Old New Orleans:
The de la Vergne Family

With many thanks to Desiree de la Vergne St. Paul, who very kindly shared these
pictures of her family.  The de la Vergne family was one of the founding families of
New  Orleans.  They trace their ancestry directly to Hugh Capet, the first of the
Capetian kings of France, and to Charlemagne.   
Left, Desiree's grandmother, Mrs. Hugh Cage St. Paul (nee Marie-Louise Helene Leda
de la Vergne), was born August 7, 1908; she died on July 31, 1998.  Right, one of her
brothers, Jacques Philippe Roi de Villere de la Vergne.  The family lived at 823
Esplanade Avenue, before moving to "the country," to a mansion that stood at
the corner of St. Charles Avenue and State Street (see photos below).
Marie-Louise Helene Leda de la Vergne, about the age of nine, in ballet costume and
brunette wig.  Desiree's grandmother was chosen by the great ballerina, Anna Pavlova,
to be her protege, when Pavlova came to her ballet school in New Orleans and observed
her dance as a child.  But Desiree's g-grandmother didn't approve of a child in the family
going into the entertainment business, so she was promptly yanked out of ballet school
with no explanation from her mother.  Years later, she was finally told the truth.  She
appears in this photo in the costume she wore when she performed for Anna Pavlova.
This photograph was taken during the New Orleans Spring Fiesta in 1946; Desiree's
g-grandmother, Mrs. Landry, was the President of the New Orleans Spring Fiesta
Association.  The photo shows Desiree's mother, Diane de la Vergne St. Paul (Mrs.
Henry John Olivier); her mother ("Dada"), Leda de la Vergne (Mrs. Hugh Cage
St. Paul); and "Mimi," Marie-Louise Schmidt de la Vergne Landry de Freneuse
(Mrs. Henry Landry de Freneuse).
The de la Vergne Mansion (called "Bloomingdale Castle"), 5931 St. Charles Avenue.  The
home was built and originally owned by the Dart Family.  Desiree's great-grandparents
purchased the home from the original owners and moved in when her grandmother was
about 4 years old (1912 or 1913).  It stood at the downtown lake corner of St. Charles and
State, taking up 2 lots behind it on State Street.  Desiree's great-grandmother died in
1961 and the house was sold.  Sadly, the new owners demolished the home.
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