Dr. Miltenberger's Legacy
The building on the corner of Royal and Dumaine Streets is probably one of the most photographed
houses in the French Quarter.  I've seen its image on dozens of postcards.  The descriptions
mention its graceful beauty and what an excellent example of French Quarter architecture it is.
But not many postcards address its history or go into detail about the family who had it constructed.
It's actually 3 connected row houses, doors facing on Royal Street.  Mrs. Christian Miltenberger
had the homes built for her 3 children, several years after her husband's death.
Dr. and Mrs. Miltenberger came to New Orleans in the wave of immigrants who fled St. Dominigue
during the slave insurrections of the 1790's.  They'd owned coffee plantations there, however,
both of their families were originally from Alsace, France.
Dr. Miltenberger was a physician who'd had considerable experience treating Yellow Fever
epidemics on St. Dominigue and, grateful for his expertise, the Mayor of New Orleans appointed
him to supervise indigent health care.  He was one of the first to theorize that Yellow Fever was
not a contagious disease.
Christian Miltenberger became influential in the medical community and his reputation spread
beyond New Orleans.  He acquired two sugar plantations and became a wealthy man and one
of the most well-known of St. Domingue's refugees.
Perhaps, his biggest claim to fame lies in his service as surgeon at the Battle of New Orleans,
attached to Major Plauche's contingent of Creoles.
Dr. Miltenberger died in 1829, at the age of 65.  In 1838, his widow, Marie Aimee Miltenberger,
had the striking building on Royal Street constructed.  Members of the family continued to live
there for at least 3 generations.
The intricate work of the cast-iron galleries, the frieze of rococo iron leaves set below the floor
of the galleries and the floor-to-ceiling windows are a few of the architectural details that make
the Miltenberger building beautiful and interesting.
Above, the back of the Miltenberger building, as seen from Dumaine Street,
ca. 1950.  As you can see from the current photo below, the distinctive fan
windows that once graced the house are no longer there.
Patio belonging to the former home of Miltenberger son, Gustave, ca. 1940.
From Royal Street, 1940's
Current photo of the Miltenberger building.
Top photo courtesy of David Paul Ohmer; bottom
photo courtesy of

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