MICHAEL ARSENEAU COLLECTION
Size: 0.2 linear foot
locations: New Orleans, Louisiana
dates: September 13, 2007
Summary: Twenty-six (26) photographic slides depicting the interior of Bultman Funeral Home (3338 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans) on the day before Bultman’s vacated it. Accompanied by a compact disc containing the same images. The images were captured by Michael Arseneau, a librarian at the Earl K. Long Library and a skilled amateur photographer, who participated in transporting the Bultman Funeral Home Archives (Mss 344) to the library.
collections: Bultman Funeral Home Archives (Mss 344)
Source: Gift, November 2007
Access: No restrictions on use in our reading room
Copyright: Physical rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans
Citation: Michael Arseneau Collection, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans
The New Orleans funeral home known officially as Bultman Mortuary Service and familiarly as House of Bultman or Bultman’s was founded in 1883 by Anthony Frederick Bultmann, in partnership with a man named Vogt. A native of New Orleans, A. F. Bultmann (January 8, 1853-September 16, 1934) was the son of German immigrants. In 1902 his son, A. F. Bultmann, Jr. (1885-July 26, 1964), joined the firm as an embalmer, and three years later Bultmann took his son into partnership. In about 1913, members of the family dropped the final “n” from their surname.
After operating from locations on Camp Street, where the remains of Confederate President Jefferson Davis were prepared for burial, and on Magazine Street (809 and 2711-2917 Magazine), the firm moved in about 1920 to 3338 St. Charles Avenue, where the junior Bultman had resided for several years. Neighbors objected to the establishment of a mortuary in a residential area, but Bultman obtained a zoning variance and the furor settled down. As their business expanded, the Bultmans bought two adjacent houses, one of them reputedly the former home of actress/singer Kitty Carlisle. During the 1930s, one building was used entirely services; offices and sales facilities occupied the others. In the 1940s the three structures were combined into the large facility that hosted services for such notables as World War II pilot Brig. Gen. Claire Chennault, actress Jayne Mansfield, oil tycoon Patrick Taylor, and artist Stan Rice, husband of author Anne Rice, as well as for generations of prominent and unrenowned New Orleanians alike.
Members of the Bultman family continued to operate the funeral home until Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005) severely damaged the building and its contents. The business never fully recovered, and in August 2006 it closed. Plans were announced the following month to sell the iconic building. Since December 2008 it has been the home of Borders Bookstore, which preserved the façade as part of a nine-million-dollar renovation.
Sources: New Orleans City Directories; “Sorrow and Kind Hearts,” New Orleans Daily Picayune, July 31, 1883; Greg Thomas, “Historic Funeral Home to Be Reborn as a Bookstore,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 3, 2007; Angus Lind, “Developer Lewis Stirling Turns Storied New Orleans Funeral Home into a Borders Bookstore,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 24, 2008; Susan Lauxman Kirk and Helen Michel Smith, The Architecture of St. Charles Avenue (Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishing Co., 1977, p. 118).
345-26 35mm slides depicting the interior of Bultman Funeral Home
345-27 Compact disc containing the images presented on the slides (345-1 – 345-26)
Bultman Funeral Home
Bultman Mortuary Service
Bultman, A. Fred
House of Bultman