In December 1833, Nichols and his wife moved from Montgomery, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana. Nichols had accepted the position of Assistant State Engineer for the state of Louisiana, a position decidedly beneath him. Although building opportunities were limited, it was a beneficial and crucial period in his career as an architect. While in New Orleans, he became aware of the architectural publications of Minard Lefever and the work of James Dakin. The elaborate buildings he designed after leaving New Orleans reflected these influences.
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