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Old 02-29-2020, 07:09 AM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Big Nana's House

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Based on the other info you can literally put it anywhere you want. Here's how it works if you need realism.
Thanks, this is great!

Some bulletpoints about specifics in the history I have in mind:
  • In 1940, Nana Lacoste was actually born in the house, the daughter of an African-American maid in service to the Lacoste family in the 1930s and 1940s. Until she was about seven, Nana lived in the servant's quarters of the Lacoste house, and she continued to come there often with her mother through her teen years.
  • Grand-père Lacoste grew up in the house as well, born in 1929. He, like the Lacostes who came before him, were white, Catholic and of good French-American stock, being perfectly capable of listing their ancestors all the way back to the first aristocrat to emigrate to the New World to invest in cotton, slaves and molasses (and for enthusiasts, further back into coats of arms and French history).
  • Grand-père Lacoste married a white woman of a good Catholic family in 1960, but the way Nana tells the story, that was his parents doing. They were already in love, but barred from marriage due to Louisiana law against interracial marriage.
  • In fact, Père Lacoste was born to Nana out of wedlock in 1958. Grand-père acknowledged him as his natural son in 1969 and took all the steps he could to ensure he'd have the status of his legal firstborn son and heir.
  • Grand-père Lacoste's first wife bore him two daughters, in 1962 and in 1964. In 1966, however, she suffered complications while carrying the couple's third child and both she and her unborn son died.
  • In 1969, Grand-père Lacoste shocked all his neighvours and relatives by marrying his long-time African-American mistress, Nana (at the time obviously not referred to that way, as she was not yet thirty and a famed beauty and entertainer in clubs African-Americans frequented). He also claimed her out-of-wedlock son as his and demanded the boy be legitimized as his firstborn and heir.
  • Given that this was a mere two years after the ban on interracial marriage was overturned by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, Louisiana still had such laws on the books and Grand-père and Nana had to get married out of state, as no Louisiana clergyman or public official was willing to perform such a marriage, this caused quite a stir among the lily-white, blood-line proud Lacostes.
  • Even by 1986, when Grand-père died in genteel and stubborn poverty (albeit owner of significant property, his income was not sufficient for upkeep), the rest of the Lacostes had by no means accepted the blackbird interloper in the family nest. Hence various relatives attempting to contest the will of Grand-père Lacoste, which provided Nana with full rights to inhabit the house as long as she lived (provided she didn't remarry) and made her a major heir, along with their illegitimate son, Père Lacoste.
  • The legal battles were bitterly contested and extended into the 1990s, but ended with Nana victorious and unassailable in occupation until her death.
  • In the 21st century, Nana uses only a fraction of the old house, with the rest dusty and mothballled, if not worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Using this as a background you can pick, pretty much, any house you want in just about any location. Unfortunately I don't have the background in New Orleans that your seeking so I cant point out a specific house. Even one with a lot of land around it. Remember that in the USA land isn't as costly or hard to come by as in Europe, locations go up and down in value based on local developments, but it isn't hard to just look elsewhere for a better deal.
Well, just about the only location that I know has buildings with the appropriate look in New Orleans is St. Charles Avenue, but I'm hoping to find at least one structure with the right appearance in a less expensive location. Or more accurately, I'm hoping to find such a house (ideally mansion) somewhere that might not have been very easy to sell for a fortune in the first part of the 20th century, until about the 1960s. I'm satisfied with why the generations that I've mentioned haven't sold, but I still need to explain why the preceding two or three generations didn't.

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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Historical sites become very tricky to sell as well because the govt cant just take land, however they can make it difficult and costly to try and do anything with it other than restore it. Historical Societies can be as bad as they are good, many people in historical areas see them as an expensive plague.
I'm 100% on board with a Historical Society having demonstrated all kinds of interest in the house and grounds and constituting one factor it was not easy to sell in the 20th century, especially if this interest was due to a creepy cemetary, mausoleum or the like.

