Real estate auctions like this are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If your most romantic, deep-south yearnings have ever tended towards owning an original Southern Belle antebellum plantation one hour’s drive from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, complete with a ballroom, recording studio, hidden elevator shaft, and a porch that wraps forever, well I have a deal for you.
There is no reserve!
And talk about historic, Belle Alliance Plantation dates back to 1846! The home is classic Greek Revival style with a raised entry, five bays, and large denticulated molding above the entry that will take your breath away. And it’s pedigree is Louisiana’s finest.
On June 9, Heritage Auctions is auctioning a Henry Howard original classic manor, without reserve at 7254 Highway 308 S, in Donaldsonville, LA. Howard is well-known as “Louisiana’s Architect”; he designed and built more than 280 plantation homes and buildings throughout the Bayou state. In his 2015 book about the Irish-born architect, “Henry Howard: Louisiana’s Architect,” author Robert Brantley says Howard’s influence can be spotted on nearly every block of the Garden District, through much of Uptown, and in swaths of downtown New Orleans:
“There are exterior characteristics and identifying features to a Howard house,” Brantley said. “He tended to use the Roman arch over and over again, particularly on single and two-story shotgun houses built after the Civil War.”
Other Howard hallmarks are less overt. “I would say that the most important characteristic of Henry Howard as an architect is his fine sense of proportion in the interiors of his houses, which was aided by the way his interiors are filled with light streaming in from outside,” Brantley said. “It’s almost like a hurricane of light sweeping through the entrance hall of Madewood (Plantation House, another Howard design,) perhaps the finest example of this.”
The architect’s work “combined historical formality with local stylistic influences,” Brantley said, such as shutters and deep porches to soften the harsh summer sun and Creole-style “cabinets,” the small service rooms at the rear of homes.
You can see the deep, second-story porch on this estate with frontage along Bayou LaFourche. The property consists of over ten acres on a creek, a 9850 square foot mansion with 5,000 square feet of outdoor living space, all meticulously restored and preserved with every attention to detail.
National Historic Register Property
The home is on the National Historic Register, but has unrestricted use so it could easily be turned into a most romantic bed and breakfast, small hotel, or wedding venue. There are 18 fireplaces, which were originally used to heat the home, but the home now sports completely upgraded, 20th century HVAC systems including air conditioning and moisture control.
There is a stunning cobalt blue ballroom that doubles as a recording studio, with great acoustics. Current owners are musicians and have used the room to record both their music and host seminars, that’s how large it is.
“One of the Howard hallmarks is the molding around the floors and doors. It looks like the lines are all perpendicular, but he’s angled them ever-so-slightly to make the rooms appear even larger,” says Rochelle Mortensen, Manager, Luxury Real Estate at Heritage Auctions.
There are six bedrooms, five full baths, an original 9 foot skylight from when the home was first built, an office with custom closet, an elegant gated driveway for countless photo opportunities, and a full security system.
And there is plenty of room to expand or create rooms to the home’s future use: the huge loggia is surrounded by anterooms that could easily be turned into more office space, studios, guest suites or wine grottos. In true southern style, chandeliers are everywhere and equipped with winches for lowering to clean.
To Be Enjoyed For Generations
Estates like these are meant to be enjoyed and admired by generations, which is why this is such an incredible opportunity. Not only could this be a vacation home getaway only an hour from NOLA, it could easily be an income-producing business. The grounds are lush, verdant, and begging for ladies in long bustled gowns, lemonade served on silver trays, and gentle men callers.
Yes, we know it’s a life very much in the past, but sometimes going back to the past helps us understand, and survive, the future. That’s the whole point of history.
Or maybe you just want to escape it all, pretend we are still living in the Old Deep South?
Your fantasies could soon become reality: the bidding for this truly historical beauty starts at $700,000 — that’s all! — for an auction that goes live at 2 p.m., June 9, 2020.