While a trip to then Big Easy is usually all about eating and drinking, I was bound and determined to find a historic home tour in New Orleans last time we were there. Whether I’m in Savannah or Charleston, Wilmington or the Hudson Valley, I always try to squeeze in at least one grand historic home. And, while the internet seems to focus on recommendations of the crawfish and milk punch-fueled variety, I reached out to a friend from New Orleans for his recommendations and Longue Vue was at the top of the list.
I’m also taking this as a sign since Long View has always been my hypothetical dream name for my future home overlooking the rolling hills of the Virginia countryside. I think this means I’m manifesting it now?
Historic Home Tour in New Orleans: Longue Vue House and Gardens
I went into this historic home tour in New Orleans totally blind. Beyond jumping on the website while I was enjoying my cream of garlic soup at Bayona, I hadn’t done a lick of research. But, as soon as our uber drove up to this stately driveway, I knew we’d hit a historic home run.
And, as we walked through the gift shop while we waited for our tour to start and I noticed the collection of Spode Judaica items, I realized we’d found something even more intriguing than I realized.
The house, despite its entry that seems reminiscent of a much older era, was built in the 1920s by philanthropists Edith and Edgar Stern, a Jewish couple who moved to New Orleans to build their dream indoor and outdoor retreat. They found an unusually large plot of land within New Orleans that felt like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city and, thanks to landscape designer Ellen Biddle Shipman, built eight acres of gardens and a home that invites an indoor-outdoor, lush, garden-inspired aesthetic.
We opted for the combination house and garden tour, which is absolutely what I would recommend. Strolling through the gardens on your own is delightful, I’m sure, but there are so many interesting anecdotes I wouldn’t have learned had I gone through without a guide.
The tour takes you through the gardens first, detailing the intentional moments that were created throughout the harden, from the upturned stones echoing the Alhambra to the reflecting pool that guides your eye all the way from a restful bench through to the wildflower garden. You walk through the camellia garden, admiring the lilies sprouting up throughout, before going into the house, where you explore the first and second floors, each room carefully decorated with antiques the couple found throughout their travels. There is even a modern art gallery off the back, which they filled with an incredible collection of abstract pieces. The juxtaposition of the ornate antiques with the stark art is wild, in the best way.
Our entire tour lasted nearly two hours and was worth every penny. Longue Vue House and Gardens is off the beaten path a bit if you’re exploring the more tourist-heavy areas of New Orleans, but, trust me, you’ll want to add it to your itinerary for next time.