&f=false. Prytania Street. Prytania was originally Rue du Prytanee, named for the Prytaneum, the hearth that each ancient Greek village had dedicated to the goddess of the hearth, Hestia. So at this meeting of the two streets - their namesakes. "Near this site" - one block away - is the tip of Parkerson Place - a park with an incomplete circle of stone blocks (like the clock in the image, plus the block look like the blocks under the numbers). It has a statue there now, but that's new (2011 or something) but the blocks look to have been there much longer. Parkerson Place named after William S Parkerson - famous for being involved in the slaughter of italian immigratns - so apres po to burry a cask associated with italy there. There is also Coliseum Park below that has the shape of a bicycle (like the clock hour hand). And the general arch shape of the top of Parkerson Place looks like the arch on the clock. Maybe the rest gets you around NL, but the solve is in Parkerson Place (maybe something to do with which block the second hand with the circle is pointing too...) I'll try and upload image.

andrewwilliammartin@... said

at 4:08 pm on Mar 5, 2019

Image here - http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/132337494/Parkerson%20Place.jpg also (depending on what side of the street you could) I can get 15 streets to match up with Lafayette Park. 15 rows down (south of Lafayette Park) could hit Terpischore St.

Linda S said

at 6:58 pm on Mar 5, 2019

so some was inquiring about 201 st charles st, when it was a parking lot, i could not locate any images, so i have contacted city of Nola to see if they have any information, cant wait to visit and peek around some.

Linda S said

at 11:58 am on Jul 8, 2020

gotta love Twains quotes...

It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.

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