Ann Rice's Former Home

Ann Rice’s Former Home

On Wednesday, we drove to the edge of New Orleans and boarded a street car. We got off in the Garden District and followed a self-guided tour recommended in the Louisiana AAA Tour Book. The following information comes from that tour. The Bradish Johnson House is identified as a Second Empire-style mansion erected in 1872 by New Orleans architect James Feret for a wealthy sugar planter. Toby’s Corner, a Greek Revival dating from 1838, is the district’s oldest house. Two Italianate mansions built simultaneously in 1869 by architect Samuel Johnson have identical ironwork. We saw Anne Rice’s former home, an 1857 combination of Greek Revival and Italianate styles noted for its cast-iron adornments. The guardian oaks’ gnarly roots have corrupted the sidewalk. The Payne House, a Greek Revival, was the home where Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, died in 1869. Sugar broker Samuel Delgado’s frame Italianate was occupied by his nephew Isaac, who donated his art collection to form the basis of the New Orleans Museum of Art. We passed a series of eight shotgun houses including one camelback (having a second story atop the rear section). The Michel Musson House, built around 1853, was the home of a Creole cotton magnate and maternal uncle of the artist Edgar Degas. The Robinson House is one of the area’s largest residences. Its architect was Henry Howard, designer of Nottoway Plantation and several other Garden District homes. The gables, ironwork galleries, and gingerbread trim on the chalet-style Koch mansion make for an interesting contrast to the other classic Garden District homes. Lafayette Cemetery, established in 1833, was going to close at 3 p.m., the time when we passed by so we only briefly entered it. We stopped for a few minutes in the former Rink, an 1884 skating rink, which now contains upscale shops and an active Garden District real estate agent. Col. Short’s Villa is an 1859 Italianate residence designed by Henry Howard. Despite the heat and humidity, we enjoyed an interesting walk about this historic area.

We then used our Jazzy pass, which allows unlimited transfers on the streetcars for a 24-hour period, to visit the French Quarter, some 90 blocks that represents the heart of the city. Interestingly, the architecture is Spanish, not French. We found an air-conditioned spot on Bourbon Street for a beer and tasty form of nachos. A line of tourists lined up outside Preservation Hall. Music could be heard pulsating from several venues and we enjoyed listening to street performers. As a local might say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll).

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