Madame John's Legacy is one of the finest 18th century building complexes in Louisiana. It is one of the few French Quarter structures that escaped the great fire of 1794, which leveled much of city's oldest section. The structures on the site from the early 1780s were destroyed by the conflagration and Madame John's was erected on a burnt-out lot that same year.
Madame John's is an excellent example of Louisiana Creole residential design at the end of the 18th century. It is more typical of the simple, unadorned style of the French West Indies than the ornate style that evolved during the Spanish colonial period, characterized by lacy wrought iron balconies. The architectural complex at Madame John's actually consists of three buildings: The main house, the kitchen with cook's quarters and the two-story garconniere (gentlemen's guest quarters).
This is the kind of home that prospering colonists built after progressing from their first rude cabin dwellings. The homes provided refuge and sanctuary for New Orleanians: high off the ground where it was safe from frequent flooding, and broad galleries that protected it from sun and rain. Thick walls and shuttered windows created a snug and private atmosphere, while inside one found an air of spaciousness.
The main house is the only building in the complex that is open to the public.