The royal history of Café Amelie
Founded in 2005, Café Amelie was named for Amelie Miltonberger, the mother of Princess Alice, the first American Princess of Monaco, who lived in an accompanying townhouse in the mid-1800s. Alice Heine was born February 10, 1858 in New Orleans at 910 Rue Royale. The townhouse in which she was born and raised was constructed under the supervision of her maternal great grandmother, Madame Aimee Miltonberger. The three connected townhouses were completed in 1836.
Alice's mother was Amelie Miltonberger who was the daughter of Madame Miltonberger's youngest son, Alphonse, an architect by trade as well as an entrepreneurial cast iron importer. He was very influential in introducing the trend of large cast iron galleries on French Quarter houses in the 1830's. By 1858, Alphonse had constructed the Carriage House and added the cast iron galleries to the three Miltonberger townhouses. He also retained the famous architect Henry Howard to design the hexagon tower which overlooks the Courtyard.
Alice's father was Michael Heine, member of the famous European banking family of Heine-Freres. He originally came to New Orleans to organize cotton financing. Heinrich Heine, the well known, highly respected German-Jewish romantic poet & philosopher, was her great uncle. Michael Heine introduced his famously beautiful daughter Alice in Paris when she was 16.The most eligible bachelors begged for her hand. At 17, Alice married Duke Armand de Richelieu, a wealthy man many years older than Alice. Five years later the Duke died and Alice was a wealthy young widow embarking on her fabulous career as an international hostess.
Prince Albert, heir to the throne of Monaco, lived in Paris at the time and was a divorced man with a son. He courted Alice and they were married on October 30,1889, shortly after the death of his father. Alice's dowry was six million dollars, a fortune in that day. Reaching Monte Carlo, Alice was saluted by Bishop Theurat of Monaco as "the embodiment of virtue, charity and generosity." After five years, Princess Alice decided to leave the restrictive life of the Grimaldi family. Her father tried to negotiate a return of some part of her large dowry. The Grimaldi family refused. Nevertheless, eventually Alice decided to divorce. She took rooms in London. Soon her Sunday parties were famous for the talented & interesting people who attended. Respected writers, painters & even Winston Churchill were frequent visitors. She was patron to many young, promising artists and a supporter of humanitarian causes popular in the early 20th century. Princess Alice died in Paris on December 23,1925 at age 68. Although she lived most of her life in Europe, she often longed for the lush tropical splendor of her New Orleans courtyard, a scene of so much pleasure and joy in her youth. Happily, the Courtyard remains enchanting, lush and dreamy, in the spirit of the generous and stellar hostess, Alice Heine, the first American Princess of Monaco.