Really, rumours and apocryphal legends about all kinds of burials on Lacoste land should be absolutely rife. The house should be a regular feature in neighbourhood ghost stories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
I can tell you that the story is actually much more common in the USA than you might think. Old families change over 2-3 generations typically and all but one branch of the family goes back to middle class in less than 100years.
"Families are always rising and falling in America."

DiCaprio's character in The Departed says that, in a charming Boston Irish accent, but as far as I know, despite the attribution, Nathaniel Hawthorne never did. It's not a bad summation of some of his work, however.

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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Basically its really easy for this situation to occur. Typically one of the last things families that invest in their history let go of is the Ancestral Homestead, especially in a place like New Orleans where deep roots mean something in some circles.
Given the great social and economic changes since the 18th century, it's more exception than the rule for a given family to have a similar socioeconomic status as they did more than 200 years ago. And, as you say, some of them held on to homes with a lot of significance to the family even as their fortunes dwindled.

However, the fewer real estate developers who would have pestered the family in the 20th century with offers that would instantly change the lives of everyone with a stake, well, the more plausible that they'd retained the house.

I want significant barriers to realizing any great profit from a sale to have been present through much of the 20th century (especially until the 1960s), such as the house being in an area that was not sought-after at that time, there being remains on the lot potentially of great interest to a Historical Society, the necessary renovations that would assure profitable sale being outside the budget of the heirs at the time or some combination of factors.

One thing though, for mystical, in-story reasons, I kind of need the ownership of the house and grounds to rest firmly with legal Lacoste heirs, whoever those turn out to be after Nana passes and all the legal wrangling is done. So while a foundation or trust is a great idea, it should have been something that was eventually broken and ownership should revert back to heirs (the more eccentric, baroque and Gothic the inheritance conditions, the better).
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:12 AM   #12
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Default Welcome to the House of Lacoste

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Originally Posted by pestigor View Post
I'd use google maps to look in the neighborhoods around Tulane and Loyola.
Check out Versailles Blvd north of Tulane's baseball stadium and Fontainebleau Dr west of Versailles east of South Carrolton Ave.
Ah, thanks.

It's established that Lucien Lacoste (PC) went to Jesuit High School on Banks Street near South Carrolton Avenue. He also attended Loyola University.

While it's true that his parents did not live at the ancestral Lacoste home while Lucien was in high school, Père Lacoste attended the school in his day (he was classmates with former Mayor Marc Morial) and was at that time definitely living at the ancestral home.

I'll walk through these neighborhoods in Google Street View, check if I see any houses that look right.

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Originally Posted by pestigor View Post
The main issue is the Southern Gothic Mansions are mostly on St. Charles itself.
The Garden district (and most of uptown) is just so expensive that every shotgun house there rent's for an absurd amount of money.
Yes, that's my fear as well.

With that being said, I think I'd rather accept a perfect-looking house and grounds in the 'wrong' location, i.e. likely to be all too valuable, than a house that doesn't look right, but has the right approximate value. After all, I have some good ideas in this thread on how the sale might have been made difficult and the prices offered might have been low, due to a variety of factors like trouble with Historical Societies, disputed ownership and the like.

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Originally Posted by pestigor View Post
I think, unless you're running a game for locals you can get away with some poetic license. The simple fact is that area is taken up by long time residents or student rentals (which inheritors of long time residents realize they could milk for loads of money if they rented).
None of the players has ever been to Louisiana. Nor have I, for that matter. But it doesn't matter, I don't like inexplicable anomalies in fictional backgrounds, not unless it's meant to be a mystery.

Technically, it's perfectly fine if people wonder why Nana Lacoste doesn't reach some sort of settlement with her late husband's family so that all of them can be millionaires with a sale of the house. That's an actual mystery that has answers in the setting. What I don't want is for it to be completely mysterious and inexplicable why the 2-3 generations before Grand-père Lacoste didn't sell the house at some point, as they clearly could have used some life-changing money.

