While exploring New Orleans you must visit some of the historic homes and buildings. New Orleans has some of the nation’s oldest historic homes with an array of architectural styles and time periods. Take a self-guided tour of the Old Ursuline Convent it is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. Then visit the Old U.S. Mint which served as a Confederate mint during the Civil War and stop by the Beauregard-Keyes House and see where Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.) Beauregard lived after the Civil War. You will find these historic buildings scattered throughout the French Quarter and New Orleans. Touring these historic landmarks allow you to step back into history and see how New Orleans citizen of past era’s lived their lives.
New Orleans Historic Homes open to the public
Herman-Grima House * French Quarter
The Hermann-Grima is a historic house museum in the French Quarter. The house was built in 1831, by a German Jewish immigrant, Samuel Hermann, who amassed his fortune in the cotton market. The Hermann-Grima House is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans. The meticulously-restored home reflects the "Golden Age" of New Orleans and accurately depicts the lifestyle of a wealthy New Orleans family in the mid 1800’s. It is a handsome Federal-style mansion with courtyard garden, stable and functional outdoor kitchen. Visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time and learn about architecture, the Golden Age of New Orleans, and the people who lived and worked on the property. Tours last between 45 minutes to one hour. The historic Herman-Grima House is located in the French Quarter at 820 Saint Louis Street.. For more information on the Herman-Grima House call (504) 274-0746
Beauregard-Keyes House * French Quarter
The Beauregard-Keyes House is located at 1113 Chartres Street. Here, Joseph LeCarpentier built his family home that would eventually become known as the Beauregard-Keyes House. Designed by distinguished architect Francois Correjolles, this historic house was finished in 1826 and is now considered a fine example of a raised center hall house. It is named for two of its residents, Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.) Beauregard and novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes.
Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.) Beauregard lived in the home from 1866-1868 while he was president of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad. During the Civil War, the West Point graduate became the first Confederate brigadier general. The Louisiana-born hero returned to New Orleans after the war, living at 1113 Chartres Street from 1866 to 1868. Some of his furnishings and family portraits are on view at the Beauregard-Keyes House, including in the bedroom now called the Beauregard Chamber.
In August 1944, the entire second floor was rented to author Frances Parkinson Keyes, who used the home as her winter residence for 25 years until her death in 1970. Mrs. Keyes wrote many of her books while living in the house, including Dinner at Antoine’s, The Chess Players, Madame Castel’s Lodger and Blue Camellia.For more information on the Beauregard-Keyes Historic House call (504) 523-7257
Edgar Degas House * Esplanade Avenue
Edgar Degas (1834–1917), was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism. In 1872, Degas began an extended stay in New Orleans, staying at the home of his Creole uncle, Michel Musson, on Esplanade Avenue; Degas produced a number of works, many depicting family members. One of Degas's New Orleans works, A Cotton Office in New Orleans, garnered favorable attention back in France, and was his only work purchased by a museum during his lifetime. The New Orleans Edgar Degas House is the only home or studio of Degas anywhere in the world that is open to the public. The house is a museum, and hosts guided tours, bed and breakfast guests, special events, and wedding ceremonies & receptions. It is also the home of the Edgar Degas Foundation which seeks to preserve the legacy of Degas in New Orleans. The Degas House was built in 1852 during the development of the Esplanade Ridge Neighborhood. It was known as one of the most impressive residences in the area. The historic Degas House is just minutes from the French Quarter at 2306 Esplanade Avenue. For more information on the Edgar Degas Historic Home call (504) 821-5009
Visit Longgue Vue House and Gardens * Lakeview
Longue Vue House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and AAM accredited museum, is the former estate of philanthropist and civic leader Edith and Edgar Stern. Longue Vue House, located about 5 miles from the French Quarter on the western edge of the city at 7 Bamboo Road, is a Country Place Era estate featuring a Classical Revival mansion and an impressive collection of decorative arts and modern art. The Longue Vue’s eight acres of outdoor spaces are unsurpassed, consisting of 14 distinct gardens, including the interactive Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden. Longue Vue offers tours daily and hosts numerous events centered around design, gardening, architecture, and more. The Shop is a destination for signature items, including garden accessories and home décor, which reflects the relationship between the house and gardens. For more information on the Longue Vue House musuem call 504.488.5488
Visit the 1850 Historic House * French Quarter at Jackson Square
The 1850 House is a historic house museum located in the Lower Pontalba Building along the side of Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The 1850 House was built between 1849 and 1851 by the Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the elegant townhouses flanking Jackson Square still serve their original purpose with private apartments above ground-floor shops. The 1850 House museum is the only Pontalba apartment open to the general public. The State Museum has furnished the apartment to the style and tastes of a prosperous merchant family in antebellum New Orleans, the museum is a showcase for furniture and decorative arts. The Museum gift shop, operated by the Friends of the Cabildo, is located in the 1850 House.
