Project description: Upgrades to the balcony at Tableau restaurant
Address: 616 St. Peter St., New Orleans
Owner: Dickie Brennan & Co.
Architect: Trapolin-Peer Architects
Contractor: Ryan Gootee General Contractors
Space: 1,025 square feet
Start date: March 22
Completion date: June 22
One of the French Quarter’s most notable restaurant balconies is getting a major overhaul.
Tableau, a Dickie Brennan restaurant in Jackson Square, is replacing its balcony’s aeratis decking while being sensitive to its historic railing.
Conscious of the restrictions due to the area around the construction site, as well as the strict codes in place due to the architectural impact, Ryan Gootee General Contractors and Trapolin Peer Architects worked closely with the Vieux Carré Commission for months to perfect the design.
Custom ornamental cast iron fascia and column panels will support the structure’s new copper roof. Complementary header panels will frame the new awning’s edge. New column and awning heights were initially established based off the existing balcony elevation.
The upgrades are taking place due to more than six decades of settlement and weathering. With a tentative completion date of next month, the project aims to stabilize the restaurant’s balcony and shade the dining experience for patrons.
Steve Pettus, managing partner at Dickie Brennan & Co., hopes the renovations will be more appealing and more in character with surrounding buildings.
“For us, it’s about providing a better experience for our guests and also protecting the building itself,” Pettus said. The building was reconstructed in the 1960s and was designed after the original 1797 building.
The renovations will provide shade for the outer side of the second floor of the building, which has 18 doors. The doors were warping because of the sun beaming down on the building’s exterior while air conditioning tried to maintain a cooler temperature inside.
The overall project costs $500,000, a price that Pettus said doubled since original plans were sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The restaurant received unanimous approval from the VCC in July 2019 and was issued a permit for construction. The owners had one year to begin the project. But in Spring 2020, Tableau and many restaurants temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
“So, it didn’t make much since to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars at that time,” Pettus said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen. We said, ‘Let’s hold off on the project.’”
The permit lapsed in that time, and they eventually returned to a newly convened board of commissioners at the VCC, which looked at the project anew.
“They certainly worked with us, but it was higher hurdles,” Pettus said, adding that Gootee took the hurdles in stride. “They have a lot of solutions to anything you throw at them.”
Pettus said his hope is that New Orleanians and tourists will be proud of the finished product for years to come.
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