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Historic—and Possibly Haunted—Garden District Mansion for Sale

Located in the Garden District in New Orleans, the former Harris-Maginnis Mansion has hit the real estate market. Again. Currently operating as a bed and breakfast (B&B), the home can revert back to a private home and can be yours for the discounted price of $4.9 million.

Designed by the famous architect James H. Calrow in 1857, the house was built for the cotton broker Alexander Harris. Harris and his child bride, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Thompson, moved into the sprawling home in 1858. On July 19, 1896, Harris died from yellow fever. The young widow remarried and sold the home in 1879.

The next owners were John Henry Maginnis and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Tweed. [Note: Both women were called “Lizzie.”] Maginnis was a cotton baron. While vacationing at another residence, Maginnis was struck and killed by lightning on July 4, 1889—only 10 years after purchasing the home. Tweed held onto the property and willed it to her only daughter, Josephine, in 1921. Josephine and her husband split their time between New York City and Europe; therefore, Josephine gifted the 13,000 square foot home to the New Orleans chapter of the American Red Cross in 1939.

The American Red Cross used the home as a headquarters from 1939-1954. Dr. Clyde E. Crassons purchased the building and converted it back into a private residence.

The home has changed hands several times. Mr. and Mrs. Schreiber remodeled the home and converted it into a bed and breakfast. Hollie Vest, a Tina Turner impersonator, purchased the home in 2001.

Even more noteworthy is that the home has been listed for sale a lot. Like, a lot. It was listed in 2012 for $2.85 million. It sold in 2013 for $1.6 million. And now it is for sale again. Originally listed for $5.475 million, the sale price has been reduced to $4.9 million. The new owners can leave the home as an operating B&B or convert it back into a private home. I would not be surprised if the beautiful home reverts back. That seems to be the trend with historic properties.

Now known as the Magnolia Mansion, the home is not marketed as haunted. However, the B&B Website does provide some interesting stories and photographs of possible hauntings. Activity seemed to commence during the renovations. Another Website proffers that the ghosts are friendly. One tucks guests into bed at night while another child “plays” in the hallways. I don’t know if the home is haunted. I would love to investigate, though. Who knows? Maybe the next time I’m in the Crescent City!