History

Margaret Gardens (circa 1854) appears in NEW ORLEANS ARCHITECTURE, Volume 1, The Lower Garden District.  The architectural significance of this mansion is a characteristic example of Classic style houses popular in the 1850's -- brick covered with scored plaster, having a cast iron balcony with an oak leaf design.  

The property was originally owned by the Societe Catholic e'Education Religious et Letter airs.  At one time, nearly this entire block was owned by the Catholic church -- the school at the corner of Prytania and Calliope Streets, the orphanage at 1123 Prytania and the home and property at 1133 Prytania.  The original home and property at 1133 Prytania -- now Margaret Gardens -- was sold in May of 1869 to Eduardo Villa and his family, who made their home in this mansion until it was sold to The First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans as a parsonage for their pastor and his family on May 14, 1892. 

From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, Cecile Rouillier from Convent, Louisiana, operated a boarding house for the young gentlemen from River Road between New Orleans to Baton Rouge, who came to New Orleans to look for employment during the depression. The young ladies from the “country” stayed at the Louise House across the street.

In 1990, the 1100 block of Prytania was renamed Margaret Place, in honor of the 1884 marble statue of Margaret Haughery by Alexander Doyle of New York.  This was the first statue erected in the United States to honor a woman -- Margaret Haughery, who was born in Ireland in 1813 and died in New Orleans in 1882 after a life of sacrifice and devotion to the poor and orphans.  The lovely Margaret Park, directly across the street from Margaret Gardens, is the home of this statue, and the seven steps leading up to her statue represent the seven orphanages that she built in New Orleans.