VIEW FROM THE BALCONY
Living the Vieux Carré experience
The second and third floors of the building are now an elegant condominium.
cheryl gerber photographs
Frances Hegenberger has lived in New York City; Dallas; San Francisco; Memphis, Tenn.; and Charleston, S.C. Today, she lives New Orleans where she’s enamored with the charm of the French Quarter. “I love hearing the children in the schoolyard across the street, eating in the great restaurants nearby, purchasing fresh flowers from the flower shop around the corner and having lots of interesting friends,” she explains when asked why she settled here almost three years ago. “This is a great place to live.”
She has crafted a spacious condo on the second and third floors of a historic building. It is an architectural gem with large rooms and a balcony where she can sip wine and hear the calliope from the Natchez steamboat. “I wanted a large living room, dining room and kitchen where I could entertain,” she says. Tucked in a quiet corner with no street-side windows, there’s a cozy bedroom with walls wrapped in fabric that she brought from her Charleston home. A large bathroom and maybe the largest closet in the French Quarter adjoin the bedroom. “I had to have plenty of closet space.”
Hegenberger served as her own designer, while her architect was Randolph Marz, from Charleston. “I called him when I found this wonderful place and said that I needed a plan in two days,” she says with a smile. “Imagine my amazement when he did something perfect right on time.”
While she mostly lives on the second floor, her architect paid special attention to make the third floor completely self-contained for her guests. “It’s fun to have guests visits when they can have complete privacy,” she continues.
It is easy to understand why her home is so interesting. She has collected unique furnishings and accessories from everywhere she has lived and from her many travels to exotic places. “I enjoy every room of my 3,000-square-foot home and there’s a story behind everything in here,” she says.
While the living and dining rooms display as classic eclectic elegance, there’s no doubt that her lipstick-red kitchen is a conversation topic for first-time visitors. With tall ceilings and large center island, the kitchen is definitely a place that makes you want to pull up a tall chair and begin your day with a cup of coffee, or end it with a glass of wine. “I don’t really do a lot of cooking,” Frances says. “There are too many good restaurants to enjoy, but I love to spread out the newspaper and begin my days right in the kitchen.”
Though the living, dining and kitchen spaces are open and inviting, her bedroom is a romantic private place. “It’s a good example of how I have kept the best of the best from my other homes for this place, and while this is a recreation from another one of my residences, my bathroom is completely fresh and new with everything pristine white.
“The French Quarter is perfect for me. It’s a place where you can stay at home or party every night. It has so much to offer, but when I walk out onto my balcony in the mornings I know I am in a place that has a special life of its own.”