Melrose Tour Will Put A Smile On Your Face Tuesday, Jun 25 2013 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

It is delightful to be with happy people in a happy place.

Get together with:

  • your Sunday School Class or church group
  • your girl friend’s group
  • your family
  • your school group
  • your friends

Schedule a tour of Melrose Plantation, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Even if there is one “ole grouch” in your group, chances are he or she will have a change of attitude before your educational and enchanting tour of the French Creole Plantation concludes.

Enjoy refreshments in the Plantation Gift Shop while you browse for gifts or mementos of your visit.

Marvel at the impressive collection of works by the Louisiana artist Clementine Hunter, including the impressive mural depicting plantation li                       

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

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APHN Offers Two Clementine Hunter Books for One Low Price Monday, Jan 21 2013 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

A CHRISTMAS PACKAGE
 
Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches offers two great Clementine Hunter books for one low price. Visit Melrose Plantation for a wonderful tour of where Clementine lived and worked, see her magnificent mural and get your books at the Bindery (Gift Shop). If you cannot make it to Melrose, go to the APHN website and purchas the books. {click here}

Special Offer #1: a two book package for one Low Sale Price.

Clementine Hunter:Her Life and Art
Biography
By Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead
Louisiana State University Press, 2012
She painted and painted and painted: for fifty years she painted. She produced “between five and ten thousand” works of art. On snuff bottles, window shades, plywood, canvas and a multitude of objects found on the plantation. Hunter tells her own story and the story of her people in her paintings. The descendent of an enslaved family, she came from field hand in the cotton rows to cook for the plantation Big House to internationally known Folk Artist.
 
Shiver and Whitehead’s book is. itself, a well researched and lively story of not only the Artist, but of those who encouraged her, such as Lyle Saxon and Francois Mignon. It includes facinating data of forgeries and FBI involvment. Both authors knew Clementine.Whitehead visited her regularly for many years. Book includes paintings and photographs. Read and become Clementine’s friend
                  AND

Clementine Hunter: The African House Murals
by Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead
Copyright 2005 The Association of the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches 
Published by NSU Press Publications
Hardcover Edition

The story in words and pictures about “the most colorful room in the south”.  One of the modern treasures of the American art scene was painted in the middle of the last century on nine plywood panels and installed on the dusty second floor of a unique structure at rural Melrose Plantation in northwest Louisiana.. Through journals and correspondence, we (the authors) are able today to put together the events that tell the story of the creation of Clementine Hunter’s African House Murals. (excerpt from inside cover)

 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE BOOKS AND GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT MELROSE TOURS

 

Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art Thursday, Sep 13 2012 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Clementine Hunter admirer? You will want this book.

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Francois Mignon: The Man Who Would Be French Monday, Aug 13 2012 

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

Francois Mignon: The Man Who Would Be French (Pictured with Clementine Hunter)

The Natchitoches preservation community frequently finds itself indebted to Kim (Publisher) and Terry (Editor) Isbel of The Old Natchitoches Parish Magazine and Mercantile Advertiser. Their edition No. 180 has an article by Oliver Ford, Fitchburg State College, entitled “Francois Mignon: the Man who would be French”. www.oldparishmag.com

Francois Mignon, gifted writer and long-time resident of Melrose Plantation, had numerous stories that circulated around him. Oliver Ford’s treatment of Mignon’s creating a new identity is gentle and non-judgemental. He quotes Mignon in a statement, that for me is both insightful and revealing:

“Ever so long ago I became convinced that God, for mere convenience, fitted us in patterns,-physically,  along lines of our progenitors, but gave us the recompense of finding souls of similar pattern to our own in any old place, and by no means tied to the blood kin from whence the body came but from whence the soul did not”.

Obviously this remarkable person born as Frank VerNooy Mineah on May 9, 1899, in Cortland, New York, to Walter Fish Mineah and Mary Ella Mineah (nee Howland) preferred to be “French”. His achievements were those of Francois Mignon rather than of Frank VerNooy Minrah, the name he was given at birth.

Oliver Ford writes: “How much of the Mignon persona he created,how much he simply did not deny when others embellished it, and how much simply attached to him by the usual rumors about public personalities probably never will be determined”.

This is a fascinating story, told well and with insight by Oliver Ford. You would do well to get a copy of the Old Natchitoches Parish Magazine (No. 180) and read it. Even better would be a subscription to the magazine.

