|Magnolia Mansion, formerly referred to as the Harris-Maginnis House, was purchased by internationally recognized entertainer Hollie Diann Vest and her mother, Wanda Marie Hansen, on the first of October, 2001. Prior to that, the home has had a magnificent and often turbulent history of owners, the most interesting of whom are the Harris family, the Maginnis family, and the New Orleans Chapter of the American Red Cross. The house now spans one and a half centuries of the social life of New Orleans.|
The Harris Years—1857 To 1879
In 1857 Magnolia Mansion was commissioned by Alexander Harris as a home for his young bride, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Johnson Thompson, who was a minor when the marriage license was signed. Designed by Norfolk architect James H. Calrow that same year, and built by local contractor William K. Day, the house was completed in 1858, and likely occupied by end of that year. Calrow only spent two years in New Orleans, but in 1857 also designed the nearby residence of ‘vampire novelist’ Anne Rice, located at 1239 First Street, New Orleans.