Summer Sounds concert series returns to St. James Church _lowres

St. Martin

One hundred and forty years ago, a young artist traveled from Paris to New Orleans for a visit with family in his mother’s ancestral home.

That family was the Mussons, and the artist was the great impressionist painter Edgar Degas.

The artist’s sojourn in the Crescent City is elegantly celebrated each year during the holiday season when the historic Degas House on Esplanade Avenue opens its doors for a grand fête complete with wine, music and merriment for all in attendance.

The home is festively adorned with many of the traditional Creole decorations that the Musson family would have embraced during this time of year.

Fresh garland draped upon the balconies and along staircases set the mood, while a massive fresh tree glittering with thousands of tiny white lights anchors the double parlors.

Proprietor David Villarrubia has lovingly restored and preserved this cherished piece of history for visitors and locals alike to enjoy as their own.

The main house serves as a charming inn while the adjacent property holds a museum devoted to Edgar Degas’ time here and his ancestral connection to our city.

The Degas House holiday open house is always an interesting mix of international travelers and local supporters who make this stop one of their favorite holiday traditions.

On hand this year was jazz clarinetist Tim Laughlin with his wife, Juliet, festival guru Sandra Dartus and girl-about-town designer Carolina Gallop.

New Orleans pianist Armand St. Martin entertained while Edgar Degas’ great-grandniece Joan Prados mingled with the steady flow of guests.

To learn more about the historic Degas House or the mission of the Degas Foundation, visit Cheers and a very happy New Year to all!

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans-style every Thursday in The Advocate’s New Orleans Community News section. Please email information on your upcoming events to