Imagine Reading a Book From an Enchanted Cottage Friday, May 18 2012 

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Bindery (Gift Shop) Melrose Plantation

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

Truth be told, it is not just the “Bindery” but the entire Melrose Plantation that is enchanted. A tour of discovery can be said to:

  • lead to a sense of wonder, charm and delight
  • cast a magical spell in a historical site that is full of stories that will captivate you
  • create a feeling of pleasure and great liking for something wonderful and unusual
  • fascinate you as you visit the setting of a dynamic artist’s colony where Clementine Hunter painted, Francois Mignon and Lyle Saxon wrote. (there are too many artists to mention all of them)

A good way to prepare for your journey of enchantment is: 

  • to read Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers. You will discover the plantation country of the lower Cane River (Louisiana) in this historical novel, the only novel Saxon ever wrote. The book is a work of fiction but describes a real community.

I want a copy!{click here}

Lyle Saxon’s historical Novel Children of Strangers available online from the Bindery at Melrose Plantation

Melrose Plantation Big House

A Servant Girl Who Became a Famous Artist Wednesday, Apr 4 2012 

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

Clementine Hunter  (pronounced Clementeen)

Possibly Louisiana’s most famous artist, Clementine Hunter, was born in 1886 at Hidden Hill Plantation. At the age of fifteen, Clementine and her father moved to the financially successful Melrose Plantation. Melrose had been acquired in 1898 by John and Carmelite (“Miss Cammie”) Henry. Miss Cammie turned Melrose into an artist colony that was a haven where artists and writers came to live and work. Clementine worked in the cotton fields and the pecan orchards.  When she was middle-aged, Miss Cammie brought Clementine into the Big House to cook and clean. Here she met a New Orleans artist, Alberta Kinsey, who inspired Clementine to paint. With no formal training, she produced colorful and from memory paintings. She depicted every day life on Melrose Plantation. In 1939, Francois Mignon arrived at Melrose.  Mignon  began a life-long encouragement and promotion of Clementine Hunter. Today the story of the servant girl who became a famous artist is known around the world.

Clementines’ paintings are:

  • recognized as a narrative of plantation life during the time before grueling labor in the fields was replaced by mechanization. 
  • considered the works of one the most important self-taught American artists of the 20th century.
  • shown at the Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of American Folk Art and countless other museums and private collections around the world.

Clementine Hunter died on January 1, 1988 at the age of 101


Recognitions:

  • She was the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Delgado Museum (now the New Orleans Museum of Art)  achieved a significant amount of success during her lifetime, including 
  • an invitation to the White House from U.S. President Jimmy Carter (which she declined).
  • Radcliffe College included Hunter in its “Black Women Oral History Project, published in 1980.
  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana granted her an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1986.
One of the more well-known displays of Hunter’s artwork is located in a storage building called “African House” on the grounds of Melrose Plantation. (African House is often referred to as slave quarters, however the building was built for, and always used for storage.) The walls are covered in a mural Hunter painted.
Visit Melrose Plantation and see examples of Clementine’s art, including the murals in the African House.

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Melrose Plantation Big House

Please take note of change in Melrose Festival dates for 2012.

Sat. April 21 and Sun. April 22, 2012.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival Vendor Information. 

Begun in 1941 and chartered as a non-profit organization in 1944, the APHN is a volunteer organization. At present, APHN operates two historic properties: Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House. The organization provides educational opportunities to children and adults through the Children’s Walking Tour of Natchitoches, the Fall Tour of Historic Homes and daily 12pm-4pm (closed on Mondays)  guided tours of Melrose Plantation, which includes the Big House, Yucca House and the African House. 

     Customer Service Information:
                                       email: info@aphnatchitoches.net
Phone: 318-379-0055

Explore, Experience, and Enjoy Natchitoches Parish Sunday, Apr 1 2012 

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

NATCHITOCHES, LA – The 38th Annual Melrose Plantation Arts & Crafts Festival will be presented Saturday and Sunday, April 21 & 22, 2012.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

Artists and craftsmen from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and as far as New Mexico and Illinois will be displaying handcrafted work on the beautiful grounds of historic Melrose plantation, located 18 miles south of Natchitoches. The festival is one of the largest arts & crafts shows held in Louisiana. Painting, drawing, whimsical portraiture, photography, unique pottery, clothing, furniture, candles and fragrances, whistles, clocks and pens, preserves and relishes, as well as objects made for home and garden of metal, wood, cloth, wire and  glass, meat pies and other regional foods will be available.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children under 12 years of age. In addition to the festival, guided tours of the Main House and African House will be available for $5.00.

