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Sidney Torres to redevelop historic French Quarter monastery

It's the largest plot of land sold privately within the French Quarter in many years. (Source: Sidney Torres) It's the largest plot of land sold privately within the French Quarter in many years. (Source: Sidney Torres)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -

New Orleans entrepreneur Sidney Torres IV will redevelop the historic site of the former Monastery of St. Joseph and St. Teresa of the Discalced Carmelites, more commonly known as the Carmelite Monastery. 

It's the largest plot of land sold privately within the French Quarter in many years. The former Archdiocese of New Orleans property occupies nearly the entire city block bounded by Rampart, Barracks, Burgundy, and Governor Nicholls. Torres indicated plans will include a mix of residential and commercial spaces.

"When you see the church, the houses, the whole complex, it's just so exciting and I can't wait to get started. It's going to be great, " Torres said. 

The lower French Quarter complex near both Cabrini Park and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation office, designed by famed architect James Freret and dedicated in 1895, includes a church, courtyards, several freestanding homes, and the living quarters for the nuns. 

Thee nuns were members of the Discalced Carmelite order, established in 1593 by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. "Discalced" means they did not wear shoes, but instead only sandals. They were also cloistered, which means they committed their entire lives to living within the monastery. The monastery at its height featured gardens, a refectory, and even an infirmary for the sick. The nuns spent much of their lives in prayer and work, using their skills as artists, translators, gardeners, seamstresses, and craftsmen to support the monastery.

No definitive timeline has been set for the project. 

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