The Secret Room at M.S. Rau Antiques – New Orleans, Louisiana - Atlas Obscura

The Secret Room at M.S. Rau Antiques

A treasure trove hidden within a treasure trove. 


Many a serious collector of fine art and antiquities will be familiar with M.S. Rau Antiques in New Orleans’s French Quarter. What many of them might not realize is that the greatest treasures in this renowned collection sit behind a secret door toward the back of the building.

This portal has been painted to look like a bookcase. On the other side of the trick door, the secret room contains an astounding variety of museum-caliber art and rare artifacts.

There are paintings by greats such as Monet, Renoir, Norman Rockwell, and others, plus an etching by Rembrandt and a puzzling Enigma machine, a type of encryption device. You’ll also find furnishings inspired by palaces around the world, plus several sculptural works.

These are available for purchase, but you’ll need a big budget if you plan to take them home with you.

Update as of February 2020: The Secret Room is no longer viewable as the shop has expanded its collection. 

Know Before You Go

Please note that you must ask a gallery employee to escort you behind the door. It is not a public part of the gallery and is typically reserved for those who are seriously interested in purchasing a piece.