The architect of the renaissance of the old town has her return to Knoxville


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – One of Knoxville’s most unknown architects returned to the Marble City.

“For one thing, Old Town was just a dump before it came here,” said Jack Neely, the executive director of the Knoxville History Project. “It was a place people avoided, it was dangerous, it was dirty. All the buildings collapsed, most of the buildings were empty down here. ”

Neely remembers what the old town was like before 1983.

“Annie came in that little corner and opened a fancy French restaurant and all of a sudden people were talking about the old town. And it was like a one-stop shop, ”said Neely.

Years later, in a much more developed old town, Delisle returned to her old turf and took the chance to soak it all up.

“I just think I was part of what was going to happen here anyway,” said Delisle.

DeLisle was a dancer when she decided to conquer the old town and turn it upside down.

“It took me, look at it, it was horrible, it was a mess. There had been nothing down here for 15 years, ”DeLisle said.

She founded Annies, an Italian restaurant near the corner of North Central and Jackson.

“I’ve wanted all my life, I loved jazz, a little jazz club, and I thought, why not us, why can’t we have live music here,” said DeLisle. “And they came here and started playing, and that made it easy. We had a courtyard outside and we built a stage and we had the music outside and it was as fun as New Orleans. “

Annie’s no longer there, but near what is now The Melting Pot there is a plaque marking Anne’s contributions to the old town and her accomplishments during her stay.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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