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Savannah Teague
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NEW ORLEANS - By late September heat-weary residents of south Louisiana are eager to flick the air conditioner off-switch. The Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic House museums invite the public to cool off and stimulate the mind as the hot weather wanes with a lively, informative lecture by architectural historian Elizabeth Porterfield.

"The Big Chill Out: Air Conditioning's Transformation on the Way We Live and Build," takes place in the visitor center of the Gallier House, 1126 Royal Street in the French Quarter on Friday, September 30, at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The talk is jointly sponsored by the Louisiana Architectural Foundation.

Ms. Porterfield serves as Senior Architectural Historian with Hicks & Company Environmental Consultants in Austin, Texas. She received a Master's Degree in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has 11 years of professional experience in architectural history, historic preservation, and cultural resource management. Previously, Ms. Porterfield served as architectural historian for the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.

"Summer heat and humidity are constants for all of us in New Orleans - and have been challenges since the city was founded. At a museum, the climate is particularly of concern. We are excited to share the preservation story of our houses with our visitors," noted Mamie Sterkx Gasperecz, Executive Director of the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses.

The Gallier House's sister museum property, the Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street, has been undergoing a major upgrade with the installation of a minimally invasive, state-of-the-art HVAC system that will provide comfort to visitors while protecting antique furnishings and artwork. During the lecture, a progress report on this project will be presented by the lead contractors of Cypress Building Conservation, Michael Shoriak and Courtney Williams.


For admission prices, group tour appointments and to purchase tickets in advance, please visit For reservations and information, contact

The Gallier House at 1132 Royal Street was designed and built in 1857 by James Gallier, Jr., one of the most prominent architects of 19th-century New Orleans.

The Woman's Exchange purchased the Hermann-Grima House in 1924 and acquired the Gallier House in 1996. The non-profit organization's mission is to continue the legacy of the former Christian Woman's Exchange (established in 1881), by restoring and maintaining the houses, and interpreting their contribution to and place in New Orleans. Ac-credited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses are a leading authority on historic preservation, offering educational, entertaining and interactive programming in the world-renowned French Quarter.