An important part of the legacy of General L. Kemper and Leila Williams is their meticulously preserved French Quarter residence. Built in 1889, the townhouse at 718 Toulouse Street was restored by the Williamses in the 1940s and served as their home from 1946 to 1963. Operated today as a house museum, the Williams Residence is filled with the couple's furniture, artwork, and artifacts of daily life, reflecting their elegant mid-20th-century lifestyle.
While we are unable to host in-person tours due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are happy to present a series of short videos exploring some of our favorite highlights and curiosities from the Williams Residence. So, settle in, have a drink*, and enjoy these moments At Home in the French Quarter.
A look inside the Williams Residence offers insight into some of the interior decorating styles of the late 1940s and early '50s, as well as Leila Williams’s personal collecting interests. In this video, Interpretation Assistant Kurt Owens takes you through several rooms of the house, examining the unique little boxes—tea caddies, card boxes, and more—that can be found throughout the home.
Within the pickled-cypress walls of General Williams’s library you will find his prized possessions and evidence of his interests and accomplishments. In this video, Interpretation Assistant Cecilia Hock invites you into this room, which served as both a workplace and a retreat for the general. She discusses some of the most intriguing objects in the library and delves into details of the general's life.
In 1834, Prussian immigrant Charles F. Zimpel created one of the most accurate and meticulous maps of New Orleans and its surroundings. General Williams had a particular interest in historical maps, and an original Zimpel map hung in the entry foyer of the Williams Residence until it was replaced by a facsimile for preservation purposes. In this video, Interpretation Assistant Joanna Robinson delves into the details of the map and its eccentric cartographer, revealing how maps can tell us about the interests and intentions of their creators.
Leila and Kemper Williams delighted in sharing holiday festivities with close friends and family. Their Toulouse Street home was gaily festooned with all manner of Christmas greenery, their dinner table was the epitome of elegance, and their guests were all treated in a royal manner. In this video, Interpretation Assistant Kurt Owens discusses some of the Williamses’ holiday traditions as well as their joy in the season.