From North-South-East-West, Visitors Discover History in Visiting MELROSE in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana Saturday, Aug 20 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

The Louis Metoyer Plantation, now known as Melrose Plantation, is a 215 year-old cotton and pecan plantation. Located on the banks of the scenic Cane River Lake in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, is is a delight for visitors from the North, South, East, amd west as well as many other countries outside the United States.

The African House at Melrose Plantation


The plantation has nine standing historic buildings, three of which are of significant. The oldest of these is Yucca House, built after 1810. This French Creole cottage had many uses including serving as a nursery and hospital for enslaved workers. The second building, the Mushroom House, now commonly called the African House, was constructed about 1820. Many have speculated that it was built to resemble traditional African homes, however architectural scholars point out that its design is derived from French barns of that period. Finally there is the big house, which was completed in 1833. This bousillage (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss and deer hair) building has been remodelled numerous times and has several additions, including two distinctive hexagonal towers, known as garçoniéres, flanking the front gallery.

Louis Metoyer was given the land in a grant by the Spanish government in 1796. Louis was the second son of Claude Thomas Pierre Métoyer, a French military officer who was assigned duty at Fort Ste Jean Baptiste in Natchitoches, and Marie Thérèse Coincoin, an African slave owned by Metoyer and later freed by him. He and his descendents built and managed a plantation here until 1847, when it was sold to the Hertzogs, the family that owned neighbouring Magnolia Plantation. The Hertzog brothers named the place The Plantation of the Brothers Henry and Hypolite Hertzog.

 Joseph Henry later acquired the land in 1898 and renamed the place Melrose Plantation. He lived primarily at another plantation further south and resided at Melroseduring the harvest. He died soon after purchasing the property and the plantation was passed on to his son, John Hampton Henry, and his daughter-in-law, Cammie Garrett Henry. Miss Cammie, as she was known, was a college-educated woman who was fond of culture and society. She started an art colony at the plantation that became one of the most popular in the South, entertaining such famous names as Lyle Saxon and William Spratling.  

 During the Cammie Henry era, internationally known artist Clementine Hunter got her start at Melrose, where she worked as a cook and painted in her spare time. She  became the first African American to have a solo exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her work depicts daily life in the rural South prior to the mechanization of agriculture. Melrose Plantation is one of about 2,430 places in America to have the designation “National Historic Landmark”.

 However, the life and work of Clementine Hunter is significant enough that Melrose has earned the National Trust for Historic Preservation designation as an Historic Artist’s Home and Studio. Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios is a consortium of 30 of America’s most significant artists’ spaces that are open to the public and serve over 600,000 visitors each year.

 In 1971, the plantation was given to the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN). The APHN, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the property and buildings and opens the house for public tours.

 NOTE: The name Yucca Plantation was thought to have been the original name given to the place by the Metoyers. However, recent scholarship shows that the name originated with the 1937 publication of Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers, a novel based on observations made while living at Melrose Plantation. As a work of fiction, it used fictional place names and surnames in place of the true names. “Melrose” was renamed “Yucca” and the “Henry” family was renamed the “Randolph” family.

SOURCE: APHN Draft Copy for Melrose History. This is a living document that will be revised and expanded as new information is discovered. APHN welcomes your comments or historical information on the subject.

Yucca. Melrose


For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only) or go to the APHN website


Yucca Plantation, Now Known As Melrose In Natchitoches, Louisiana Wednesday, Oct 13 2010 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for APHN

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

Melrose , a 200-year old cotton and pecan plantation located on the banks of the lower Cane River in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, was once known as the Yucca Plantation.  Tour the Melrose Plantation and see nine historic buildings.

The oldest of these is Yucca House, built between 1796 and 1814. This French Creole cottage served as the first big house for the plantation.




A second building is the African House, which can be dated sometime between 1800 and 1830.  Some speculate that it was built to resemble traditional African homes. Others have concluded that its inspiration comes from French barns.


African House


The current Big House, which was completed in 1833 employed the use of bousillage (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss and deer hair). The building has been remodeled numerous times and has several additions, including two distinctive hexagonal towers, known as garçoniéres, flanking the front gallery for adolescent boys.


Melrose Plantation, 1833

Big House, Melrose Plantation


For more information click {here}

or Call (318) 379-0055

(Bus Tours by reservation only)