Longue Vue: A Love Story
Longue Vue is at once a family home, a masterpiece of design, and a place of conversation and convening for an entire community. It is also the locus of a deeply romantic love story. Edith Rosenwald and Edgar Stern named the Longue Vue estate after the Hudson Valley restaurant where they were engaged; the sentimental move would prove prescient, as their happy shared life here evolved to include a broad concept of family and a keen sense of community responsibility. We invite you to explore the chapters of Edith and Edgar’s story, and to learn how a family home grew to inspire an institutional mission reflecting the legacy of a remarkable couple.
Prologue: Edith and Edgar
Edith Rosenwald and Edgar Bloom Stern meet by chance in New York City in November 1920. Though from opposite ends of the country, he from New Orleans and she from Chicago, they had many things in common from family backgrounds to a sense of philanthropy that ran through their lives. A romance quickly formed, and they were married just seven months later.
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Ever wonder why the home is called Longue Vue? It was the name of the restaurant where Edgar proposed to Edith along the Hudson River just north of New York City, where they had met.
Edith and Edgar Wedding Photo
Their wedding took place June 29, 1921 on a train.
Chapter One: Building a Family
1921 – 1935
Edgar, a New Orleans native, wished to live in his hometown, while Edith, with an active interest in gardening, wished for more land than the city’s lots allowed. Fortunately, a new street Garden Lane was being developed at the edge of the parish line. Here they bought and started to build their home and their family.
Photograph of the west side of Longue Vue I c.1930.
One of several photos in an album colored by the children given to their parents as an anniversary gift.
Stern Family in 1926
from left: Audrey, Edith with Philip, Edgar, and Edgar Jr.
The Sterns had three children Edgar, Jr. (1922), Audrey (1924), and Philip (1926)
Photo from Emma Brown’s scrapbook who served as the head cook at Longue Vue from 1938 – 1978.
“Equally as important, and as much a part of the family, is the staff who has kept [Longue Vue] rolling on well-oiled wheels, so that it has never been a burden.”
In 1935 the Sterns met landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman and began an amazing connection that moved beyond the client relationship to true friendship. By January 1936, the Sterns had approved a full site plan designed by Shipman to include the Goldfish Overlook, Pan Garden beside the dining room, Kitchen Garden, Portico Garden, and Camellia Allée.
Chapter Two: A New House
1935 – 1968
In the summer of 1936, the five Sterns, along with Scottish governess Miss Grant, went on a 14-month trip to Europe in honor of Edgar’s 50th birthday, their 15th wedding anniversary, as well as to fulfill a promise he made to Edith on their honeymoon for a year-long trip. Though the trip was a vacation, we know that the Sterns were also traveling to see family, to help facilitate immigration to the United States, and to see for themselves what Europe was like on the eve of conflict that was expected to grow.
With the abundance of beauty and history surrounding them and the whisperings of war in Europe, the Sterns returned home inspired and motivated to create a home worthy of all they had learned. While they traveled, Shipman’s work on the grounds had had a full year to mature, and she was more than happy to help facilitate not only additions to the project but an entirely new set of designs.
Together with architects William and Geoffrey Platt, Shipman and the Sterns redesigned Longue Vue to integrate the house and gardens into one plan. Moving Longue Vue I in 1939 started a multi-year project that created Longue Vue II which the Sterns moved into Thanksgiving 1942.
South view out of the Drawing Room of Longue Vue II, 1947.
The new house and gardens were designed and built together so that every public room opened out to the gardens.
Edith and Edgar, 1937
A favorite photo from the Sentimental Journeys showing the Sterns well dressed atop camels in front of the pyramids and sphinx of Giza.
Longue Vue I being moved down Garden Lane.
Photo of Longue Vue I house being moved by Abry Brother’s shoring company, June 1939. The process took over two weeks to move the nearly 5,000 sq/ft home one block.
The Camellia Allée with New Orleans Mayor deLesseps ‘Chep’ Morrison, far left, and city businessmen at a visit to Longue Vue, 1958.
Longue Vue was the center for serious, fruitful gatherings. Many times, it turned into the political, smoke filled room on a state level, hosted beautiful recitals for the Symphony, and often had fund-raising sales for garden clubs and schools.
Chapter Three: Turning to Community
1968 – 1980
In 1968 Edith opened the garden to the public, fulfilling the first part of her and Edgar’s intent for the home being given to the city from its conception in the 1930s. Thus began her work to explore museums of many types around the country as inspiration. She moved out in 1978 to facilitate the house converting into a museum and in January 1980 Longue Vue House and Gardens opened its doors.
Dixie Roto, March 3, 1968, featuring the Garden Wonderland of Longue Vue now open to the public.
Epilogue: Longue Vue Today
1980 – present
Today Longue Vue is fulfilling the intended use that Edith and Edgar originally had for the house after they were gone — an open and welcoming home for everyone. Explore our website for information regarding how to participate in any of our upcoming events or recurring programs. In the spirit of our founders’ legacy, Longue Vue strives to provide programming that promotes health, wellness, equity, creativity, and lifelong learning. We offer after school garden education for students, yoga classes and gardening opportunities for adults, outdoor concerts and floral workshops for guests of all ages, and many other opportunities to connect with our gardens and learn about the history of Longue Vue.
Visitors on the Spanish Court, 2021
Summer ‘Scapes 2018