Arthemise Goertz Roome
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300 Carroll Street. Arthemise Goertz Roome House, circa 1893.
This Victorian L-shaped Shotgun house, sheltered under a huge live oak, has original details such as dropped-cap columns, quoins, jigsaw balustrade, fan brackets and unusual chevron-patterned lattice. Unlike many properties from Mandeville's early days, this one enjoyed long tenure by one family.
The 'lot of ground' was purchased for $30 in 1891 by the Widow Mary Virginia Roome, who had a private school in Mandeville called Harvey's Academy for 'girls and lads' at this time. Her husband, Charles Oakley Harvey Roome (1833-1878) was professor at the Mandeville Academy, a college prep evening school for young men advertised in the Mandeville Wave in the early 1870s. They were educators, however the location of their school is unknown.
The Widow Roome sold this 'lot of ground' to her daughter Blanche Gastinel in 1893 for $75. Gastinel would build this house, circa 1893, and live in it until her death in 1953.
In her succession, she left the house to her nephew, Charles Oakley Harvey Roome, III.
The most prominent member of this family and occupant of this house would be the author, Arthemise Goertz (1903-2000), wife of Roome III. Arthemise Goertz was a New Orleans native, Tulane University 'magna cum laud' graduate, intrepid traveler and witness, with her mother, to WWII as a prisoner of war in Tokyo, Japan.
Her first novel, South of the Border, was published in 1940. During the late 1940s-50s, she published several more, including The Moon is Mine, Give Us Our Dream and New Heaven, New Earth in 1953.
This last one, dedicated to 'my grandmother and the summer home in Mandeville' tells a story of 'turn of the century' Mandeville and its aristocratic Creole French-speaking society during a long summer in 1909 that culminates in an horrific hurricane and frantic retreat to the 'bank' building.
Interestingly, an actual hurricane in 1915 was devastating to many Mandeville properties. The summer homes of Arthemise's mother's family, the Millers, at 120 and 122 Carroll Street are neighbors to the Bank Building, circa 1907, located at 201 Carroll, and were both rebuilt as Craftsman cottages around this time, perhaps as a result of damage caused during the 1915 hurricane.