2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


Did you know?
Introduction Colonial History 1721-1788 19th Century History 1813-1892 Private Ownership to Public Trust 1892-1947 How Madame John's Legacy Got Its Name Table Of Ownership 1721-1947
Captain DeLanzos died in 1812 and his widow sold the house the following year to a Belgian immigrant lawyer named Dominique Seghers. Seghers and his wife, Dame Marie Anne Dotrange of Brussels, lived here with their children amid great luxury. After Madame Seghers death in 1819, the family’s property and household goods were inventoried for sale in order to pay off the family’s debts. Madame’s belongings included thirty-four dresses and more than a dozen pieces of gold and diamond jewelry, while her husband’s library contained more than 500 volumes in various languages. The family’s culinary stores included sugar and coffee from Havana, more than 100 bottles of imported wine and assorted liquors, and extensive household goods including numerous pieces of silver and fine French porcelains.

The Seghers’ succession listed extensive amounts of personal property. Included in the sale of their household goods were four female slaves who were described and valued as follows:

Manette, mulatress, aged around thirty nine to forty years, Creole of this State, good servant proper for everything, good cook, good laundress, good presser, dry plaiter, and good subject - $2,500

Delphine, daughter of the said Manette, quadroon, aged around nineteen years, good servant and seamstress, before becoming free when she shall have acquired or attained the age of thirty years, Creole of this state - estimated under the consideration of her future liberty - $800

A negress named Maranthe, called Emerance Africaine, aged around forty seven years, cook and laundress, good servant, good subject - $1,200

A negress named Louise,daughter of the said Emerance, Creole of this state, aged around thirteen years, servant and seamstress - $1,200

The Seghers’ slaves, like so many other enslaved men, women, and children in New Orleans, performed a variety of duties including marketing and food preparation, caring for the family’s children, and for their extensive wardrobes and other possessions.

Plucking Chickens
K. Turner
ca. 1890, Watercolor
Gift of Louisiana State Museum Foundation

Reproduced image of slave accompanying her mistress to market

"Lafayette Square, New Orleans, Louisiana"
Reproduced from Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, ca. 1854

Madame Marie Louis Patin Roman, the widow of Jacques Etienne Roman, a wealthy Opelousas cattle rancher, acquired the house in 1820 after it was seized by Seghers creditors. Roman made additions to the house including construction of the narrow service building on the far side of the courtyard. Her children, who certainly spent time in this house with their mother, made important marks of their own on the architectural and political history of the state. Oak Alley Plantation was built under the ownership of her son Jacques Telesphore while her daughter, Josephine, married Valcour Aime and was the mistress of the St. James Parish plantation called Le Petit Versailles today. Another son, Andre Bienvenue Roman served as governor of the state from 1831-1835 and from 1839-1843.

Governor Andre Bienvenue Roman
Governor of Louisiana from 1831-1835 and 1839-1843
I. Osicran, charcoal drawing

Photograph of Oak Alley
Robert Tebbs, 1927

Portrait of Josephine Roman Aime
ca. 1856
Gift of Gladys F. Landry

Five years after Madame Roman’s death in 1831, her heirs sold the house. It passed through four owners in ten years before being acquired in 1847 by William C.C. Claiborne, the son of Louisiana’s first American governor. Although Claiborne and his heirs owned the house until 1892, records indicate that Claiborne, an active real estate investor, never lived in the house himself. In 1859, Claiborne and his wife, Louise de Balathier moved into their newly constructed town home facing Washington Square Park.