Melrose plantation is a unique complex designated as a National Historic Landmark. The original colonial residence, Yucca House, was built in 1796. The Big House was for many years the residence of Cammie Henry who offered accommodations and a working environment for artists and writers.

Vendor applications are still being accepted. Vendor inquiries call Susan Davidson at (318) 379-0800 or email carriedavidson@hughes.net.  Applications are also available online at http://www.aphnatchitoches.net/. The event is sponsored by The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches.

 

Gift Shop/ Bindery

Every Day Is An Opportunity For A New Discovery At Melrose Wednesday, Mar 21 2012 

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

Guest Blogger, Adam Foreman, Executive Director, APHN

New Discoveries in the Collection at Melrose

Recently there have been several new discoveries centering on the Clementine Hunter Collection at Melrose. It all began with the stove in the Clementine Hunter house located on the Melrose Property. I do not know when the home was moved to the Melrose property however according to Tommy Whitehead, Clementine Hunter moved from the home in 1977.

For the last 35 years, items have remained in the stove undiscovered and unexplored. When I discovered these items in late February I quickly contacted Dustin Fuqua with the National Park Service to assist me with an assessment, inventory, and documentation of these [no longer hidden pieces of our collection.

What we found was truly amazing. We found items dated between 1972 and 1977. Two of the neatest items were an Avon product box and a St. Augustine Church raffle ticket from October 7& 8 1972. Several other paper documents including a receipt from Roques auto garage, newspaper sections, a Natchitoches Parish water bill, and even an empty pack of Pall Mall cigarettes (According to Tommy Whitehead, Clementine did not smoke but her daughter did.)

Also were various bone fragments possibly from beef and pork ribs and chicken bone fragments. We also found carbonized wood and a large amount of construction nails.
The second big discovery is more of a “re-discovery”. While inspecting broken glass doors in the Melrose Library I uncovered a large blue binder with a full inventory of items received by APHN from the Hunter family after her death. Once this re-discovery was fully realized, I began attempting to identify and find the items listed. One such item was an “artist box”. When I found this box and opened it- I was amazed to see Clementine’s paints and brushes still inside. With the help of supplies from Dustin and the National Park Service, I was able to identify and inventory the contents of the Artist box.

Every day is an opportunity for a new discovery at Melrose. The large blue binder has nearly 300 sheets of paper, so this project has just begun.

Thanks,

Adam Foreman
Executive Director, APHN

See Photos

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OUR PAST IS A WONDER-FILLED PRESENT FOR YOU Thursday, Feb 16 2012 

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Bindery/ Giftshop at Melrose Plantation

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

Our preservation of Melrose Plantation and its stories is to make it available to you as a wonder-filled present. Make your plans today for you and your group to visit Melrose Plantation. There is no history more intriguing and no time like the present  for a delightful excursion

Plan a Tour of the Melrose Historic Home and Out-Buildings of the Metoyer “Gens de Colour Libre”.
                     See
Miss Cammie Henry’s collection of hand woven pieces.  Visit the Clementine Hunter Murals in the African  House. Enjoy the lovely Gardens Take photos at the almost 400 year old Live Oak Tree. Shop in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

For more information or to schedule a Group Tour please call: 318-379-0055

Your Giving, Volunteering and Support Make a Difference Sunday, Jan 22 2012 

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

Recently. officers of APHN and board members met with the architect and contractor to do a walk-through of the Yucca House at Melrose Plantation. A major project is nearing its completed state. It included restoration of the structure, which was sinking, and to repair and paint surfaces that needed attention. What would happen to these enchanting and historic structures without your help? They would sink into the ground and disappear. Thanks to you and your preservation efforts, this will not happen.

Somehow I think Miss Cammie, Lyle Saxon, Francois Mignon, Clementine Hunter,  Marie Terese “Coin-Coin” and the Metoyer family would thank you as well.

YOUR GIVING AND SUPPORT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Pictured below is Arleen Mayeaux, First Vice President of APHN.

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Yucca House, Melrose Plantation

Below center, Adam Foreman, (arms crossed) Executive Director of APHN.

 

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