Jefferson Davis, President of The Confederate Sates Of America, spent the last years of his life at Beauvoir, a home on the Gulf Coast near Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1889 he made a trip from there to Brierfield, his plantation in northern Mississippi. Falling sick at Brierfield he stopped in New Orleans on the return journey to recuperate at the home of his friend Charles Erasmus Fenner, an Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

That’s the house above, today, in the Garden District of New Orleans, a couple of blocks from where I stayed on my recent trip to The Crescent City.

Davis appeared to recover at his friend’s home but then relapsed and died there. Davis’s last years were strange. Vilified in the North, lionized in the South, he inhabited a sort of Twilight Zone. Shelby Foote described him in those years, in a phrase from a poem by George Meredith, as Lucifer In Starlight.