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
The lot on which Madame John’s now stands originally stretched all the way to the corner of Royal street and passed through at least two owners, St. Germain-Cayeux and Francois Marin, before being occupied by Jean Pascal, his wife, and their child by 1726. Pascal, a native of Provence, came to Louisiana as an employee of the Company of the Indies. He was killed at Fort Rosalie in 1729 when the Natchez rose up against the French in retaliation for threats to take their nearby agricultural lands.

Plan de la ville la Nouvelle Orleans. . . Mai 1728. 1847
Reproduced from copy by A. Simon after the 1728 original by Ignace Francois Broutin

This section of the map identifies Jean Pascal as the owner of the lot at the corner of Royal and Dumaine, numbered 92 in this map, 1728.

After Pascal’s death his widow, Elizabeth Real, married Francois Marin, one of the lot’s first owners. Apparently the couple prospered for Real, in her 1771 will, reported that at the time of Pascal’s death "we did not have any goods, that afterwards I made a second marriage with Don Francisco Marin. . . and with this I gained the goods that I have today." Maps dating from the 1730s and 40s indicate that Marin and his wife did build a larger structure and two outbuildings on the property. Marin died in the 1740s, but Elizabeth continued to run the house as an inn and lived here comfortably into old age.

Plan de la Nouvelle Orleans telle qu’elle estoit au mois de dexembre (sic) 1731
Gonichon, 1731, New Orleans
According to this map, only two years after Pascal’s death, his widow and her new husband, Marin, had built several new structures on the lot, including a large house located near the center of the property.

After Real’s death in 1777 her heir, grandson Francisco Godeau, sold his inheritance to a trader named Santiago Lemelle who quickly resold the property to Renato Beluche, a French immigrant and wigmaker. On Dec. 15, 1780, Beluche’s fifth child, a son named after his father, was born on this site. This son, Renato or Rene Beluche, was the famous privateer or pirate, who was a compatriot of Jean Lafitte, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans, an admiral in the Venezuelan Revolutionary Navy, and a favorite of Simon Bolivar.

Renato Beluche, Sr., sold the property to a Spanish military officer named Manuel DeLanzos in 1783. DeLanzos, a native of Spain, lived in the house with his wife, Gertrudis Guerrero, a native of Panama, and their six daughters. On March 21st of 1788, a catastrophic fire destroyed much of New Orleans. At the very least, the DeLanzos home was severely damaged and had to be substantially reconstructed. DeLanzos’ high rank, by this time Captain of the Spanish fixed regiment, made him an influential person and certainly helped him to make arrangements to rebuild his home so quickly. Only days after the fire, he signed a contract with an immigrant American builder named Robert Jones. Within six months Jones agreed to construct the building that stands today, although significant renovations, including the dormers and outbuildings, came later.

"Plan showing the boundaries of the great Conflagration of New Orleans on the 21st of March, 1788."
Reproduced from James Alexander Robertson, Louisiana Under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States, 1911
This map detailing the damage done by the fire of 1788, leaves open the question of whether the DeLanzos home, located at the edge of the fire, was completely destroyed or only significantly damaged

Fire raged again in New Orleans 1794, and this time the Spanish government designed building codes to insure that the newly constructed structures would be less prone to fire than their predecessors had been. The subsequent rebuilding gave the city an entirely new look, as this view from before the fire demonstrates. Madame John’s is the only extant house in the French Quarter that substantially resembles those that appear in this depiction of New Orleans in 1765. Thus, the house’s appearance is an artifact of an earlier time and a rare example of Louisiana French colonial architecture.

"A View of New Orleans taken from the opposite side of the River Mississippi, 1765."
Attributed to Captain Philip Pittman, 1765
This drawing includes many buildings that resemble Madame John’s. Note the prominence of galleries and the sloping rooflines so characteristic of Louisiana French Creole Architecture.