Samuel Wilson, Jr., may be regarded as the leading authority on the architectural history of Louisiana. Not only was Wilson an architect, but he also was a member of the Tulane faculty, where he lectured on the history of some of Louisiana’s oldest buildings. A member of the American Institute of Architects, and a founding member and past president of the Louisiana Landmarks Society, he served on the Board of Curators of the Louisiana State Museum. If he was not too busy with the aforementioned societies, institutes, and boards, Wilson also acted as the historian of the Orleans Parish Landmarks Commission and was the former director of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Wilson’s wealth of knowledge on Louisiana architecture was not confined to these various memberships, either. He was also the editor of Impressions Respecting New Orleans by Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe. He also wrote numerous articles for various scholarly journals, such as Louisiana Historical Quarterly and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Wilson’s expertise in the field of architecture is evident in his collaborative effort with coauthor Leonard V. Huber in their book The Cabildo on Jackson Square. Wilson wrote the colonial history of the 235-year-old Cabildo. Built by the Spanish to serve as their primary governmental building, the Cabildo was transferred into French and then American hands in 1803.
Wilson’s passion for architecture ran as deep as the Mississippi River and was as rich as the colorful history of New Orleans. Settled deep in the marshy South, the exquisite architecture of New Orleans continues to awe residents and visitors alike. Thanks to Wilson, the history of some of New Orleans’ oldest buildings has been written down, thus preserving their precious legacies for years to come.