Longue Vue House and Gardens, 7 Bamboo Rd, New Orleans, LA 70124

The Story

This amazing estate, which boasts a Classical Revival-style mansion and 8 acres of Spanish-inspired gardens, is located in Mid-City and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. Built starting from 1939, it has 4 unique façades, each with its own garden.

The Neighborhood

Mid-City in New Orleans is a dynamic neighborhood characterized by a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Being one of the last neighborhoods in the city to be built, today Mid-City represents an area full of diversity but also local charm. The zone – originally a cluster of swamps – grew extensively in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, quickly becoming a town-like quarter filled with colorful houses. Once known as the “Backatown”, this New Orleans neighborhood has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now a vibrant and thriving community. 

Mid-City is also known for its large avenues lined with beautiful oak trees and houses built following a classic architectural style, making it appear as a friendly and quirky neighborhood. These characteristics also pop up in the busy event calendar of the neighborhood, which is also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, the City Park (New Orleans’ largest outdoor attraction since 1854!), and many breathtaking streets.

Bamboo Road, with its tree-lined streets and green surroundings, represents a calm area where locals and visitors alike can take a break from the fast-paced life in New Orleans. Strolling along Bamboo Road, you will certainly be amazed by the serene atmosphere and ambiance that define this area of Mid-City. Whether admiring the historic homes or simply enjoying a walk under the beautiful trees, you will perceive a sense of peace and tranquility that pervades the air. 

At number 7 in Bamboo Road sits Longue Vue House. With its well-preserved interiors and jaw-dropping landscaped gardens, the House offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage while perfectly matching the neighborhood’s vibe. Bamboo Road and the Longue Vue House serve as reminders of New Orleans’ enduring spirit and rich history.

Longue Vue House

Edith and Edgar Stern, the original owners of the house, had actually had another house built on the site prior to this one. The house was finished in 1921, and the owners believed it to be their dream home. During the 1930s, however, they started to feel that it didn’t go well with the luxurious gardens that surrounded it and decided to build another one from scratch. The famous landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, who was renovating the gardens, was doing an exceptional job, and the house wasn’t living up to the gardens’ luxurious look. 

Edith and Edgar Stern were absolutely pleased with Ellen Biddle Shipman’s work on the gardens, and, despite her being a landscape architect, asked her to design the new house, too. She was not convinced she was the best architect for the job and recommended the sons of her teacher, William and Geoffrey Platt, whereas she agreed to work on the interior design of the house.

The exterior design of the home was a pain point for Edith and Edgar, who, having seen so many different styles during their travels, were encountering difficulties picking just one. So, the architects designed four different façades, one for each side of the house which all serve as ways in and out. The result is that the West façade shows Palladian influences, the South façade represents the house style that was typical in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the East façade features a magnificent porch, and the North façade has Georgian influences.

The engineering of the house was breathtaking as well, with extremely modern systems for the 20th century, such as a central air conditioning system and a house-wide clock system. The Platt brothers curated each room with striking detail, making them all a unique experience inside the house, including a photography dark room and a wine cellar.

In 1980, after Edith’s death, the Longue Vue House became a nonprofit historic house museum, where visitors can participate in programs, exhibits, and events that focus on issues such as climate responsibility, education, public healthcare, and safety. 

Art at Longue Vue House

Edith Stern was an avid collector of Modern Art since the 1960s. Her first purchase, a Wassily Kandinsky painting, paved the way for the art collection that she built in the following years. Longue Vue House features many paintings by Victor Vasarely, an artist Edith met and eventually became close friends with. Other works that visitors can admire include pieces by Jaacov Agam, Jean Arp, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Robert Michel, Pablo Picasso, and Jésus Soto. In 1964, Edith wanted a space entirely dedicated to showcasing her growing art collection, and so the Platt brothers were tasked with the mission of turning the east side of the house into an actual Art Gallery. During these works, the architect also added black floor tiles, white silk wall covering, modern light fixtures and air conditioning to this part of the house.

The Gardens

The Gardens of Longue Vue House are nothing short of a masterpiece. Designed by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, they were opened to the public in 1968 so that the whole community could enjoy them. Their design perfectly integrates with that of the house and is deeply inspired by Edith and Edgar’s travels to Europe and Africa in the 1930s, when they admired many stunning house-and-garden sites, especially in Spain. 

Today, the Longue Vue Gardens are still open to the public, but there’s more: anyone can sign up to volunteer and help keep them in their perfect state!




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