Madame John’s Legacy (Introduction)

Stop 3 of 13 on the on The City Beneath the City: Archaeology of New Orleans tour
Stop 1 of 4 on the Archaeology of Madame John's Legacy tour

Madame John’s Legacy, located at 628-632 Dumaine Street, is often considered one of the best surviving examples of French Colonial architecture in the French Quarter, even though the existing structure was built in 1788 during Spanish colonial rule. Developed by the 1720s, a building at the location burned in the great ‘Good Friday Fire’ of 1788. In 1947, after falling into disrepair, the property owner donated the extant structure to the Louisiana State Museum and it remains a museum to this day.

Captain Jean Pascal, an early owner of the property, died during the Natchez Revolt of 1729. Pascal’s widow, Elizabeth Real, maintained the property for 50 years, using it as both a residence and an inn through her second marriage to Francois Marin until her death in 1777. In 1783, Spanish officer Manuel DeLanzos purchased the property. DeLanzos was responsible for rebuilding the 1788 structure, apparently in a style similar to the structure that was damaged or destroyed in the 1788 fire. The building’s name derives from George Washington Cable’s famous short story “Tite Poulette.” While the “Madame John” from Cable’s story was fictional, it is possible Cable drew inspiration from past owners of the property.

Over the years, the site has been the subject of three different formal archaeological excavations, in addition to monitoring of renovations by museum personnel who collected artifacts disturbed by construction crews. Although each set of excavations had different goals, all have contributed to our understanding of the lot and the people who lived there.

For more information about archeaology at Madame John's Legacy, please visit the Archaeology of Madame John's Legacy tour.

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628-632 Dumaine Street, New Orleans, LA