he elegant home located at 3227 Coliseum St. is uniquely situated on a parcel of property that was subdivided by famed architect and city planner Benjamin Buisson in 1836 as part of the City of Lafayette. This double-galleried Greek Revival home with Italianate flourishes was constructed in approximately 1850. The New Orleans City Directory from 1851 lists Mr. S.S. Green, a wealthy note broker and commerce merchant, as residing at the property.
In an 1879 public auction listing of the home, the property is described as consisting of two large lots upon which a “two story frame residence” sat. The deep front and side gardens, set back substantially from the banquette, or sidewalk, were listed as a noteworthy feature of the “aristocratic residence.” The home’s ornamental gardens were described in a similar fashion in a public auction listing in 1895, after the death of owner Judge H.B. Kelly, which noted the home as featuring 10 rooms, including a bathroom and a cistern.
The home remained a single-family dwelling until 1913, when Ms. Marie Therese Wahl, widow of Mr. Alphonse Ledoux, advertised boarding services in the Times-Picayune, offering quality rooms for interested boarders. Ultimately, Mr. Ledoux’s estate sold the property at public auction in 1919 to Mr. Edward C. Moore.
The Saunders have only resided in the home since 2013 but their display of family heirlooms and antiques provides the home a sense of history and heritage. The large collection of Chinese antiques reflect Luna Saunders’ Chinese heritage as well as the couple’s meeting when Mr. Saunders lived in his wife’s hometown of Shanghai. Serendipitously, the collection has been in the Saunders family for years; Mr. Saunders’ grandfather had traveled extensively to Asia and was an avid collector, bringing home many of the decorative features found in the home, including the antique wallpaper panels found in the parlor.
Also on display are four antique dinner plates featuring the Saunders family coat of arms. Landed gentry in England for over 500 years, the Saunders family had the set made in China in 1740. The remaining pieces of the collection can be viewed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Although the Saunders Family resides among a fascinating collection of historical art and antiques, the couple has refreshed some of the common and private spaces to accommodate a modern life style with their four year-old daughter, Faith, and their pet parrots, Toussaint and Ago. Serving as general contractor on all projects, Mr. Saunders has overseen plaster repair work from damage related to Hurricane Isaac in 2012 and the construction of a brick courtyard on the right side of the home due to the necessary redirection of a sewer line. When the couple discovered faux marbling on the dining room baseboards (a signature Italianate flourish which had been covered in white latex paint), Mrs. Saunders stripped and repaired the faux marbling brushwork herself.
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley