Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Promotion of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

We all lost a dear member of our preservation family this past week in Natchitoches, Louisiana. When fire broke out, it broke the hearts of all of us who love this city. These structures are more than just “houses”. They house memories of people, families, friends and stories. We will have memories of the fire but moreover there are those memories that the fire could not touch. That is the secret of the preservation community in Natchitoches. There lies within us that which is lovely, memorable, and untouchable by fire or decay. It is this legacy we seek to pass to future generations.Those of us who are members of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches have not forgotten the Kate Chopin House nor will the Levy-East House be swept from our memory.

Levy-East House , 320 Jefferson Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana

 A fire broke out early Tuesday at Natchitoches’ Levy-East Bed and Breakfast, gutting the historic structure.

It happened about 5:45 a.m.(June 19, 2012) and took firefighters about an hour to get the blaze under control. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. Authorities do not believe anyone was inside when the fire started and the blaze is under investigation.

The Levy-East house dates to the 1830s. Before the fire, the business was not operational. Some parts of the building that did not get damaged will be saved, officials said.

The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Homes.

It was originally part of the area’s vast Jewish community in the 1800s. It was built by a doctor and was one story. Then it was purchased in 1891 by the Levy family, merchants who added a floor to the structure.

(Source Associated Press reported in Alexandria Town Talk)Brief History

The Levy-East House is a two-story structure with gabled roof and twin brick chimneys. The second story balcony is supported by four slender iron columns and encircled by iron lace of the same design as that of the old New Orleans Mint. From the front porch, an iron-grilled door leads to the century-old garden. The big magnolia tree in the side yard is said to be over a hundred years old. A large gingko tree stands at the back porch. Bayou Amulet, the ravine on the south side of the yard, was originally called Bayou a Muler’.

In the 1830′s, Trizzini and Soldini built the old house as an office and home for Dr. Nicholas Michel Friedelezy, a French Canadian. To the original one-story red brick structure, and upper story of wood was added before the Civil War. Court records show that the house, lot, and two slaves of the late Dr. Friedelezy were sold at auction Jan. 10, 1840, the house for $3700 to John A. DeBussy. From 1854 to 1891 the Tauzin family owned the home. In 1891, Leopold Levy and his wife Justine Dreyfus Levy purchased the house. Of their six children, four were born in this house.