The Longue Vue House and Gardens was established by philanthropists Edgar and Edith Stern. It is a historic, multifaceted estate that features a world-class house museum in addition to its eight acres of beautiful gardens. These gardens include an interactive Discovery Garden designed for children of any age and a Louisiana iris collection unmatched in New Orleans.
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Designed and constructed between 1939 and 1942, the Longue Vue House and Gardens was built for Edgar and Edith Stern and their children by architects Geoffrey and William Platt and landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman. These architects and the Sterns worked together to create a stunning masterpiece of beauty and utility, uniting the gardens and the house. The estate consists of the main house, eight dependencies, five structures, twenty-two fountains and ponds, and fourteen garden areas. Longue Vue is one of the last Country Place Era houses built in America.
During a tour of the Longue Vue House, visitors enter through a one-of-a-kind circular vestibule. The house contains several fashionably decorated and varied rooms, including the Art Gallery, the Flower Arranging Room, and the Blue Room, which accurately named with its blue walls, carpeting, and furniture. The home's most formal room, the Drawing Room, is the setting for entertaining notable guests such as John and Robert Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack Benny, and Pablo Casals among others. There is even a room solely for opening mail and wrapping presents, known as the Wrapping Room.
Longue Vue House and Gardens is an unparalleled treasure in a city full of beautiful gardens. First started in 1935 by “the dean of American women landscape architects,” Ellen Biddle Shipman, the gardens at Longue Vue have a significant place in America's history of horticulture design. When Longue Vue was created, a bold garden movement was happening, setting the stage for stunning garden estates across the United States. This period is referred to as the Country Place Era, as Americans looked to Europe for inspiration for seamlessly integrating their own indoor and outdoor spaces.
The current Longue Vue building was completed in 1942 by Geoffrey and William Platt in a Classical Revival variant style, replacing the original home that Shipman thought no longer related to her designed gardens. Edith Stern had come up with the idea of opening the estate to the public by the 1960's. Much of the improvements to the gardens during that time reflect this foresight, as well as her desire to share her legacy with future generations. In 1968, the gardens at Longue Vue were opened to the public.
In the early 1960's, Edith began collecting Modern art. Her first piece was a Kadinsky that can be seen in the Blue Room. The art collection at Longue Vue House and Gardens contains an array of artists from art movements of the early twentieth century, as well as the "Kinetic" and "Op" styles for the 1960's and 1970's. Some of the artists featured in the collection include Henri Laurens, Pablo Picasso, Barbara Hepworth, Robert Michel, Naum Gabo, Jésus Soto, and Jean Arp. Many works of art by Victor Vasarely can also be seen in Edith Stern's art collection.
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