CHAPTER 1


BEGINNING OF CURTIS AND DAVIS

CURTIS AND DAVIS ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS, 1946

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Curtis (L) and Arthur Davis (R), from an advertisement, c. 1950. Photo, nnp.

The founding of an architectural firm was for me a totally casual undertaking. First, I needed a partner, then some office space, furniture, supplies, and clients. I was embarking on a program that would be of major importance in my life. As I write this, I am appalled at the casual way that this was done.

To find a partner, I looked through a list of fellow students. During the time I attended Tulane, there weren't more than fifty students in the entire school of architecture. There were only three in my graduating class (1940), one woman and another man who had moved to Arizona. I looked through the list of the class behind me and came to the name "Arthur Davis." I can't for the life of me remember why I happened to pick Arthur Davis. When I approached him, he didn't seem to give the proposition any more thought than I had. With hardly any hesitation he agreed to it. The question of whose name came first was a minor problem. We settled it by flipping a coin. I later learned that my name was entitled to be first because I was older. The name of our firm became Curtis and Davis, Architects.

Davis and I each put up $500 and rented a small office in downtown New Orleans on Union Street in a one-story building with a back courtyard. We shared space with two young lawyers and a young accountant. I had married Frances Collens while I was still in the Navy, and our first child had been born. Our little family moved in with my mother-in-law, and really bleak times were ahead.


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