2600 Gay Lynn Drive in Kenner

By ANGELA M. CARLL

New Orleans Real Estate editor

This 1795 Early Style Plantation home evokes images of a more gracious, genteel time in Louisiana’s history. It was designed by world-renowned architect A. Hays Town using much of the materials from the demolished Seven Oaks Plantation.

The original Seven Oaks was a 136-year-old Greek Revival mansion situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River. After it was demolished, much of its original materials were used here. This plantation on the lake is surrounded by a picket fence made from over one-hundred-year- old cypress. On its grounds, a sun dial was created from one of the original Seven Oaks columns. In keeping with the time, deep porches surround the home and exterior shutters were used for privacy, as family members traveled up and down the stairs.

Inside, its doors and windows are milled from old cypress, pegged without nails, and all of the interior doors are early Louisiana applied cypress finished with hot beeswax. In addition, all door jams and casings throughout the home were salvaged from Seven Oaks Plantation. Floor boards range up to sixteen inches wide and four inches deep. The home’s chandeliers were also hand selected by Town, and reflect the “no shine” aesthetic typical of the period.

“The home has a spacious living room with a separate library, a large dining room, a gourmet eat-in kitchen and ample third-floor living space with spectacular views of the lake,” said Eleanor Farnsworth, the listing agent with Gardner Realtors. “Not only that, but its sprawling landscaped grounds feature fabulous fish ponds, an aviary, cypress trees, a herb garden and a pigeonnaire.”

Walking into the house feels like you’re strolling back into old New Orleans time. The walls are constructed with barge board, taken from barges that were pulled downriver to the city, but had no motor to return them upstream. Instead, they were disassembled and used in the construction of many old New Orleans homes. The windows, also in keeping with the period, are hung with ropes and weights.

In the kitchen, the ceiling was built with materials from a Mississippi River wharf and the brick flooring was built using removed sidewalks from First and Carondelet streets. The cypress cabinetry was built on site, with old square nail holes and splits in the wood deliberately exposed. The countertops were handmade Mexican Pavers, selected by Town for their irregularity, and the copper hood was designed by him as well.

“In an interesting aside, the breakfast room was intentionally designed to look as though it were added at a later date,” said Farnsworth, “as was the case with many plantations over the years.”

The sitting room has an inviting fireplace which features a collection of bricks identified with the names of the various plantations from which they came, and was designed as though it were once used for cooking. The loggia area, or glass hallway leading to the master bedroom, features a half bath as well as a large utility room, complete with drip- dry closet.

The master bedroom has 12-foot ceilings, a linen closet in the hallway, large moldings and one wall made from two pocket doors. The dressing area has two large closets and his and hers bathrooms, with views of the Japanese garden from her side.

Even though everything about the home says old plantation, there are nods to modern conveniences as well: an elevator has access to all three floors. The second floor has a large living room with exposed structural beams, hand hewn from Seven Oaks Plantation. It also features a library made from Louisiana doors and two bedrooms, each with ensuite baths.

Farnsworth noted that the home is currently priced below its appraised value.

“This property combines the authentic plantation experience of being located on the water with the convenience of a central location,” said Farnsworth. “It is a one-of-a-kind Hays Town masterpiece that cannot be duplicated.”

Angela Carll may be reached at angcarll@gmail.com or 504-947-6575

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