A "Maison des Illustres" for New Orleans [fr]
Founded in 1996, the Degas House in New Orleans is the only home of the French Impressionist Master, Edgar Degas, open to the public in the world. The Degas House Museum and Foundation conducts guided tours with Degas’ great-grandnieces as tour guides and docents.
It is well documented in Degas’ letters from New Orleans that his time in the city represents the turning point in Degas’ artistic style. Degas’ artistic evolution to a “more spontaneous, better art” occurred in New Orleans and led to the Impressionist Movement of 1874 and beyond. Degas completed eighteen paintings and four drawings while here in New Orleans including the famous "Office of Cotton Exchange", now preserved in Pau.
It is to pay tribute to this impressionist master and to recognize its special relationship with New Orleans that the Ministry of Culture has just awarded Degas House the label "House of Illustrious"
The Maison Degas thus becomes, among the 236 certified places, the second one on the American continent, next to Marguerite Yourcenar’s house in Maine.
The Maison des Illustres designation was created in 2011 by then French Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterand, to honor homes not only for their historical value, but also because of who lived in them. The purpose of the label is to encourage people to visit these homes which represent all aspects of French history and culture.
Besides Edgar Degas, the Maisons des Illustres network includes the homes of Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Napoleon, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Marie Curie and Jeanne d’ Arc, among many others.