Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
The Giani Building
Originally designed by New Orleans native architects Thomas Sully and Theodore Toledano, and built in 1889, the Giani Building was a staple of the Central Business Distinct for many years, the first high rise built along Canal St and a major center of business. Eventually, as the building (or rather buildings, for originally it was three separate structures) aged they fell out of use, and by the time Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005 it was largely abandoned, deemed too expensive and impractical with its ancient design, wiring, and other impediments. While the hurricane did no favors with the exodus it prompted from the Crescent City, the subsequent renewal brought about by the rebuilding of New Orleans eventually gave birth to plans – and funding – needed to renovate the Giani Building into something new: a combination first floor retail development and high class apartment building downtown, within walking distance to the French Quarter (a meager block away) and with amenities such as an upper deck lounge, pool, and deck. Renovation began in 2014 and finished in mid 2015.
Today the Giani Building is as much a symbol of the New Orleans that was as the New Orleans that is: a renewal of the past and a step into the future. The building boasts more than forty apartments across six floors (the first floor is exclusively retail, management, and the lobby) and caters to wealthy up-and-coming professionals that lack families (most of the units are one bedrooms) and enjoy the proximity to many of the signs and sounds of the city’s major attractions. Much of the interior was gutted during the renovation, with new wiring, piping, and ventilation installed throughout as part of a massive (and expensive) project in part funded by ‘historical preservation’ funds designed to preserve the look and feel of the city as a whole.
Sharing a street corner with three major hotels, the Giani Building, once a ‘high rise’ and beacon of development, is today dwarfed by it neighbors. Despite that, it brings something that its towering peers cannot match: history and authenticity, complete with its old second story wrap around balcony for festival times.
The building is manged by Canal Camp Apartments LLC, with Ernest Phimlee, a fat and overly serious man in his early thirties (and an honest to goodness descendant of Thomas Sully) serving as both the overall face of the operation and with broad oversight of the building (along with several others) and Hugo Cleveland, a portly middle-aged man who serves as the day manager. Cleveland lives on-site and is eager to accommodate residents, maintaining that he’s available ‘day or night’ as they require.
In truth, the building is owned by Rishu “Rich” Pavaghi, better known as ‘the t-shirt czar.’ Pavaghi is a real estate developer and mega-slumlord who owns a host of properties throughout New Orleans and is well known for his empire of t-shirt stores and other disposable low income businesses that suck the life and vitality out of the city with seemingly no regard for its history or culture.
Aside from its owners and higher level operators, the building makes use of a number of day-to-day employees, most notably full time security to man its array of on site surveillance, a contracted cleaning service for public spaces, and a small maintenance crew. For those desiring more, a variety of amenities are available, including meal services and child care.
The Giani Building became Caroline haven when she accepted Hound Agnello’s tenancy offer in 2015, and remained her base of operations even when the domain reverted to the seneschal following the hound’s unseemly fight in Elysium.
Caroline has neither advertised her quiet takeover of the Giani building, nor has she made a great secret of it. Her control over the building’s security and other facilities, along with its location on Canal Street made it an attractive place for her private meetings and for her haven, especially when she was commonly dealing with Lord Savoy and in fear of the prince’s justice.
She’s not so careless as to invite others into her haven—at least not casually—but the upper deck house (nominally closed after 11 PM to residents) is both tasteful, private, and secure enough that Caroline has been comfortable meeting others there as needed with little fear of interference, ease-dropping, or projecting the wrong image.
For larger gatherings Caroline has the option of moving out into the deck itself, which is similarly tasteful and private – though not so much as the deck house. She has plans in the long term to host social gatherings (a less civilized individual might call them parties), but for now the open deck mostly serves as a private area in which she can get away from the world in the late evenings and early mornings. It’s open to the sky and city, and one place in which she can get away from Kindred life for a time, an outdoor sanctuary in which she can soak in a pool, or a hot tub, or lay out under the stars for her own enjoyment. It’s also a place in which she can entertain mortal company without much fear, by they potential members of her herd, executives she has under her thumb, or simply those few she tries to maintain a more conventionally human connection to, without exposing them to dangerous secrets (for them) such as her haven’s exact location or layout.
She maintains a heavily reinforced apartment haven on the 6th floor, moved many of her ghouls into the building, and took over leases on unspecified other apartments within, turning them into specialized spaces, including at least one ‘guest’ house currently occupied by her thin-blood ward, Natalia Garcia, and her family.