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Tragedy In Spades

Of all Natchez, Mississippi’s grand suburban villas, Glenwood surely suffered the longest, fell furthest from grace and died the most shameful death. The poor, unwelcome bastard had finally left the family reunion. –The Goat Castle Murder Built in 1841 and surrounded by 45 forested acres, Glenwood was a capacious, columned affair with a two-storied veranda and graceful parapets. Not one of Natchez’s more grandiose suburban villas, its simple charms nevertheless convinced the Reverend Charles Bacchus Dana to purchase the house in 1866. A Northerner with imposing bloodlines, he was related to Charles A. Dana, Editor of the New York Sun, and Richard Henry Dana, famed maritime attorney and author of the best-selling Two Years Before the Mast. Dana and his wife...

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Hiding In Plain Sight

Among New Orleans’s more elegant and enigmatic homes is the Luling Mansion on Esplanade Ridge. Completed in 1865, the last year of the Civil War, and deeply touched by tragedy, it emanates mystery in a city celebrated for ghosts, vampires and other things that go bump in the night. Stashed on Leda Court, a half block off busy Esplanade Avenue, the house is easily missed unless you’re looking for it. This was hardly the case in its mid-nineteenth century heyday when it was showcased on eighty acres alongside Bayou St. John. Designed by legendary New Orleans architect James Gallier, Jr. for Florence Luling, a wealthy German cotton merchant, the plastered brick structure was three-and-a half stories of Italianate opulence taking two years to build. It topped a...

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Lost & Found

At first glance, the 1854 house flying the French flag at 2306 Esplanade Avenue is unremarkable in a town teeming with antebellum homes trimmed with cast-iron galleries, but its story is far richer than most. Events within these walls rocked the international art world after a visit from Edgar Degas, the only nineteenth-century French Impressionist to ever work in America. “He drowsed in the vibrant sunlight until the carriage halted before the Musson home. Through bleary eyes, he admired a handsome, three-storied house with generous galleries and dependencies and, here and there, cousin Désirée’s promised sweet olive trees.” –Creole Son Degas (1834-1917) was born in Paris to a French father, Auguste Degas, and a New Orleans-born mother, Célestine Musson. In...

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