An Eden Just Down the Road
Built by local philanthropic legends, Longue Vue House and Gardens offers an unmatched setting for business events that gives back to the community.
Tucked away in New Orleans’ Lakewood neighborhood lies an ecological oasis on eight acres. A National Historic Landmark, Longue Vue House and Gardens encompasses a main house, eight dependencies, five additional structures, 14 garden areas and 22 fountains and ponds. It hosts more than 10,000 visitors every year.
Longue Vue is renowned for its art collection (including works by Kandinsky and Picasso), its breathtaking gardens and rare Country Place-era construction designed to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces.
Over the years it has also become known for its extensive educational programming.
A Good Match
FOR COMPANIES WHO…
… are looking to host any type of event or gathering, including company retreats and parties.
Growing Young Minds
Longue Vue’s field trip program enables children to learn and experience firsthand the beauty of the house and gardens. Longue Vue not only offers the field trip at no cost to public and charter schools, it also sponsors the school bus.
Longue Vue’s educational programming includes The Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden, used by children as young as 18 months to dig and discover the joys of gardening. There is also an array of classes for more advanced gardeners. Recent programs include such events as “Day of the Girl,” an interactive, educational workshop that inspires and connects girls to their peers and positive role models.
“It is incumbent upon us, because of Longue Vue’s legacy, to use this space to create opportunities for people to share ideas on art and culture,” said Executive Director Maria Pote.
"It is incumbent upon us, because of Longue Vue’s legacy, to use this space to create opportunities for people to share ideas on art and culture."
Executive Director Maria Pote
One of Longue Vue’s standout educational programs is “Cultivating Communities.” Since 2001, students from the Waldo Burton Memorial School have participated in this outreach initiative that develops skills in gardening, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
Bradley McGehee is the chef/owner of Blue Line Sandwich Co. and is known for his farm-to-table approach. He’s been with this program for six years.
“As a chef in this community we get asked all the time to help out and this is the perfect way for me to give back,” he said. “The boys will make salad dressings or pesto and then we bottle it and take it to the Crescent City Farmers Market. They choose the nonprofit where 100 percent of the proceeds will go.”
Longue Vue also sponsors numerous other community initiatives such as building a garden at Mary Dora Coghill Elementary School, the Gentilly Rainwater Harvesting program and Jane’s Walk, a global program that promotes local urban ecology.
In 2006, Longue Vue became an active member of the Pontilly Disaster Collaborative, a non-profit organization formed to support the restoration and revitalization of Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods.
Longue Vue House and Gardens
Mission: Inspired by its humanitarian and artistic legacy, Longue Vue’s mission is to be a leader in the advancement of innovative thought, creative expression and lifelong learning, and to engage its resources and exceptional setting to stimulate discussion and action on issues of social justice and community responsibility.
Location: 7 Bamboo Road, New Orleans, LA 70124
Ongoing Partnerships: Longue Vue is a member of the American Horticulture Society, is a registered National Historic Landmark, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is also a preservation partner of the Garden Conservancy.
Current Needs: Cardboard egg cartons, seeds, bubble wrap, drawing and construction paper, volunteer docents, corporate sponsors, financial donations for programming
Major Fundraising Events:
Essence of Style Design Symposium
Since 1991, the Friends of Longue Vue have presented this symposium, which features top speakers in the fields of design, horticulture and art. The most recent version was held Nov. 2 and 3. With proceeds benefiting Longue Vue House and Gardens, this event serves to inspire and educate locals interested in interior design while providing a significant source of funds toward maintenance, operations, educational programs, and art exhibitions of this national historic landmark.
Picture Perfect Vue
This new fundraiser at Longue Vue House & Gardens was held this past October. The event included a variety of professional photographers who were stationed around the garden’s beautiful grounds. They offered 15-minute photo sessions, then guests could purchase prints. All proceeds went to Longue Vue’s outreach projects.
The Couple Who Started It All
When it was completed in 1942, the property served as the private home of the Sterns. Edgar Bloom Stern was a New Orleans businessman and cotton broker. His wife, Edith Rosenwald Stern, was an heiress of the Sears department store family. Julius Rosenwald, her father, among his many other philanthropies, donated millions in matching funds to support the education of African-American children in the rural South.
The couple was wholeheartedly dedicated to bettering the lives of the citizens of New Orleans. Martha Landrum, vice president of marketing and communications at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, calls them local philanthropic legends.
“They didn’t believe in endowments, rather they felt that today’s dollars should solve today’s problems,” she said. “During their lifetimes, they supported numerous educational and arts organizations, plus the creation of Pontchartrain Park, which was New Orleans’ first planned subdivision for African-Americans in the 1950s.”
The gardens’ design is the only major work of renowned landscape artist, Ellen Biddle Shipman. Pathways of hand-laid Mexican pebbles and rough-cut marble guide guests through the gardens that feature terraces, garden rooms, tree allees, formal courts and beautiful fountains.
Longue Vue has a variety of rooms, including the Wrapping Room, which was used only to open mail and wrap gifts, and the Flower Arranging Room. The Drawing Room is where the Sterns presented such entertainers as Marian Anderson, who was barred from singing in major New Orleans venues because of segregation.
During the mid-60s, a few years after Edgar Stern’s death, Mrs. Stern actively sought to secure the future stewardship of Longue Vue and to provide long-term public access. Thus, she established Longue Vue Foundation in 1965 and opened the property to the public in 1968.
Business Is Booming
In order to help keep the Stern legacy thriving, there has recently been a big push to increase earned income through rentals.
“We are open for business,” said Pote. “We offer such a magical mix because when we bring in money through rentals and retreats, that money goes directly to supporting our philanthropic legacy. When you do business with us, you empower our community.”
The space is a unique and peaceful choice for corporate retreats and meetings.
“We are doing more corporate business than we’ve ever done,” Pote said. “We’ve worked with every local university and numerous banks both big and small. In a time when there are so many challenges in the world, we want to offer a space to create, to give more and be inspired by the legacy of Longue Vue.”
SUCCESS of services
Over the years, Longue Vue has accomplished many achievements:
In the last 12 months…
48 schools served
59 field trips hosted
2,407 children impacted
Hosted and organized Family Equality Day, the only family-focused event during New Orleans Pride Week
140 boys have participated in “Cultivating Communities,” a garden-focused curriculum that teaches a variety of skills including philanthropy to residents at a local school
Longue Vue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005
10,000+ people visit annually
Brad McGehee: McGehee is the chef/owner of Blue Line Sandwich Co. on Metairie Road. He’s formerly of The Ritz-Carlton and Ye Olde College Inn and is known for his farm-to-table approach to cuisine. For the past six years he’s been volunteering with Longue Vue’s “Cultivating Communities” program. “I am passionate about helping any way I can and I’m in it for the long haul. I plan to stay as long as they’ll have me.”
Penny Luck: A year ago Luck attended Longue Vue’s “Garden Yoga” program. “It was so beautiful and I thought it would be a great place to volunteer,” she said. She now volunteers on a regular basis and shares insights about the Sterns’ home to as many as 30 guests at a time. She loves enlightening guests about the Sterns’ legacy of art and social justice. “It’s such a friendly place and it’s always pleasant to be in such a stunning setting.”
Rachel Woolridge: Woolridge is the manager of legal recruiting and professional development for Phelps Dunbar, a regional law firm with more than 260 attorneys and offices from Houston to Tampa. She recently scheduled a three-day retreat at Longue Vue for the firm. “It was an easy choice,” she said. “This was such a great way to give back to the community. We also wanted our guests to learn about the Sterns’ legacy. It’s going to be amazing.”