(718 Toulouse Street)
The Williams Residence, located at the back of the main courtyard, is partly visible from the arched passageway on Royal Street. The front of the building, glimpsed behind a brick wall, is on Toulouse Street. Built in 1889, almost 100 years after the Merieult House, the residence is an Italianate, two-story brick house with galleries. The history of the property dates to Jean François Merieult, who, after purchasing the Royal Street lot in 1792, increased his land a few years later, adding depth to the lot toward Bourbon Street where he erected a warehouse. He also purchased an adjoining lot with a front on Toulouse Street. Merieult’s stable was located here, today the courtyard of the Williams Residence.
The present lot containing the residence and courtyard was divided after the Merieult ownership. Seventy years later, when Jean Baptiste Trapolin owned the property and built his house at the rear of the lot, he purchased contiguous land fronting on Toulouse Street—Merieult land returned to the original holding—and achieved a private entrance around the corner from his hotel, the Royal House.
Mrs. Louise Brana bought the Trapolin residence in 1921 from the Trapolin heirs; during the Brana ownership, the Works Progress Administration had an art gallery in the building. Kemper and Leila Willaims reunited the Trapolin/Brana house and the Merieult house by purchase in 1938 and lived in the residence at 718 Toulouse Street from 1946 until they moved to the Garden District in 1963.
The residence, surrounded by three courtyards, is often described as a hidden house. The furnishings and decor remain as they were in the 1940s and 1950s when the Williamses lived there. Tours of the residence are offered daily.