3416 Louisiana Street
Photos Courtesy Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
By Brandon Wolf
Dianas Founder David Moncrief lived in an apartment building set on a magical block of land in the 3400 block of Louisiana Avenue, two blocks south of Elgin Street. The block had been developed by famed decorator Parker Edwards. Edwards’s compound was just a block southeast from the Houston Junior League building, designed by architect John Staub. One block further southeast was the Alley Theater. Edwards had bought all the buildings on the block and created a wonderland of bricked pathways, pergolas, fountains, and colorful plantings, all accented by beautiful statuary.
The block had a French New Orleans feel to it with decorative wrought-iron work, hanging vines, and patios that opened onto a common courtyard. When the Junior League moved in 1968, Brennan’s restaurant took over the building and renovated it in the New Orleans style that Edwards had established in the area.
The 59 Expressway did not exist in the 1950s, and residents of nearby Courtlandt Place and Montrose could easily access the area. Moncrief had wisely
chosen as his flower shop a building on the same block where he lived. The area catered to those with wealth and taste—gift shops, bridal shops, antique
dealers, custom printers, and professional photographers.
Art Graeter was a boy of less than ten at the time, but he remembers the area well because his father owned the House of Glass, a specialty store that sold chandeliers and other unique lighting. “People loved to be invited to Parker’s cocktail parties,” he remembers. “They were usually held in the courtyard. He would decorate the area beautifully. He often asked David Moncrief to affix flowers and small candles in the trees.”
The House of Glass and Richard’s Antiques and Statuary survive in the area today. Traces of the French News Orleans style are still sporadically evident.
The Dianas Part One (OutSmart March 2010)
The Dianas Part Two (OutSmart April 2010)
More on the Dianas (including Programs, links, contact info, etc.)