On the FX series “American Horror Story: Coven,” this grand old house is known as “Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies” (aka witches).
In real life, it’s a three-story, 20,000-square-foot landmark in New Orleans from the 1850s called Buckner Mansion.
Let’s take a look at both the real and onscreen versions…
Miss Robichaux’s Academy on “American Horror Story: Coven”
The exteriors were filmed at Buckner Mansion, but the interiors were created on an 8,000-sq-ft soundstage.
Ryan Murphy says, “Last year was so dark and grim and hard and I loved it, but this year was designed to be more, I think, fun. I wanted this year to be more light.”
That’s the idea that dictated how the rooms should look.
Set decorator Ellen Brill says, “You can really see blood on white!”
Production Designer Mark Worthington says:
We knew we wanted the rooms to be light in tone.
So we came down to New Orleans and the idea was to find an old antebellum mansion in the Garden District, a Greco-Roman revival, which starts from a base of being lighter.
I started pulling research (of) interiors that had a lot of white walls, white floor, lighter tones with darker furniture, creating contrast.
They built a working staircase with a real second floor for the “Coven” sets.
Upstairs hallway with the girls’ bedrooms:
Not sure I’d want to eat any food served off that “kitchen island.” 😉
Sarah Paulson plays Cordelia, Headmistress of Miss Robichaux’s Academy, who’s a master at potion work. She tries to guide young witches Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), Madison (Emma Roberts), Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), and Nan (Jamie Brewer).
Jessica Lange plays Fiona Goode, the Coven’s “Supreme,” who is the head of the Coven. Definitely not someone you want to cross!
The Real Buckner Mansion: 1410 Jackson Ave in New Orleans
The real house is in the historic Garden District of New Orleans and was built in 1856 by cotton magnate Henry S. Buckner.
Buckner Mansion used to be a school, too, although it wasn’t for witches. From 1923-1983 it was the site of Soulé Business College.
The mansion is now a private residence you can rent for special occasions.
The VRBO.com listing says:
It is 1853. Cotton is King, New Orleans is the center of the universe, and you are Henry Sullivan Buckner. You commission renowned architect Lewis E. Reynolds to build the most beautiful and magnificent mansion in the very heart of New Orleans’ Garden District. The result is one of the finest examples of Southern antebellum architecture, having a scale of elegance from the 19th Century that is rarely found.
The mansion has over 20,000 square feet, 48 Ionic and Corinthian fluted cypress columns, endless verandas, ornate cast-iron, and floor to ceiling windows.
Set designer Mark Worthington didn’t think the real house would work for the show because the proportions were “a little odd” with “long and narrow and tall” rooms for filming.
Instead of filming on location, the sets were built on a soundstage.
For more photos and information about Buckner Mansion and the “Coven” sets:
- Rental Listing
- See Cool Set Stills in Designer Ellen Brill’s portfolio
- Filming Location Guide
- More Photos at E! Online
- See old photos and interior photos at Soule College
- FX’s AHS page
- The Sets from American Horror Story: Murder House