Shop Talk: Judy Fern

The Elms Mansion is a New Orleans landmark, can you give us a brief history?  The historic Elms Mansion, located on St. Charles Avenue, was built in 1869. John “Tac” Elms purchased the Mansion in 1951, and his daughter turned it into a special event venue (weddings, social parties, corporate events) 50 years ago – we’ll be celebrating an anniversary this year. Today the Mansion is third-generation owned by Mr. Elms’ grandson and granddaughter, Tom and Faith Roche.

When did you become involved?  After spending more than 35 years in healthcare and having gone through (Hurricane) Katrina at a hospital, I decided it was time to have a “fun” job. Planning parties and events, working with brides and working with corporate and social clients is extremely rewarding. I love to see the happy ending and everyone enjoying themselves. Since I’m winding down my time, Jessica Serrano joined our team last year.

Would you like to share some of the special events that have taken place at the mansion?  There are so many remarkable and wonderful events – from GQ’s star-studded Super Bowl Party, to the celebration of a birthday for a Microsoft executive (including a float in a parade), to gorgeous weddings including some of our local celebrities, like Susan Spicer. A lot of people don’t realize that the Mansion and grounds can accommodate more than 400 guests and that we have our own incredibly talented chef that has been with The Elms for 17 years.

Is there anything new coming up that you want to share?  The Elms Family has always tried to keep on top of current trends. Weekday weddings and smaller weddings seem to be requested more often. Group tours with cocktails and lunch in the gardens have proved to be popular. We are also offering meeting space rentals for retreats and conferences. We are always looking for new and innovative things to do!

You mentioned an anniversary?   The Elms is proud to be a continuously-operating, local family business in New Orleans for over 50 years. While we love hosting our destination guests, the local ones always prove to be the most exciting!

The Elms Mansion: 3029 St. Charles Ave., 895-9200,


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