The Old Ursuline Convent * Historic Building in the French Quarter
The Old Ursuline Conventis the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. Constructed by French Colonial Engineer, the convent was designed in 1745 and completed in 1752-1753. It was originally built for nuns whose mission was to nurse the poor and teach young girls. Over the centuries, this building has also been a school, an archbishop's residence, the archdiocesan central office, a meeting place for the Louisiana Legislature. Later, it served as a residence for priests serving mainly the Italian community and then housed the Archdiocesan Archives. According to the National Parks Service, “This is the finest surviving example of French Colonial public architecture in the country, Louis XV in style, formal and symmetrical, with restrained ornament. Today, the Old Ursuline Convent is restored and a popular historical attraction. It is also part of the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, along with St. Louis Cathedral. This historic building is located at 1100 Chartres Streetand is open for self-guided tours Monday through Saturday, 10am-4pm.
Old U.S. Mint * Historic Building 400 Esplanade Avenue
The Old U.S. Mint museum is a massive Greek revival structure that was built in 1835 and served as a U.S. Mint until 1909 and as a Confederate mint during the Civil War. The museum is the only mint to produce American and Confederate coinage. Minting began in 1838 and continued until Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861. Afterwards, the mint was transferred to the Confederacy and used to mint Confederate coinage and house troops. After the Civil War, the mint resumed full operations and was the only southern mint to reopen after the war. In 1909, minting ceased and the building was used for a number of official purposes until it was transferred to the state in 1966. In 1981, the mint opened to the public as a State museum site.
On the ground floor of the museum exhibits feature historic coin-making equipment and rare gold and silver coins minted here.
The museums upper floors are devoted to Louisiana’s rich musical heritage and you will hear live music nearly every day and many evenings. Most events are free as part of the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
For more information about the New Orleans Old U.S. Mint museum call (504) 568-6968
Explore 19th-century New Orleans at the Historic Gallier House
If you love historic homes The Gallier House is a very good example of one. The house is arranged to give a very authentic impression of life in New Orleans during the mid 19th century. In those days James Gallier Jr. was one of the most prominent architects in New Orleans and in 1857 designed a home of his own in the 1100 block of Royal Street in the French Quarter. Among other technological and architectural advancements of its time, the Gallier house was the first in New Orleans to have indoor plumbing. The fully furnished house includes a courtyard garden, elegant carriageway, and slave quarters. The interior is restored and furnished in the style of the 1850s. The Gallier house is located at 1132 Royal Street and is an outstanding example of accurate and comprehensive historic restoration of one of New Orleans’ loveliest and time-honored landmarks. During the Christmas holiday season traditional 19th century Creole decorations are set up throughout the house.
Historic New Orleans Collection Museum * French Quarter
The Historic New Orleans Collection complex is located in the French Quarter at 533 Royal Street. Seven buildings and three courtyards make up the Royal Street complex.
The Merieult House on 533 Royal Street serves as the entrance to the The Historic New Orleans Collection. Dating from the 18th century, the house occupies land that has been in continuous use since the early days of the colony in the 1720s. The Louisiana History Galleries are on the second floor and the museum shop and the Williams Gallery for changing exhibitions on the first floor.The Merieult House today still preserves the style of the 1830s renovation.
The Counting House is named for the banking activities conducted by the Lizardi firm on this site in the 19th century. It was built in 1794–95. Today, the first floor is used for meetings, seminars, receptions, and exhibitions when additional space is needed; the second floor is used for administrative offices.
The three-story Maisonette was constructed over an earlier auxiliary structure that was built at the same time as the Merieult House in the 1790s. Today the Maisonette houses staff offices.
The Williams Residence was build in 1889, almost 100 years after the Merieult House. The residence, surrounded by three courtyards, is often described as a hidden house. The furnishings and decor remain as they were in the 1940s and 1950s. Tours of the residence are offered daily.
The Townhouse is so incorporated into The Collection’s complex of connected structures that it does not appear to be a separate building. The two-story brick building now on the site, dating from the late 19th century, replaced an earlier structure and was used as a banking house, according to an act of sale in 1888. Today, the townhouse is home to The Collection’s staff offices.
Louis Adam house was built here in 1788, after the first great fire destroyed an earlier structure. Today, the Toulouse Street building houses the The Collection’s publications/marketing department.
The Creole Cottage was built around 1830. Today it houses the workspace of the exhibition preparation department.