Visit this bonus house and 7 other stunning homes in New Orleans’ historic Garden District and Lower Garden District at the Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 8 and 9.
2631 Prytania Street • Sully Mansion
In 1890, insurance magnate John Rainey commissioned architect Thomas Sully to design a house for his family. Sully, one of the most prolific architects in New Orleans at the time, not only designed residences, but also hotels, banks and even yachts. Many of his buildings still stand today, including the Whitney Bank building (631 Gravier St.); The Confederate Museum (929 Camp St.) and the Hennen Building (201 Carondolet), to name a few.
For Rainey, Sully designed a raised Queen Anne-style residence with a curved front porch, Ionic posts and gables decorated with fish-scale pattern shingles. The interior boasted 14-foot ceilings, stained-glass windows along the grand stairway and a second-story gallery. Rainey lived in the home for several decades. He also would have Sully build three equally impressive houses on Fourth Street for his daughters.
The Rainey home would change hands several times. Its past owners include Charles Bennette Moore, an esteemed local photographer; M. Truman Woodward, a noted Tulane Law School graduate and author; and Maurice W. Sackett, another well-known photographer. Between 1946 and 1978, it is believed the property was turned into a boarding house, made evident by numerous doors and stairwell remnants located on the outside of the property. Soon thereafter it became an inn.
In 2016, the current owner Mike Bertel, president of Inhab Group, a real estate and design/build firm, purchased the inn. With a respectful eye on the home’s original architectural details, Bertel began renovations. His team painted the walls, removed the second-floor carpeting (revealing the original pine flooring) and gave the property the TLC it desperately needed. The original fireplaces, pocket doors, chair rails, transom windows and ornately decorated brass hardware all remain intact. The Inhab team also re-upholstered several pieces of furniture that date to the original inn, giving the house a traditional yet fresh feel.
In the garden, Bertel opened up the space by cutting out the large palms and bushes that had covered the majority of the yard.
Today, the Sully Mansion Bed and Breakfast hosts guests from all over the world. There are nine guest rooms. The third floor is the innkeeper’s private residence. The original wrought iron fence and century-old oak tree still frame the house like a warm southern welcome.
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 8 & 9 in the Garden District and Lower Garden District
Advance sale tickets: $30 for PRC members, $45 for non-members. $50 on day of tour.