Brightest Star:  W. P. Brown Mansion
There are many houses of significance on St. Charles Avenue.  I wouldn't
want to get into an argument about which is the most beautiful, the most
historic or the most architecturally interesting.  But, there seems to be
a consensus that the W. P. Brown house is actually the largest.
And that's no accident.  When Mr. Brown started planning the house,
he promised his new bride that he would build her the most palatial
home in New Orleans.  In a city known for its grand homes, Mr. Brown
had to go to some lengths to keep his promise.
He imported material and craftsmen from all over the world.  No expense
was spared and no detail overlooked.  Work on the mansion was begun
in 1901 and completed in 1904.  When it was finished, the impressive
22,000 square feet, 4-story Romanesque Revival home was, in the
opinion of many, indeed, the grandest home on the grandest avenue.
Above & directly below, the Brown house a few years after it was built.
W. P. Brown's firm cornered the global cotton market in the early 1900's, making
him one of the wealthiest men in the South.  He went on to establish Hibernia
Bank, one of the most respected banks in the city and still open today,
The photo directly above is courtesy of; the photo at
the top of the page is courtesy of
Asergeev; the second
photo from the top of the page is courtesy of

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Whispers - Home
The magnificent home Mr. Brown built for his wife has been owned by several
prominent New Orleanians through the years.  Its second owner was Florieda
Batson Gibbens, who was captain of the team of 13 U.S. women who
participated in the 1922 Women's Olympics in Paris.
A few years ago, the Brown home was offered for sale.  Many of the people who
passed by it on the avenue every day held their collective breath in anticipation
of who might buy it and what might become of the property.  But good news
came in the form of new owner, John Houghtaling, who said that he's been
in love with the house since he first saw it at the age of 11.
Mr. Houghtaling recently provided New Orleanians with an opportunity to see
the inside of the home - its first public tour ever - in conjunction with the New
Orleans Museum of Art Home and Art Tour, which benefited the museum.
More than a hundred years after its construction, the grandest house
on the grandest avenue still impresses and still holds its place as
one of the city's brightest stars.   -- Nancy
Brown house, 1911