It would help if the house was in a location or of a style (or both) that was not all that sought after during the first five or six decades of the 20th century. I just don't know if there are any neighborhoods in New Orleans that might have the requisite Gothic architecture and sizable grounds, but where it might have been difficult to sell a huge, sprawling, decaying house for massive amounts of money in the 1920s to the 1960s.

If there was ever a period where the real estate market was depressed for a given location or neighborhood with suitable houses, no matter how desirable it is today, maybe that was exactly the time when a stubborn patriarch or matriarch of a previous generation died and the heirs had to accept that they couldn't sell at that time, not easily or for what they thought the estate should be worth.

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Originally Posted by pestigor View Post
I've lived 10 minutes away from New Orleans for over 47 years and used to gig in every dive bar uptown in the early to mid 90's.
Great.

I'll be relying on you for as much local knowledge as you feel inclined to supply. Anything of which you can think.
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Old 03-01-2020, 05:43 AM   #13
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Default Re: New Orleans Area Knowledge Questions

From a small press publisher I know one thing that prevents some books being reprinted is heirs that don't understand publishing profits. They think that normal levels of money are an attempt to rip them off because they hear about how much big names get. So if a member of the family had moved to New York or Los Angeles and insisted that those proces were what they had to hold out for that might hold things up.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:06 AM   #14
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Default Real Estate Prices in Historical Contexts

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From a small press publisher I know one thing that prevents some books being reprinted is heirs that don't understand publishing profits. They think that normal levels of money are an attempt to rip them off because they hear about how much big names get. So if a member of the family had moved to New York or Los Angeles and insisted that those proces were what they had to hold out for that might hold things up.
That's a good point.

So, the period I'm most concerned with still requiring an explanation is the first half of the 20th century, until the 1960s. After that date, I have explanations that satisfy me, even if the mansion/house should by that time be extremely valuable if sold on the open market.

Does anyone have the faintest idea how property on St. Charles Avenue or any other places in New Orleans where I might find the right sort of Southern Gothic mansions might have been valued historically?

Say, during the Roaring 20s, was a decaying, old-fashioned mansion with somewhat extensive, overgrown grounds, anywhere in the Garden District of NOLA, as sought-after and valuable (comparatively) is it would be today? Or in the Swinging 60s?

Was there any time during the 20th century where you couldn't get a 'fair' price for an estate like that, because buyers with that kind of money weren't interested in New Orleans real estate?
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:08 AM   #15
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Default Best Neighborhood for Widespread Voodoo Belief (1920-1980)

Without abandoning the still-open question of where in New Orleans to locate the Lacoste 'Southern Gothic' family mansion, I have another question.

What neighborhood in New Orleans would be most appropriate for an African-American family to have lived in surrounded by folklore and myths about witchcraft, voodoo and other supernatural beliefs in the period between 1920-1980?

In my setting, there were not confirmed supernatural phenomena over that time period, but, obviously, as in the real world, there were plenty of people who believed in some form of supernatural forces.

Where would be a good place in New Orleans for someone to come from and have been raised with all their aunts, uncles, grandparents and other relatives believing in voodoo as an actual force in the world?

Specifically, Louisiana voodoo; not Haitian vodoun or other Afro-Caribbean religions or traditional magic.

Also, side-question, would this neighborhood also be the neighborhood where supernatural belief was most prevalent today (well, in early 2019) or would that be a different area of New Orleans these days?
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Old 03-03-2020, 02:34 PM   #16
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Default Occult Underworld in New Orleans

The New Orleans in my campaign is supposed to be identical to the real one until the 1980s and functionally identical until at least 1995. After that, the differences should be as subtle as possible, but by 2005, someone with Streetwise would discern vast differences from the real New Orleans and by 2015, no one could truly be knowledgeable about the criminal underworld of New Orleans without knowing at least something about the occult.

Supernatural phenomena gradually started appearing in the campaign world from the 1980s onward, but in the 20th century, anything that happened was most likely undetectable without special inborn gifts (Detect, Medium, See Invisible (Spirits), etc.) and even if not, it was astronomically unlikely to happen anywhere except at night around one or two people who already believed in the occult.

