To stay at the Degas House in New Orleans, Louisiana is to step back into history. Built in 1852 as a gracious home for the maternal family of Impressionist painter Edgar Degas, the beautifully-restored house is listed on The National Register of Historic Places. It also has popular tours, a museum and is a much-coveted site for weddings.

Edgar Degas was a leading figure in the French Impressionist art movement of the 19th century and is famed widely for his paintings of dancers. Degas was the son of a Haitian-born French father and a Creole mother who was born in New Orleans. Degas traveled to New Orleans in 1862 to stay with his maternal family, the Mussons. Influenced by the vibrant life there, he finished eighteen paintings and four drawings during his sojourn in the city. The restored Degas House, on Esplanade Avenue, is the only Degas house in the world open to the public. It is located on a street of mansions, which is charmingly shaded by a canopy of live oak trees.

The house was built in Greek Revival style, popular at the time, and later remodeled in an Italianate manner in the 1880s to keep up with current fashion. The owner of the Degas House has restored the home with the best of both architectural designs, and has embellished the house with fine reproductions of Degas paintings, antique furnishings and wall coverings and draperies consistent with the era. The result is an elegant Bed and Breakfast, with magnificent rooms and Creole fare served to guests each morning.

1.Degas House Accommodations

Degas House Accommodations  

At the Degas House Inn, there are three suites, two standard rooms and four windowless garrets that are tucked into the eaves of the house. Every guest of the Degas House is served an excellent Creole breakfast every morning and given a glass of wine upon check in. Each room has antique furnishings, a hair dryer, a large-screen TV with cable television, an alarm clock, an iPod docking station, wireless Internet, a small fridge and bathrobes. Every room has air-conditioning and many have ceiling fans as well. Guests of the Degas House also receive a free tour of the home and museum.

The Estelle Suite is named for Degas’ sister-in-law, who was the subject of many of Degas’ paintings. It is an elegant and intimate suite that sleeps up to four persons and is decorated in rich teal and creamy yellows. Magnificent draperies and cut crystal chandeliers add to the grace of this suite. A private balcony overlooks the live-oak lined street. There is a four-poster king sized bed, a twin day bed with a trundle bed underneath and a Victorian claw-foot tub for soaking in.

The Jeanne Suite is named for Degas’ niece, who was born during his stay in New Orleans. Decorated in a buttery cream color, the room has a full bed and a twin bed, a bathroom with a shower and tub combination, hardwood floors and dark wood antiques. The Mathilde Suite was named for Degas’ cousin, who lived in this wing of the house with her husband and three children. This spacious two-bedroom suite sleeps up to four people, has a balcony overlooking the tree-lined Esplanade Avenue and Gayarre Park, a private kitchen and a large bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The Master bedroom is elegantly appointed with a king-sized bed and the second bedroom boasts a hand-carved double bed from Normandy.

The William Bell Suite was named for Mathilde Musson’s husband. The suite has two rooms, charming furnishings, a private balcony overlooking the courtyard, a private kitchen, generous closet space, a Jacuzzi and separate shower in the bathroom. There are two beds in the suite, both four-posters; one is a king and the other a double. Up to four people may stay in this room.

The Desiree Room is decorated in deep mauve tones and overlooks the courtyard. This tasteful room has a four-poster queen-sized bed, elegant draperies, a two-person Jacuzzi tub and a separate standing shower.

The Josephine Room was named for Degas’ niece, who was ten years old when Degas came to stay with her family. A portrait of the young girl hangs in the room. This whimsical room holds an antique rocking horse, a four-poster queen bed and Cherrywood furnishings. The bathroom has a Victorian claw-foot tub and a shower.

The Gaston Garret is large, charming and furnished with antiques. There is a queen bed and a daybed. The Pierre Garret, named for Degas’ nephew, is decorated in a subtle sage green and has hardwood floors, a brass queen bed, an extra twin bed and a ceiling fan. The antique armoire, nightstand and dresser are made of dark wood and the bathroom has a shower. The Carrie Garret, named for Degas’ second cousin, has a queen bed and a bathroom with a shower. Decorated in taupe and mauve tones, the room has hardwood floors, an antique dark wood armoire and nightstand and a ceiling fan.

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Tours of the Degas House are available daily and are free to guests of the hotel. The Breakfast and Tour provides a Creole breakfast, followed by a tour of the house, courtyard and Degas’ studio, a look through the attached museum and a viewing of the award-winning documentary, “Degas in New Orleans, a Creole Sojourn.” Tours are led by Degas’ grand-nieces.

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The Edgar Degas Creole Impressionist Tour operates twice daily, and starts with a stroll under the live oaks that line Esplanade Avenue to view the fine homes along it. Tour guests will hear about the French Creole culture that so shaped Degas’ mother, Celestine. A tour of the house, courtyard, and Degas’ studio is included in the tour, as is the watching of the documentary “Degas in New Orleans, a Creole Sojourn”. As with the Breakfast and Tour, the docents are Degas’ grand-nieces.

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3.Degas House Weddings

Degas House Weddings  

The Degas House is a popular wedding venue. Weddings may take place in one of the two parlors of the Degas House or outside in the courtyard. The parlors have decorative fireplaces, original wood floors, fine draperies and tasteful wall-coverings. The brick-paved courtyard has a fountain and plenty of space for guests. There is off-street parking for ninety cars nearby, and the wedding costs include the services of a uniformed security guard for guest safety. The Degas House is also available for engagement parties, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners.

Rooms start at $159 per night.

2306 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, Phone: 504-821-5009

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Louisiana Weekend Getaways: Degas House in New Orleans