Anyone with an eye for architecture will want to check out Madame John’s Legacy in the historic French Quarter. It is one of the finest 18th-century building complexes in Louisiana and one of the best examples of French colonial architecture in North America.
The house survived the great fire of 1794 that destroyed much of New Orleans, but it is actually a product of another fire. The structures that were on the site in the early 1780s went up in flames, and Madame John’s was erected on the burned-out lot in 1788.
Madame John’s is an excellent example of Louisiana-Creole 18th century residential design. Due to its fine architectural character and historical significance, it is an official National Historic Landmark. The complex consists of three buildings—the main house, the kitchen with cook’s quarters and the two-story dependency. The house’s name was inspired by George Washington Cable’s 1874 short story Tite Poulette, in which the character Monsieur John bequeaths a Dumaine Street house to his mistress, Madame John.
Though older parts of town were once dotted with similar structures, today very few houses like Madame John’s Legacy remain.
Significant constructions of another sort are on display at Madame John’s Legacy—The Palm, the Pine and the Cypress: Newcomb Pottery of New Orleans presents more than 50 glazed ceramics pieces paired with archival photographs documenting the beloved pottery’s history through 1940. Madame John’s Legacy is open to the public free of charge. For more information, visit LouisianaStateMuseum.org.