Few homes in New Orleans or the nation, for that matter, resemble the national historic landmark, Madame John’s Legacy. Located at 632 Dumaine Street in the historic French Quarter, Madame John’s Legacy is an 18th century Louisiana Creole residence built in 1789. Its quintessential New Orleans style is a peek into the past and a sight to behold.
You’ll find the home consists of three buildings, which include the main house, a two-story garconniere (a bachelor apartment or quarters), and a kitchen which includes cook quarters. While the main house is the only building open to the public, you can also visit the L-shaped courtyard, originally used as a work space for servants, which separates all the buildings.
The main house is two stories with a high pitched roof and small dormers, reminiscent of colonial 18th century homes. The main floor and second level housed the living quarters while the basement was used to store things and also doubled as a work area.
One interesting fact is that Madame John’s legacy was one of the few buildings to escape damage from the great fire of 1795. The fire, which brought down much of New Orleans, did not damage the house. Yet in a twist, the home was build because of a preceding fire in 1788 in which another home that stood in its place was destroyed.
Madame John’s Legacy is a rarity now, but in its infancy, it was among many houses in the area built in similar fashion. These homes were built by those with money, people searching for a place to avoid the frequent flooding that took place in the area.
When you step foot into the home, you’ll find its’ exterior smallness gives way to spacious interior rooms. You’ll walk through the main house, feeling as if you’ve stepped back in time–to a time when New Orleans was new and exciting, when the city was just coming into its own.