A Look Inside New Orleans’ Most Expensive Home
New Orleans is one of the most beautiful cities in America and stages its grandest party, Mardis Gras. Its denizens might not be the richest — the median income is around $37,500 — but they’re certainly some of the most colorful and creative.
But what if you were rich? Really, really rich. Would you want to live in New Orleans’ most expensive home? Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this stately Southern Spanish-style mansion with flourishes of Greek Revival architecture is a sight to behold.
With tons of marble (like, lots of marble), a gigantic courtyard and a location to die for, check out why this place is far and away the most expensive listing in the Big Easy.
A Hefty Price Tag
This mansion, at 620 Ursulines Ave., is priced at a budget-busting $10.3 million.
For comparison, that’s nearly $5 million more than the city’s next most expensive listing — a $5.75 million mansion on St. Charles Ave — and $10 million more than the city’s average home sale of $351,000.
There’s Lots of Space
The mansion, which takes up three lots and rests at the corner of Ursulines Ave. and Royal Street, has a total of eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms (with three half-baths) and clocks in at a whopping 12,365 square feet.
For those keeping score, that amounts to about $833 per square foot.
The Wine Room Holds how Many Bottles?
If you’ve got $10.3 million to drop on a house, you have enough cash to buy a liquor store’s worth of wine.
The wine room in this palatial paradise holds 1,100 bottles. We know what you’re thinking: “I need to store 1,101 bottles!” Not to worry!
There’s another wine room on the property; however, it’s not listed how many more bottles it can hold — so your dreams of a Nola home with 2,200 bottles of wine neatly stored may be dashed.
The Dining Room Is Majestic
Talk about Southern grandeur — the dining room is truly divine. Intricate crown molding, an antique ceiling medallion and a beautiful fireplace.
Additionally, the dining room’s walls aren’t covered in pedestrian wallpaper or regular old paint. These walls are adorned with a pastoral view of clouds, a bayou, a river and green land.
Maybe it was what a part of New Orleans looked like back in the '50s, when it was painted?
You Can See the City’s Skyline
The French Quarter is stuffed with businesses, bars, homes and tourists.
It can get pretty cramped when you’re on the street level, and you’re practically always in a building’s shadow. So the few homes in the quarter that offer third-story views are a treasure.
This mansion has a beautiful widow’s walk that stretches above most other places in the View Carre, and allows views all the way to the central business district.
On her website, listing agent Eleanor Farnsworth you can also see the Mississippi River from there. That means you can sip a Mint Julep and watch the steamboats roll on through during those countless humid nights.
It Was Built in 1819
Like the French Quarter, this place is old. According to the Vieux Carré Digital Survey, this house was built between 1819 and 1822.
In 1822, the property — which had been bought and expanded upon since 1819 — appraised for $16,000. That’s about $325,000 in today’s money.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, the home’s original owner was Arnaud Mangon, a wealthy shipbuilder.
It’s Been on the Market for a While
This mansion has been New Orleans’ most expensive home since it listed last November.
While it’s normal for huge, expensive homes to stick on the market longer than usual, it’s also unusual to not see a price reduction.
But the behemoth of Ursulines Avenue has refused to budge on its price and has stuck to its $10.3 million price tag.
It Has a Marble Toilet
When you’re a multi-millionaire, why subject your keister to porcelain that plebs have to sit and suffer upon?
You shouldn’t have to, which is why the powder room in this mega mansion comes with a marble toilet, marble sink and marble flooring.
Also the walls are mirrors, so it’s not a place you want to go if you can’t face yourself the day after Mardis Gras.
The Great Room Is Pretty Great
There’s nothing flashy about this great room; instead, it has a reserved, stately quality.
The wood paneled walls, exposed beam ceiling and hardwood floors give it a traditional cabin-like feel, and the fireplace encourages quiet talks and fireside book reading.
And if you want to drink a little poison before you die, there’s a full bar with fridge, icemaker, sink and that extra wine room.
The Kitchen Is Kind of… Small?
Most $10 million homes have kitchens the size of great rooms, so it’s understandable if you’re a bit confused when looking at this picture.
However, New Orleanians are used to having small kitchens in their historic homes. Comparatively, this home actually has a big kitchen — there’s a butler’s pantry right around the corner. It comes with two dishwashers, two refrigerators and a Viking range stove.
