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Arthur Hardy: Damaged Garden District home linked to ‘beautiful’ Rex tradition

Six generations of the Downman-Kock-Montgomery-Grace family have made it their home during the...
Six generations of the Downman-Kock-Montgomery-Grace family have made it their home during the past 100 years(FOX 8)
Updated: Feb. 20, 2019 at 9:47 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -A historic Garden District home that caught fire on St. Charles Avenue Wednesday morning has been linked to the Rex organization.

Your Carnival Authority Arthur Hardy said the house is a staple during the annual Rex parade.

Six generations of the Downman-Kock-Montgomery-Grace family have made it their home during the past 100 years, according to a report by our partners NOLA.com | The-Times Picayune.

According to Hardy, Rex royalty always stops in front of the home at 2525 St. Charles Avenue to toast former and present kings.

'The house was built for entertaining,' Anne Montgomery says. 'It was made for people.'
'The house was built for entertaining,' Anne Montgomery says. 'It was made for people.'(John McCusker, The Times-Picayune)

The home, named the The Montgomery-Grace home. is a Queen-Anne style mansion that has housed Carnival royalty since 1907.

According to The Preservation Resource Center, it is believed the house was built by historic architect Henry Howard for Charles Miltenberger in the 1800s.

It has been a gem on the PRC Holiday Home Tour.

Robert Dowman lived in the home in 1907, and also reigned as Rex King that same year.

The tradition began when Anne Kock Montgomery’s grandfather invited a “bunch of friends from the Adirondacks” to town to help him celebrate his reign as Rex. The parade stopped at the house to toast them, and it has been stopping there ever since.

“It’s a beautiful home and a beautiful tradition,” Hardy said. “I had the pleasure of being in the home in 1999 when they celebrated the 300th anniversary of Iberville landing in New Orleans. Rex put up a plaque.”

The dining room is an atmospheric space with walls covered in murals -- actually tempera on...
The dining room is an atmospheric space with walls covered in murals -- actually tempera on canvas -- resembling medieval tapestries. 'This room is totally original,' Montgomery says. 'The wall sconces, window seats, fireplace and murals -- it's just as my family kept it.'(John McCusker, The Times-Picayune)

Hardy said across the street is the house Anne Rice lived in.

“You can’t get more historic than the Garden District,” Hardy said.

Hardy prays the damage is not severe, and that the historic home can be restored.

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