Lakeside Mansion. Photo by Babeth Schlegel.

This year’s Petite Antiques Forum takes on French monarchs and historic mansions

Baton Rougeans may know artist Hunt Slonem for his hyper-modern expressionist paintings, but few may know about his reputation as a preservationist of historic homes, three of which reside in Louisiana. But on Saturday, April 2, Lakeside Mansion—Slonem’s 1832 home built on Batchelor land once gifted by Thomas Jefferson to the Marquis de Lafayette—will open its doors as part of this year’s Petite Antique Forum and House Tour, an annual event hosted by Friends of Magnolia Mound

This isn’t your average Georgian-era mansion, either. As we wrote back in 2014, The New York Times “once likened it to ‘an aged diva in a pink organdy dress at McDonald’s,'” with Slonem’s artistic touch and “love affair with Louisiana” transforming each room into exhibitions of antiques, artwork and other décor.

“Lakeside is a home rich in historical significance, which has been wonderfully restored by Hunt Slonem,” says Susan Wilder, chairman of the Petite Antiques Forum. “It is chock full of period furniture and decorative arts, as well as a great deal of Slonem’s own works of art. It is a true feast for the eyes both inside and outside, and we feel very fortunate to have it as the home that we are touring this year.”

Before kicking off the tour, however, ticket holders will meet at the Baton Rouge Country Club for morning refreshments and a lecture by guest speaker Patrick Dunne, owner of Lucullus Antiques in New Orleans. Drawing on expertise from his doctoral work in American and European cultural history at Tulane, as well as from his writing experience for his book The Epicurean Collector and magazines like Historic Preservation, Southern Accents, Coastal Living, Entreé and House Beautiful, Dunne will expound on the theme “Some Archaeology Of Your Table: Exploring if Louis XVI could be cozy at an impromptu supper with you this evening.”

“He is an expert in antiques, foodways and the history of food,” says Wilder. “Would our modern-day table setting and food service be one that Louis XVI would be comfortable with? That’s a good question.”

After the lecture and lunch, a bus will drive attendees to Lakeside for the house tour (though they can also drive themselves if they choose), where the home’s unique pink exterior, ample gardens and Slonem’s handpicked antique furnishings tell a story of history mixed with contemporary flair. 

For more on the forum and what to expect, check out