Hermann-Grima House/Museum, 820 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

The Story

First, a luxurious private residence, then a boarding house for single women, and finally a museum, this Federal-style mansion known as the Hermann-Grima House, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, encapsulates the essence of the 19th century. It’s no wonder that its meticulously restored features and charming courtyard garden attract large groups of tourists every year. 

A Unique House in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Acquired by the Christian Woman’s Exchange in the 1920s and operated as a boarding house for single women until 1975, the Hermann-Grima House underwent restoration and transformation into a museum in 1975, still owned and managed by The Woman’s Exchange, a local nonprofit organization. Its historical significance was further underscored by its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1974. 

Notably, it boasts the only surviving horse stable and 1830s open-hearth kitchen in the French Quarter. Today, after careful archaeological examinations and restoration works, the Hermann-Grima house/museum offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of a prosperous Creole family. Serving as an early exemplar of American architecture in the French Quarter, the house features a collection with about half of its items tracing back to the original families. 

The Origins of the Hermann-Grima House (1831-1837)

Samuel Hermann, a German immigrant, arrived in Louisiana in 1804 and settled on the German Coast before moving to New Orleans in 1813. A broker by trade, he and his wife, Marie Emeranthe Becnel, raised four children while residing in various French Quarter houses. In 1831, they commissioned architect William Brand to construct their Federal-style residence on St. Louis Street, which would later be referred to as the Hermann-Grima House.

The Grima Family (1837-1921)

Following financial setbacks in 1837, the Hermanns sold the home to Felix Grima, a prominent member of the New Orleans society. With his wife, Marie Sophie Adelaide Montegut, Felix led a cultured life in the house, where they raised their large family and engaged in both social and religious activities. The Grima family remained in the residence until 1921, contributing significantly to the city’s cultural and religious scene.

The Christian Woman’s Exchange (1924-1975)

In 1924, the Christian Woman’s Exchange of New Orleans, founded in 1881 by Margaret W. Bartlett, obtained the Hermann–Grima House, serving as a rooming house before transforming into a museum in 1975.




Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share on

Get Monthly Story Highlights

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the best of the community straight to your inbox.