Things looked a bit different back in the day! This photograph shows Front Street (a part of Jefferson Highway) in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In view is People’s Bank and McClung Drugstore.
Photo source: Cammie G. Henry Research Center (Watson Library, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana)
This post will conclude our virtual visit to Historic Natchitoches, Louisiana…for now. Hopefully you have found yourself captivated by the charm and beauty of this unique Southern gem and will add it to your travel agenda—or at least to your bucket list! These photos were taken on a warm, summer evening several years ago, but little has changed and the same scene would greet you if you were to arrive in Natchitoches tonight!
In the 1920′s New Orleans author, William Spratling, wrote the following description of the Roque House and its owner, Philamene Roque: “Madame Aubert (Roque) lived rather humbly in a small house of mud and half-timber which was built in the 18th century by some of her French forebears. All her life she had lived here on the Isle Brevelle. In front a bit of provincial France, an old fashioned garden, variously colorful, lay within the confines of a lichen-covered and battered fence of split palings. Madam Aubert, throwing open the blue-green shutter of the front of the house, hastened down to meet us.” (Source: http://www.natchitoches.net/attractions/historic-district/roque-house/)
The Roque House
Gardens in front of the Roque House
Looking toward Cane River from the Roque House
“River Through Stone”
Brick pathway approaching the Roque House
The Roque House
Front Porch – The Roque House
Brick pathway along the side of The Roque House
Looking toward Front Street
The view from Front Street
Tree branches bowing to the ground
Spring flowers abound in the gardens
Gardens – The Roque House
Moved twenty-two miles north to its present location on the banks of Cane River Lake in 1967, the Roque House has been fully restored by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation. Built as a personal residence around 1803 by a freed slave named Yves (called Pacale), it has served as a museum, a store, and the Headquarters for the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission. It is an exceptionally fine example of French Creole architecture with its post in the ground design, hipped roof, encircling gallery, and central chimney. Constructed of cypress timbers and bousillage (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss, and deer hair), the house is jointed (built without nails) and has a cedar shingle roof. The left-side bedroom and double fireplace were damaged in transit during the move, but some of the original bricks remain in the fireplace.
The Roque House holds court on the riverbank at the end of Front Street below the Visitor Information Center. When you visit downtown Natchitoches, make plans to relax on a wrought iron bench in the shade of the grand oak trees. Allow enough time to properly bask in the beauty of the gardens and enjoy the gentle lapping of the river against the shoreline. It is a little piece of heaven…
See my Visiting Natchitoches, Louisiana page under the Travel Tips and Talk link on the homepage menu.