Even in the modern era (the game is moving into early 2019), overt supernatural events mostly take place at specific times and places where few people other than those who already believe tend to be and the vast majority of effects can be explained by skeptics as coincidences or psychosomatic. Even the presence of numerous skeptics, rooms full of modern technology and high-tech measuring devices is usually enough to reduce the local Mana down to No Mana (from Very Low Mana) and make any repeatable displays of power under controlled circumstances impossible.

All the same, despite the lack of scientific proof, belief in the supernatural has since the mid-90s or so been climbing steadily among the kind of people who are most likely to be exposed to it. The homeless, criminals, cops, emergency workers, social workers, night shift staff, clergy, psychological health workers, etc. What might be termed 'streetlight people', i.e. the marginalized, dispossessed, fringe and simply out of rhythm with others. Anyone likely to be alone or around few credible witnesses outside their homes during nighttime and/or to spend time around such people.

Certain areas of the world feature more concentrations of supernatural phenomena, which has caused them to be dubbed 'Vile Vortices' by the PCs' Patron and his organization. There are twelve or more such areas in the world, including both Poles, the 'Bermuda Triangle' and the 'Devil's Sea', as well as other locations. In fact, the present model of the 'Vile Vortices' might be criticized on the grounds that it entirely fails to account for the apparent concentration of occult energies around the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East and neighboring regions where early human civilizations flourished.

Regardless of the exact details of the macro-scale 'Vile Vortices', it is accepted by the few knowledgeable occultists in a position to make judgments that other, smaller regions may also have higher Mana, while being much smaller than these 'Vile Vortices'. That might be individual groves, creeks or even houses, which might be dubbed Places of Power, but in rare cases, it might also stretch into a small town, neighborhood or even city. This might be caused by intersecting ley lines or other factors.

By most accounts, New Orleans is one of these higher Mana areas. Mind you, that means that instead of being No Mana during the day (as most cities in secular, Western countries tend to be) and Very Low Mana (-9 to -10) during the night, it tends toward Very Low Mana most of the time and might average -9 to -10 in the daytime and -7 to -8 in the nighttime.

This is low enough so that even people who believe in the supernatural are generally unable to perform any supernatural tricks, even with training, especially given that those born without Magery receive a further -5 and those trying to use common, living languages to work magic receive yet another a penalty of up to -5 (living languages that are still used for liturgical purposes as part of older magical traditions tend to be better than English, though).

In fact, it pretty much forces any occultists trying to perform functional magic to either be extremely knowledgeable and adept in working Mandatory and Significant Modifiers from Thaumatology for some slow, subtle tricks that amass massive bonuses for preparation... or accept help from spirits or other otherworldly intelligences (which can grant Magery and oh, so much more).

From the early 2010s, gangs and criminal organizations in places where the supernatural is especially active have more and more fallen under the control or at least influence of various spiritual forces and supernatural beings. Mostly, these are humans with supernatural gifts, though they may have these gifts through Pacts with otherworldly powers.

Whereas previously, any occult lore was limited enough to make it unlikely that anyone who could terrorize those who believed in it could back up their threats in any way, in the last 10-15 years, there have been increasing number of emerging gang leaders who have been able to curse foes, kill them in supernatural ways or otherwise use occult powers to claw their way to temporal power in the underworld.

Can people who know anything at all about New Orleans give me some thoughts on how this background might affect the modern city, crime there, existing gangs, potential powerful criminal forces and the like?
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:17 AM   #17
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Default Naming a Security Firm in New Orleans

I posted this in my campaign thread, Caribbean by Night, but it occurs to me that this is essentially a New Orleans Area Knowledge question, in that it's about a name for a business that might work in New Orleans. And more people who know anything about NOLA might see it here.

