Gonzales Garden Club tours Longue Vue Estate

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Fifteen Gonzales Garden Club members with two guests enjoyed the tour of Longue Vue House and Gardens. Front row: Cynthia Cagnolatti, Loretta Ramirez, Mabel Savoy, Lorraine Gautreau, Marilyn Rice, and Cathy Venable. Back Row: Conchita Richey, Guest Norma Bertaut, Weezie Cashat, Pat Mouton, Jamie Trisler, Priscilla Monson, Mary Jo Pohlig, and Barbara McCormick. Guest Lynne Ferdon, not pictured.

Marilyn Rice has been a member of the Gonzales Garden Club since 1990. In the past, she has served as Historian and Chairman of the Youth Development Committee. Presently, she serves as Tour Committee Chairman and arranged for the club to visit Longue Vue House and Gardens in Old Metairie on October 15. The lavish eight acre estate borders the New Orleans Country Club Golf Course. This 1938 home is furnished with period antiques, European rugs, cut glass chandeliers and original oil paintings. Besides living areas for socializing, dining and sleeping, the tour of the first and second floors included a flower arranging room, a package/gift wrapping room, and an art gallery/studio. The entire third floor of the home is used for storage. The house also has a basement that served as a wine cellar until Hurricane Katrina flooded it; it is still under reconstruction.

After the devastation of Katrina, the Garden Conservancy assisted a Vermont-based landscape architecture firm in restoring the gardens. An archive of 44 original drawings by the estate’s original landscape architect, Ellen Biddie Shipman, was used as reference for the garden recreations. The Longue Vue landscape is now comprised of 14 theme garden areas. The thousands of vibrant plants that currently surround the home include live oaks, magnolias, azaleas, camellias, yew, sweet olive, boxwood, hydrangeas, ferns, gingers, wild flowers, irises, vegetables, herbs, seasonal annuals, and ground covers. Wide and narrow pathways through the greenery are made of varied materials: brick, granite, limestone, cobblestone, inlaid river rocks, mosaic designs, and gravel. The replanting project is ongoing and is expected to be completed within the next two years. It was a gorgeous day for the gardeners to enjoy this stunning National Historic Landmark.