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The Charm Of New Orleans’ Garden District

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by Margie Hardesty
February 7, 2019
Category:   New Orleans Life

New Orleans’ Historic Garden District

Real estate in the Garden District is famous for its canopy of oak trees lining its streets, and graceful mansions surrounded by lavish gardens. Protected by wrought iron fences with a history of their own, the carefully tended gardens are the crown jewel of the neighborhood. In the spring they fill the air with scents of sweet olive and honeysuckle and bougainvillea vines, crepe myrtles and hibiscus bloom in a rainbow of colors.

The streets bordering the Garden District have their own share of infamy. To the north is St. Charles Avenue and it’s historic mansions. With residents like Sandra Bullock, who paid $2M for her Gothic Victorian mansion and, Archie Manning, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints for over and decade, who raised his superstar sons, Peyton, Eli, and Cooper, on the avenue and where he and his wife still live.

St. Charles Avenue is also a major parade route and soon families will gather for Mardi Gras 2019 to fill the streets and watch the elaborate floats and marching bands, catch beads and make memories.

The south side of the Garden District is bordered by Magazine Street. The narrow street is a favorite of locals and visitors alike for its quirky boutiques and antique shops filled with hidden treasures tucked between 4-star restaurants, intimate cafes, coffee shops, and local bars.

Local residents relax on their porches as visitors stroll under centuries-old oak trees to admire the various architectural styles of the large plantation houses and the “gingerbread” Victorian-style homes that came later.

The original design of the Garden District was to have two houses on each block surrounded by large gardens, hence the name. In the late 1800’s many of the larger lots were split into smaller ones and the elegant 19th-century mansions are now surrounded by smaller single-family Victorian-style cottages.

Several sites in the Garden District are on the historical register and bring historians and visitors from around the world. Here are some of the more famous structures, restaurants and historical sites of the Garden District.

Commander’s Palace, 1403 Washington Avenue. The restaurant has been a New Orleans landmark since 1893. The history of the restaurant gives visitors a glimpse into New Orleans’ storied past and whimsical Louisiana charm.

R.N. Girling’s “English Apothecary”, 2726 Prytania Street. Occupied by Robert Nash Girling where he established an “English Apothecary” which he operated from the 1880s-1890s. Nash was instrumental in opening the doors for Louisiana to become the first state in the nation to licensed pharmacists.

The Gilmour – Parker House at 1520 Prytania Street was erected in 1853 for Thomas Corse Gilmour, English Cotton Merchant. Isaac Thayer was both architect-builder.

The Bradish Johnson House at 2341 Prytania Street was erected in 1872. This post-Civil War mansion built for a prominent Louisiana sugar planter was attributed to James Freret, an architect.

The Adam-Jones House at 2423 Prytania Street, was built for John I. Adams, a well-known merchant, who made it his residence until 1896. It was restored in 1962 by Mrs. Hamilton Polk Jones.

Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association at 2500 Prytania Street. This home was designed and built in a Greek Revival style by architect William Alfred Freret in 1859.

Claiborne Cottage at 2727 Prytania Street. A raised Greek Revival cottage the home was built in 1857 by John Vittie for the daughter of Louisiana’s first Governor who was at the time a Lady of French Queen Amelie’s court, and the wife of Mandeville de Marigny, a prominent political and military figure.

The Penrose-Sere House on the corner of Prytania and Philip Street was designed and built in 1859 by Frank P. Graveley, an architect for the distinctive George B. Penrose company. He also served as the New Orleans City Treasurer.

Brevard-Rice House, 1239 First Street, built for Albert Hamilton Brevard in 1857 by Charles Pride. Owned by Brevard heirs until 1869. After various owners, it was purchased in 1989 by the novelist Anne Rice and her husband, the poet, and painter Stan Rice.

2707 Coliseum Street was the site of the childhood home featured in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Goldsmith-Godchaux House at 1122 Jackson Ave. was designed by Henry Howard, architect, in 1859. The home is said to have more fresco wall decorations and stencilings than any other nineteenth-century home in the South.

Trinity Church Episcopal at 1329 Jackson Avenue was founded in 1847. The building was completed in 1854 with George Purves as the Architect-Builder.

Buckner Mansion at 1410 Jackson Avenue is a large, quite opulent home built in 1856 and was one of the sites filmed in the American Horror Story: Coven.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at 1420 Washington Avenue is one of the city’s famed above-ground cemeteries. It was first established in 1833 in what was then known as the City of Lafayette.

St. Mary’s Chapel at 1516 Jackson Avenue was built in 1844 and was the first Roman Catholic, German-speaking church in the state of Louisiana.

These are only some of the hidden treasures and charms of the infamous Garden District. It would take a lifetime to discover them all.  If you would like to start your life in New Orleans, contact your local New Orleans real estate agent to buy or sell a home.

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