In the year 2000, three partners, with the clandestine financial support of J.R. Kessler's (Patron of the PC) secret occult vigilante organization, founded a security and private investigation firm in New Orleans. Two of them are retired US law enforcement officers and the third is an experienced executive from the world of international private security contracting.

Obviously, the company will serve as a cover company for various counter-occult operations by Kessler's people in Louisiana. It will hire legitimate security personnel, former detectives and the like, and actually carry out private investigations, perform due diligence research, asset recovery, security consultation, corporate counter-intelligence and the like. All of that, however, will be secondary to the real purpose of gathering information about the supernatural and, on occasion, do something about it.

I'm looking for ideas on what to name the company.

Something in French, maybe?

We want something that would sound trustworthy and appealing to people in New Orleans, without being too strange. They want to sound like a local firm with international expertise. That is, their shtick is that they bring international talent and experience to bear on contracts that are mostly focused in New Orleans and Louisiana.

They'd want to be able to bid for local, state and federal government contracts in law enforcement and security matters, anything from prisoner transport (the US Marshals Service) use private security firms to drive their prisoners around) to providing training in high-tech surveillance gear.

They'd also chase contracts from banks and corporations and to that end, they'll hire forensic accountants, financial investigators and people with experience in corporate security. Also, they are very much meant to be a modern high-end private investigation firm, so they'll take contracts from (rich) individuals and companies that require skilled investigators for whatever purpose people hire expensive private investigators.*

So, we want the name to be generic enough to not to raise any eyebrows, but still memorable and trustworthy enough to appeal to customers. Basically, imagine that the company was 100% legitimate and we were a marketing team searching for a name that would help them succeed in New Orleans.

So, what should their name be?

*From what I understand, usually things having to do with suspected fraud or assets concealed in bankruptcy cases. Divorce-work is low end, unless, of course, it's someone fantastically rich with a pre-nup that requires proving infidelity.

Founders

Kenneth W. Campbell (b. April 1, 1952; Shreveport, Louisiana) served as a helicopter pilot for the US Army (1969-1973; left as CW2), with two tours in Vietnam. He later did twenty years in the Louisiana State Police (1977-1997), in the Gaming Enforcement Division and the Aviation Division. After he retired from the LSP, he worked as a helicopter pilot for IYR Inc. (1997-2000), a logistics company providing services to yacht owners.

Myron L. Schneider (b. April 30, 1949; Port Arthur, TX) was drafted into the US Army 1967-1969, where he served a combat tour in Vietnam with the 7th Cavalry Regiment, as a machine gunner and helicopter door gunner. After getting out of the Army, Schneider served as Deputy in the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (1970-1975) and became a Special Agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1976, where he served for twenty years, until he retired in 1996. During his years in the DEA, Special Agent Schneider took part in the counter-narcotics Operation Snowcap in South America, making ten 90-day deployments to train and support police in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. After retiring from the DEA, Schneider worked as a sales representative in the Caribbean and Southern US for ORIEL S.A. (1996-2000), a French firm that is a market leader in security and surveillance technology.

Jean-Bastien Moreau (b. November 18, 1946; Casablanca, Morocco) was born to French parents. He is a former lieutenant of the French military (served from 1969-1974; from 1971-1974 as LT of the 2e REP in the French Foreign Legion). From 1977-1978 he served in the 7 Independent Company, 1st Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment, in the Rhodesian Security Forces.
Since then, he has worked in private security, with 22 years of experience as an executive with international security firms like Compagnie Blanche S.A., Sentinel Risk Management Inc. and ISHIM Ltd. He has a BA in Sociology from Paris X Nanterre (1968) and an MBA from Tulane University (1987). He became a US citizen in 1992.
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Old 04-06-2020, 01:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: New Orleans Area Knowledge Questions

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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Based on the other info you can literally put it anywhere you want. Here's how it works if you need realism.



Using this as a background you can pick, pretty much, any house you want in just about any location. Unfortunately I don't have the background in New Orleans that your seeking so I cant point out a specific house. Even one with a lot of land around it. Remember that in the USA land isn't as costly or hard to come by as in Europe, locations go up and down in value based on local developments, but it isn't hard to just look elsewhere for a better deal.

