Monday, June 23, 2014

A Short Trip to France by Detour of New Orleans

Hello Friends,
Last week I was lucky to spend a couple days in New Orleans with girlfriends.  I had always heard
of the Old Ursuline Convent and gardens on Chartes Street. It's the oldest French-colonial architecture in the United States and it was just up the road from me.  The Convent was never open in the past so I was so excited to get a chance to peek behind the wall to see the gardens. 

This order of French Urseline nuns came to our country in 1722 to build their school, a stucco covered brick in 1752, the new building, also known as Old Ursuline Convent, is typical for the French neoclassical architecture.  It is a formal, symmetrical building, severely designed in its lack of ornamentation. No applied orders of pilasters or columns relieved the plain walls. Only the slightly arched window set in shallow moldings, the rusticated quoins at the corners and narrow central pedimented pavilion break the even rhythm of the fenestration.

After you enter the gate you are facing their lovely French Boxwood sculptured garden.  Just Lovely.


 Letter written to the Ursuline nuns in 1804 by Thomas Jefferson
Washington, May 15, 1804

 I have received, holy sisters, the letter you have written me wherein you
express anxiety for the property vested in your institution by the former
governments of Louisiana.  The principles of the constitution and government of
the United States are a guarantee to you that it will be preserved to you, sacred
and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself
according to its own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil
authority.  Whatever the diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions
of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your institution cannot be
indifferent to any; and its furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by
training up its younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure
it the patronage of the government it is under.  Be assured it will meet all the
protection which my office can give it.
 I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship and respect.

                                                        Thomas Jefferson
So much history.
Be sure to see the herb gardens, which inspired one of the nuns to become the first pharmacist in the United States: she was never licensed, but she published a list of herbs that cured various maladies.

 A stroll around back will take you to their kitchen herb garden.

The Sisters no longer work in the garden but they do have a local
gourmet restaurant, just around the corner,  who keeps it up for the herbs.
Pretty good exchange. 
If you make it to Big Easy drop by for your fix of loveliness.
Enjoy this wonderful week God has made for us.  Kathy
I am joining my friend Linda with Coastal Charm


  1. This is spectacular! I really enjoyed learning about the history behind their garden and how wonderful that you were able to tour this pretty space! Sounds like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing! Nicole xo

    1. Thanks Nicole and yes you are right it was wonderful to see and I plan to go back for another peek. Thanks for stopping by. Kathy

  2. So interesting. Lovely herb garden.Especially love the sculptured box garden.

    Glad you were able to visit there and share your pictures with us.


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