It might not be the open-floor plan sprawl other mansions have, but this one manages to retain its historic charm while still not making you cook in a closet.
There’s a Guest House
Included on the property, across from the main house, is a two-story guest house.
The interior is exquisitely decorated with candlestick chandeliers, a soothing blue wall mural, Greek Revival touches and a bar that’s made out of — that’s right — marble.
The Master Bath Is all Marble
This place is all marble, all the time, baby.
The master bathroom has dual built-in vanities, both made of marble, and a marble tub with marble stairs leading up.
The Grand Foyer? Also Marble
The grand foyer is a beautiful sight.
The flooring is all marble, and there are three sets of French doors which open up into the courtyard.
And what a courtyard.
The Biggest Courtyard in the Quarter?
This courtyard is huge. There are lush trees, tons of plants, a pool, a fountain, vine-covered trellises and a covered walkway leading to the guest house.
Plus it’s all enclosed by a big brick wall and wrought iron gate so no drunken revelers will crash your party or stumble into that sparkling pool and drown at 4 a.m. (although that is a good reminder to pay your home insurance).
The realtor says it’s “one of the largest courtyards in the Vieux Carré,” and we’d have to agree.
There’s a Huge Walk-in Closet
Big walk-in closets shouldn’t be a luxury in a home for the super-rich, right? Well, in New Orleans, you might envy your neighbor more for the size of their closet than the make of their car.
According to Richard Campanella, a New Orleans architectural historian, closets were impractical back in the day because the city’s small closets “‘simply reflected a sensibility that the storage of clothing was something most conveniently handled through furniture rather than architecture. … Except for the very rich, people in the 1700s and 1800s had far fewer articles of clothing than we have today, and most saw no reason to dedicate scarce interior spaces to their storage when furniture of various designs and sizes sufficed,’” he told Nola.com.
So, yeah, turns out a big closet is a pretty big deal in the Big Easy.
The Living Room Is a Double
Why have a single living room when you can make it a double?
This extra-large living room has two of everything: two chandeliers, two fireplaces (yes, they’re marble) and two historic ceiling plaster medallions.
There’s Room for Lots of Parking
Who said money can’t buy friends? With this driveway, every neighbor’s buddy will want to schmooze you for a parking spot.
This place has an unheard of 15-car parking spot driveway/garage combo in the heart of the French Quarter, the place where towing companies and the NOPD probably make half their revenue in parking tickets.
Need Some Pastries After Billiards? Stumble Across the Street
After a night out in the French Quarter, or a night in playing billiards, a strong cup of coffee and some hearty breakfast food will do you good.
Good thing you have immediate access to your own quaint French-style bistro, a place called Croissant D’or Patisserie, right across the street.
You could also head just a few dozen feet up to Verti Marte, a tiny shop which has some of the best po’boys in town and is open 24/7.
And Right Around the Block from the City’s Most Haunted Mansion
Turn the corner and you’ll be looking at the LaLaurie Mansion on Royal Street, the most haunted mansion in New Orleans.
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, this place has a singularly macabre history. Here’s the short of it: The home’s owner, Marie Delphine MaCarthy, aka Madame LaLaurie, and her husband purchased the mansion in 1831. Of course at this time in history, slaves were legal, and LaLaurie’s slaves appeared particularly haggard looking to other French Quarter citizens. In 1836, a 12-year-old slave girl leapt from the second story to avoid a beating, and died.
In 1834 there was a fire. Later, it would be found that a 70-year-old slave cook set fire to the kitchen in a suicide attempt. She had been chained to the stove, and, rather than catch punishment, decided to set the place on fire. Turns out there was a punishment room upstairs that slaves entered but never left.
New Orleanians, rushed to the burning LaLaurie mansion, attempting to evacuate the building — particularly the slaves quarters. The LaLaruies didn’t want to let them in, so the citizens busted down the doors and found seven horribly mutilated slaves; some were hanging, others had their limbs stretched torture-rack like, another had a deep head wound. Two bodies were found buried in the walls.
After seeing the horrors inside, a mob formed, tearing apart the mansion and chasing the vile couple out of town. Madame LaLaurie fled to Paris and died there without having to face her crimes.
Hopefully those ghosts won’t move on over to a bigger, richer setting. But if they do, there’s certainly room.