The price of the 100-year-old Garden District mansion
in New Orleans where "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
" was filmed has just tumbled to $1,975,000 -- that's about $1 million off where it was. The home -- with its double parlor doors, formal dining room and gorgeous architectural features, including hand-carved mahogany fireplace mantels and stained glass windows -- was the primary residence featured throughout the film, about a character played by Brad Pitt who ages in reverse.
Sellers of the seven-bedroom, six-bathroom home may be learning the Hollywood lesson the hard way: The popcorn crowd may come to showings, but it's primarily to see if they can figure out where scenes were shot. And they leave their checkbooks at home. (When Malibu Realtor Pam Whitham listed the house featured in the Bruce Willis film, "Hostage,
" she literally had to explain to clients that the boulders they saw outside the house in the movie were fakes -- made of a light-weight sponge-like material and long-since carted away.)
But listing agent Eleanor Farnsworth of Prudential Gardner says there is no mistaking the Hollywood lure of the Benjamin Button home to New Orleans folk. It will forever be linked to the film, she says, and New Orleans' love affair with Brad Pitt, who played the role of Benjamin Button, is likely to continue. Upset by the slow pace of post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding in the Lower Ninth, in 2007 the actor set up a foundation called Make It Right which commissioned 13 architecture firms to design affordable, green houses.
As for the house that Farnsworth has listed, it's a beauty alright, with seven bedrooms -- each with a fireplace -- and six bathrooms in 7,911 square feet of Victorian-era history. The mansion was constructed as a center-hall cottage in 1832. Ulisse Marinoni, president of the People's Bank, bought the home in 1872 and added a second story. His daughter married an architect named William T. Nolan and the home remained in the Nolan family for the next 100 years.
Today, the mansion has antique beveled-glass front doors, large rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and intricately carved plaster sconces; the brass hardware is original. The home sits on .66 of an acre. And yes, I suppose we can say "Brad Pitt slept here."