Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Places to Visit: Longue Vue House and Gardens, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

A little over a week ago I visited one of my best friends in New Orleans, where she has been a teacher for the past two years. I would have written about the trip earlier, but for the past week - in fact since the morning after I got back - my computer was out of commission. It was a wonderful weekend get-away. The weather was lovely and we whiled away most of our time catching up and enjoying the city's great culinary offerings. In between eating and laughing and eating some more we also visited a nursery or two - more on the haul from that shopping spree later - and a historic house and garden. Long Vue was the home of Edgar and Edith Stern, local business magnates and philanthropists, first begun in 1924. From 1934 onward famous landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman worked on the estate, and in 1939 the current house, designed by William and Geoffrey Platt, was begun to better match the gardens she had laid out. The exterior of the Classical Revival mansion itself is actually rather restrained, at least as far as early twentieth-century estate places go, though it does have four rather different façades designed to match the portions of the garden they look out upon. Meanwhile, the interior is sumptuous as can be, having actually been designed around much of the antique furniture. Apart from individual antiques, there are the rather typical room interiors bought wholesale from European estates being liquidated, ancient wood paneling and all. More surprisingly, perhaps, there is also an interesting collection of modern art.

The front entrance to the house as seen from the Forecourt

The intimate Pan Garden off the dining room and breakfast nook

The fountain in the Pan Garden

The gardens feature a series of distinct spaces around the house. On the northern side of the house, a shaded, flower-fringed terrace known as the Pan Garden sits just outside the dining room, the bay window breakfast nook of which used to open directly to this space. The eastern side of the house overlooks the golf course of a country club across a narrow terrace, while most of the gardens stretch out from the south side of the mansion. Most prominent among them is the Spanish Court, which features a long panel of lawn running from the house towards a loggia and a long canal with fountains, all framed by clipped boxwood, further Moorish-style fountains, and brick walls draped in flowering shrubs. Wedged between the house and this majestic space are two smaller gardens, the Portico Terrace Garden consisting of a boxwood parterre and the Yellow Garden, a small space planted monochromatically in shades of that color and featuring a modern fountain. 

In the Portico Terrace Garden

View along the Spanish Court towards the house

The lovely brick work around the Spanish Court

 One of the many smaller fountains

 In the Yellow Garden

Beyond the Spanish Court is the Canal Garden, a shady space centered on a narrow rill flanked by pots of snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), purportedly inspired by a garden near Lisbon in Portugal. It connects a more naturalistically planted Gold Fish Pond and the Walled Garden, a square formal space that features various varieties of Citrus and lots of herbs arranged around a central sunken fountain.

View of the Canal Garden

Around the Gold Fish Pond

In the Walled Garden

Beyond the Walled Garden lies the Wild Garden, which apart from  Louisiana native plants, including a large collection of Louisiana iris, features camellias and a pigeonnier or dovecote.

Entering the Wild Garden

Early camellias

The pigeonnier

Finally, there is the Discovery Garden, a later addition with flowers, herbs, and vegetable plots and whimsical informative displays aimed primarily at children. For more information, you can visit the website of Long Vue House and Gardens here.


  1. Very nice! About a month we tinkered on the idea of visiting New Orleans next year. Seeing your photos has renewed interest!

  2. Thanks for the tour. I could see myself living there! Jack


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