The Longue Vue Mission
Inspired by our humanitarian and artistic legacy, Longue Vue’s mission is to be a leader in the advancement of innovative thought, creative expression, and lifelong learning, and to engage our resources and exceptional setting to stimulate discussion and action on issues of social justice and community responsibility.
A Brief History of Longue Vue
The home and gardens were born of the dreams of Edgar and Edith Stern. He was a businessman from New Orleans, the son of German immigrants. She was from Chicago, the daughter of renowned business guru and civic philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. The couple met in 1920, were engaged and married in 1921, and began developing the Longue Vue property on eight acres at the edge of New Orleans that same year. Here the Sterns raised their three children – Edgar Jr. (1922-2008), Audrey (1924-1974), and Philip (1926-1992); entertained celebrities and politicians from across the United States and the world; and pursued a range of civic and artistic causes.
The Sterns worked with famed landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman (1866-1950) and architects William (1897-1984) and Geoffrey (1909-1985) Platt to produce an oasis of elegant beauty as their family home. The main house you can tour today was the second the Sterns built here (1939-1942). Shipman began designing Longue Vue’s present gardens in 1935 and continued until her death in 1950; today Longue Vue is the only intact Shipman landscape design that is open to the public. Edith also supported and enlisted the help of famed botanist and author Caroline Dormon due to their shared interest in native plants. Edith chose Dormon to choose plant material for Longue Vue’s Wild Garden, which is known for its extensive collection of plants indigenous to Louisiana, including its seasonal Iris Walk and Camellia Walk.
Following Edgar’s death in 1959, Edith maintained the property on her own and continued to activate it as a headquarters for garden clubs, cultural events, and political activism. She opened the gardens to the public on a regular basis beginning in 1968 and began to convert the house into an historic museum in the late 1970s. She moved into an off-site apartment to make way for public access, leaving nearly all of the original furnishings and decorative arts collection. Longue Vue opened as an independent non-profit museum in 1980, several months before Edith’s death – allowing her to realize her vision.