BUYER: Sandra Bullock and Jesse James
LOCATION: Coliseum Street, New Orleans, LA
SIZE: 6,615 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: …Ornately carved marble mantels, carved columns, large plaster medallions, antique shadow molding thru first flr liv area. Grand entry foyer, 41 x 13 w/ wd flring featuring alternating pecan & sycamore, lg doorways lead to parlor, ballroom & dining rm, all w/ 14′ ceilings. Unfinished 3rd flr an additional 1935 sq. ft. w/ 10 ft. ceil.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just in case y’all did not know, Saturday was the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the powerful storm that devastated the Gulf states and visited a special sort of meteorological hell on the frisky and frolicsome city of New Orleans, LA. In remembrance of the tragic losses and in honor of all the hard and good work being done to rebuild and revitalize the City That Care Forgot, Your Mama thought it might be fun to discuss an historic and ornate mansion in the gorgeous Garden District recently snatched up by a couple of big hearted Tinseltown types who have quietly committed much time and major resources to the rebuilding of The Big Easy. No puppies, we are not going to discuss Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s mansion on Governor Nicholls Street. We’ve been there, done that, and, quite frankly, we are a little worn out by their constant real estate whirlwind. Nor are we going to chit-chat about prolific property collector Nic Cage who we are also tired of yakking about and who currently has two houses in New Orleans listed for sale.
Thanks to a well informed, Yat accented local gentleman we’ll call Benji Buttons, Your Mama has learned that romantic comedy queen Sandra Bullock and her heavily tattooed, chopper doctoring huzband Jesse James recently snatched up a N’awlins nest. Property records show that Mister and Missus James actually closed on their Garden District digs in June of 2009 when they forked over $2,250,000 for what is alternately and interchangeably called the Koch-Mays House, The Swiss Chalet House, and/or Freret’s Folly.
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According to previous reports Your Mama dug up on the interweb and listing information kindly supplied by Benji Buttons, we ascertained that the Coliseum Street mansion was built in 1876 by architect William Freret for James Eustis, a U.S. Senator and Ambassador to France. The fanciful exterior of the three story Gothic-Victorian residence (is that such a thing?) is all intricate iron work, elaborate fretwork and pointy gables that have been topped with lethal-looking, spear like ornaments. The interiors measure 6,174 square feet (or approximately 6,615 square feet depending where on the listing one looks). At the time of the sale, the day-core of the 5 bedroom and 4.5 pooper mansion was all did up in what our dear Mister Buttons called, and we quote, “like some kind of homo-rococo hot mess,” even though the sellers were not, in fact, homosexuals. Mister Buttons also told us that he thinks but can not confirm that the heavily gilded interiors had been worked over by noted New Orleans antiques dealer/interior decorator Buzz Harper who, and again we quote from Mister Buttons, “is an honors graduate of the Gone With the Wind school of plantation decor.” Nothing like hitting the nail on the head and getting right to the meat of the matter, is there?
Anyhoo, listing information shows that after crossing the covered front porch, Mister and Missus James’ new historic house is entered through an undeniably grand and Tara-esque foyer that stretches 41′ from front to back and features a magnificent and shimmering floor of alternating strips of pecan and sycamore woods. The main floor includes a parlor and ballroom, a banquet sized dining room with fussy drapery and champagne-colored damask wallpaper, a den with deep, Burgundy wine colored walls, and a modestly-sized, 16′ x 12′ kitchen all with large, glittery crystal chandeliers, monumental 14′ ceilings, imposing, antique shadow moldings, and more fireplaces with carved marble mantels than Your Mama cares to count. Okay, the kitchen does not have a sparkly chandelier, but it might as well.
The second floor houses the bedrooms including the master with the most luridly complicated wallpaper Your Mama has ever had the misfortune of eyeballing and the third floor measures 1,935 square feet of unfinished space with multiple windows and 10′ peaked ceilings. The grounds of the sprawling and well shielded corner property include elegant gardens, a large lawn perfect for rousing games of sazerac-fueled croquet tournaments, a large swimming pool surrounded by commodious terraces and a motor court that will park 3+ cars or, more likely, a dozen or so of Mister James’ tricked out choppers.
A peep and a poke into property records shows that in addition to their N’awlins mansion Miz Bullock and Mister James own a substantial number of dee–luxe properties between them. Their holdings include (but are not limited to) the following: A large house and a slew of other residential and commercial properties in Austin, TX; An ocean front house on S. Pacific Avenue in Sunset Beach, CA (that’s just south of Long Beach children), a house on Marmont Avenue that Miz Bullock bought in 2001 for $1,485,000 and that happens to be next door to Cameron Diaz’s digs; A townhouse on Sullivan Street in lower Manhattan which records show Miz Bullock scooped up in February of 2000 for $3,350,000; An ocean front spread in Tybee Island, GA walking distance from a house owned by John Cougar Mellencamp that records show she picked up in June of 2001 for $1,495,000. We’ve also read many times that Miz Bullock owns a home in or around Jackson, WY but, honestly chickens, we could not find (or did not look hard enough for) any current property records of that property.