Longue Vue House and Gardens, built by philanthropists Edgar and Edith Stern between 1939 and 1942, is one of the last Country Place Era homes built in the United States.¹ The eight-acre estate is located at the edge of the suburban Old Metairie neighborhood of New Orleans and consists of a Classical Revival mansion designed by New York architects William and Geoffrey Platt, eight dependencies, five structures for guests and staff, fourteen gardens, and twenty-two fountains and ponds.² Nationally renowned twentieth-century landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman designed the estate’s luxurious and varied grounds.³ The house itself was deliberately laid out to work in harmony with Shipman’s landscape, with each elevation overlooking a different and distinct view.⁴ Shipman also had a talent for interior design, and the furnishings and finishes that she chose for the house’s twenty interior rooms are still largely in place.
The Sterns always intended to open Longue Vue House and Gardens to the public as an educational resource, and in 1965 Mrs. Stern established the Longue Vue Foundation in support of Longue Vue Gardens, which opened on a limited basis to the public in March 1968.⁵ The house, in cooperation with the New Orleans Museum of Art, opened as a museum in 1980.⁶ The estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005.⁷ Today, the site continues to be an important educational resource for those interested in the history and preservation of architecture, interior design, and historical landscapes.
1. Longue Vue House & Gardens, “Explore the House.”
2. The Cultural Landscape Foundation, “Longue Vue House and Gardens - Mute Victims of Katrina: Four Louisiana Landscapes at Risk.”
3. The Garden Conservancy, “Preservation Project Gardens Longue Vue House and Gardens New Orleans, LA.”
4. Longue Vue House & Gardens, “Explore the House.”
5. The Cultural Landscape Foundation, “Longue Vue House and Gardens - Mute Victims of Katrina: Four Louisiana Landscapes at Risk”; and Pat Phillips, “Garden Wonderland,” Dixie, Times-Picayune, March 3, 1968.
7. Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, “Longue Vue House and Gardens,” National Register of Historic Places, September 20, 1991.