Historical sites become very tricky to sell as well because the govt cant just take land, however they can make it difficult and costly to try and do anything with it other than restore it. Historical Societies can be as bad as they are good, many people in historical areas see them as an expensive plague.

I can tell you that the story is actually much more common in the USA than you might think. Old families change over 2-3 generations typically and all but one branch of the family goes back to middle class in less than 100years.

Basically its really easy for this situation to occur. Typically one of the last things families that invest in their history let go of is the Ancestral Homestead, especially in a place like New Orleans where deep roots mean something in some circles.
That house IS their decline. Once upon a time they were great merchant princes, cattle barons, industrialists, whatever and most of their stuff got taken over by some mundane LLC with a ringer for a CEO. But a few things stuck like the house. Look how long the Astors lasted. The Dulles' came fresh off the boat at Plymouth.

They married high in Europe somewhere. And the guys on the other side of the pond moved over because of to many people ending up against the wall somewhere or other. Always a good reason (in fact there is a lot of playing around you can do with that).

The present owner got it by some eccentric family connection.

What did the family do during the Recent Unpleasantness? If it is old enough to be interesting one wonders if they were all on the Southern side or if they had connections up North.

It is not impossible to give their family plenty of age.
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: New Orleans Area Knowledge Questions

Two thoughts:

The Creole community in Southern Louisiana is OLD. It dates back to Spanish rule and is and was tremendously independent-minded and somewhat insular. Prior to the U.S. Civil War, the "Free People of Color" community in and around New Orleans maintained a much higher level of wealth, education, and cultural sophistication compared to black slaves elsewhere in the South. Many had ties to Haiti and other areas of the French- or Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

During the Slavery and Jim Crow eras, lighter-colored Mulattoes could, and did, "pass" as white (the so-called "paper bag" test). This allowed them to marry whites despite local anti-miscegenation laws.

Due to flukes of genetics, you might have a scion of a very old and powerful Creole family with obvious Negro features who self-identifies as "White", or someone who identifies as African-American who could easily pass as a Northern European.

As for a mansion in New Orleans, it might have survived in an otherwise developed area because of its historical value. Especially after about 1920, there was a push to keep architecturally significant buildings from being destroyed. After 1966, the property might be listed as a National Historic Site, which provides tax break in exchange for severe limitations on what can be done with it. Even routine repairs have to follow certain rules so that the building remains substantially unaltered from its historic appearance. That makes such properties much less valuable commercially.

If you want a reason why the property's value is depressed, in addition to all the hassle associated with owning a historical building, it might require modern upgrades - anything from plumbing to hurricane-proofing - which are incredibly expensive to do with historically-acceptable materials.

Additionally, ever since the end of WW2, the entire New Orleans area has been bedeviled by the Formosan termite which attacks wooden structures by preference. The mansion could be literally crumbling due to bugs in the walls, with repairs and extermination potentially costing millions.

Another possibility is sinkholes. Due to geography and overuse of ground water, Southern Louisiana is filled with sinkholes which threaten nearby structures. Even a suspected sinkhole makes commercial developers run the other way.

Combine the three and you get gorgeous building that looks like Tara from "Gone With the Wind," associated with one or more gristly but important events in the nation's past, plus untold personal tragedies, which is a literal money pit due to termite infestation, foundation subsidence, and the need for serious structural upgrades. Meanwhile, the spacious grounds, with their magnolias and cypresses covered with Spanish moss, are subsiding due to a relatively recent sinkhole.

At least officially, the mansion and its grounds are a basket case, but that just makes it easier for the monster hunters to keep a low profile. Given its history and troubles, it could be the source of several adventures, especially if the termites aren't normal termites, the sinkhole leads to an actual cave network, and repairs to the walls and foundation reveal evidence of supernatural horror.

