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High Dollar Homes: St. Charles Avenue mansion is a step back in time

St. Charles mansion (FOX 8 photo) St. Charles mansion (FOX 8 photo)

St. Charles Avenue has been an enviable address for more than a century. A home once owned by author Anne Rice is like a step back in time to a period when grandeur was everything. For more than 100 years, the Italianate home has helped tell the story of old New Orleans.

The structure with the double gallery exudes history in details. It was built post-1870.

"The grand columns, the wonderful porch with the rocking chairs, the glass doors that enter into the center hall that make this house sing," said Dorian Bennett of Dorian Bennett / Sotheby's

The ornate great hall seems to go on forever.

"You have 16-foot ceiling heights, beautiful plaster freeze work and elegant ceiling medallions," he said.

The hall is flanked by two grand parlors, one with rich moldings and finishes. The perfect spots for a debutante ball or party. The other parlor has cypress wood showcased. Bennett says most of the details are original to the house. The dining room could be the setting for a 19th Century party or even a scene from an Ann Rice novel. 

"Anne  was here in the 1980s through early 2000s," Bennett said. "She loved the grandeur of the Antebellum South. That's where she's drew her historic novels from."

The kitchen is updated to modern standards with old New Orleans charm. Bennett says the 21st. Century gourmet playground has Viking appliances and an antique room to the side that could make a wonderful wine closet. A back staircase can be a secret passage from the main rooms of the house. The grand staircase is all drama with stained glass accents.

"There are six bedrooms in the house and six and a half baths," Bennett said.

At over 9,500 square feet, it's a showplace. The upstairs ceilings rise to the sky and bedrooms are roomy with sitting areas filled with light and antiques. In the back, a carriage house is big enough to accommodate modern-day transportation. A stretch limo once owned by Rice comes with the place.

The mansion is on a double lot.

"If you want to entertain there's not a more perfect house," Bennett said.

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