In a time when the world mourns the devastating damage to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, New Orleans has reason to be proud.

The French Ministry of Culture recently announced that it has included the Degas House in the Maisons des Illustres network of houses of the famous in various parts of the world.

According to Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in Louisiana, I am very excited that the Degas House has been awarded this prestigious French designation. It recognizes the unique work accomplished by Degas House founder, David Villarrubia, and the impact the Degas House has made on the New Orleans cultural scene since the house was established in 1996.”

Villarrubia, who was awarded the Chevalier in the French National Ordre of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in 2009, responded, “This honor is a tribute to all those who work tirelessly to raise awareness of-and keep alive- the French influence on New Orleans, especially the art of Edgar Degas.”

He added, “I am especially proud because of the 236 Maisons des Illustres properties in the network, Degas House is only the second home in the United States to be recognized with this distinction, and only the fourth outside of the French territories.”

Besides the homes of visual artists such as Edgar Degas, the Maisons des Illustres network includes the homes of writers, musicians and composers, actors, scientists, designers and world leaders.

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.

Degas House is in excellent company, as among the member houses are familiar names such as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Napoleon, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Marie Curie and Jeanne d' Arc, among many others. Locations of these houses include France, Germany, Tahiti, China, French Guyana, Guadalupe, Corsica, Morocco and the United States.

The Degas House will host a ceremony to unveil the official marker (as shown above) and commemorate its inclusion in the Maisons des Illustres later this year. For more information on the Maisons Des Illustres, please visit

Edgar Degas in New Orleans

It is well documented in Degas’ letters from New Orleans that his time in 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 impressionist Movement of 1874 and beyond. Degas completed eighteen paintings, four drawings and five letters while here in New Orleans.

Degas House

Founded in 1966, the Degas House in New Orleans is the only home or studio 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.  Degas House also hosts weddings, receptions and corporate events in the spacious parlors, gallery and courtyard. Degas House welcomes guests into its nine-room historic luxury bed and breakfast.  For more information on Degas House please contact, 504-821-5009, or visit the website or


David Villarrubia