If you want a bit more isolation, move the mansion and grounds to someplace along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Still a relatively short drive to downtown NoLa but with a bit more space on the grounds for clandestine activities.

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Old 04-09-2020, 06:27 PM   #20
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Default House of Lacoste

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Two thoughts:

The Creole community in Southern Louisiana is OLD. It dates back to Spanish rule and is and was tremendously independent-minded and somewhat insular. Prior to the U.S. Civil War, the "Free People of Color" community in and around New Orleans maintained a much higher level of wealth, education, and cultural sophistication compared to black slaves elsewhere in the South. Many had ties to Haiti and other areas of the French- or Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

During the Slavery and Jim Crow eras, lighter-colored Mulattoes could, and did, "pass" as white (the so-called "paper bag" test). This allowed them to marry whites despite local anti-miscegenation laws.

Due to flukes of genetics, you might have a scion of a very old and powerful Creole family with obvious Negro features who self-identifies as "White", or someone who identifies as African-American who could easily pass as a Northern European.
Lucien Lacoste, the PC scion of this family, indeed has the Passing Appearance Perk. He is mixed-race, but can pass for white or black depending on how he acts and around whom.

That being said, the Lacoste name came down to him from 'Creole' ancestors back when 'Creole' meant French people born in the colonies. His African-American ancestors had different names, as his African-American grandmother took his grandmother's name of 'Lacoste'. His grandmother, though, is light skinned (Lisa Bonet, approximately) and some of her relatives were passing. Her brother, however, was extremely dark.

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As for a mansion in New Orleans, it might have survived in an otherwise developed area because of its historical value. Especially after about 1920, there was a push to keep architecturally significant buildings from being destroyed. After 1966, the property might be listed as a National Historic Site, which provides tax break in exchange for severe limitations on what can be done with it. Even routine repairs have to follow certain rules so that the building remains substantially unaltered from its historic appearance. That makes such properties much less valuable commercially.

If you want a reason why the property's value is depressed, in addition to all the hassle associated with owning a historical building, it might require modern upgrades - anything from plumbing to hurricane-proofing - which are incredibly expensive to do with historically-acceptable materials.
Good point. I'll certainly have the mansion be a National Historic Site.

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Additionally, ever since the end of WW2, the entire New Orleans area has been bedeviled by the Formosan termite which attacks wooden structures by preference. The mansion could be literally crumbling due to bugs in the walls, with repairs and extermination potentially costing millions.

Another possibility is sinkholes. Due to geography and overuse of ground water, Southern Louisiana is filled with sinkholes which threaten nearby structures. Even a suspected sinkhole makes commercial developers run the other way.

Combine the three and you get gorgeous building that looks like Tara from "Gone With the Wind," associated with one or more gristly but important events in the nation's past, plus untold personal tragedies, which is a literal money pit due to termite infestation, foundation subsidence, and the need for serious structural upgrades. Meanwhile, the spacious grounds, with their magnolias and cypresses covered with Spanish moss, are subsiding due to a relatively recent sinkhole.
I like 'em, consider 'em all stolen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
At least officially, the mansion and its grounds are a basket case, but that just makes it easier for the monster hunters to keep a low profile. Given its history and troubles, it could be the source of several adventures, especially if the termites aren't normal termites, the sinkhole leads to an actual cave network, and repairs to the walls and foundation reveal evidence of supernatural horror.

If you want a bit more isolation, move the mansion and grounds to someplace along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Still a relatively short drive to downtown NoLa but with a bit more space on the grounds for clandestine activities.
Mind you, this mansion is not in the hands of Monster Hunters.

Nana Lacoste still lives there. And while she definitely knows about the occult and is familiar with the PCs' Patron, she is not a member of his organization. She has her own goals and her own secrets. Plenty of them.

Lucien Lacoste can theoretically ask her for help, but he is deathly afraid of her, and for good reason. Aside from her dark reputation in the occult underworld of New Orleans, Nana also has a sharp tongue and an unpleasant disposition.
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