This Place Matters! Visit, Preserve, Protect It for Future Generations Monday, Feb 18 2013 

Francois Mignon

Francois Mignon

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

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

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Cammie" Garrett Henry (1871-1948) of Melrose, Louisiana

Cammie” Garrett Henry (1871-1948) of Melrose, Louisiana

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Melrose Plantation, 1833

Big House, Melrose Plantation

Yucca. Melrose

Yucca. Melrose

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

Melrose Hours of Operation:

Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday: Closed

 

 Tours of the Historic House begin at the Melrose Bindery Every 15 minutes past the Hour (First Tour: 10:15, Last Tour begins at 4:15)

 Gift Shop closes at 5pm

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Admission Prices:

 GUIDED HOUSE TOUR

Adults $10.00

*Students (6-17 or with University ID) $5.00

 

 GROUNDS ONLY TOUR (does not include house tour)

Adults $5.00

*Students $ 3.00

 

 GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE (by reservation)

Adult Group: $10.00

Tour Operator Group: $8.00

*Student Group: $5.00

*(Now includes University students)
Contact Information: 318-379-0055 or info@melroseplantation.org 

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

image_bindery_melrose_photos_rs

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

Clementine Hunter of Melrose Plantation and Her Wig Tuesday, Dec 6 2011 

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

Lyle Saxon, a frequent visitor to Melrose Plantation from 1923 until his death, tells of an interesting incident concerning Clementine Hunter. Chance  Harvey,  in her  excellent read-every  word  (and  enjoy)  book,  The Life  and  Selected  Letters  of  Lyle  Saxon  records  his account of Clementine and her wig.

According to Saxon, Clementine was jealous of the wig he had bought Victoria, another cook at Melrose Plantation. Clementine had owned a wig but it came to an unfortunate end when her husband, Manuel, snatched it from her head and flung it into the fire one night after she had sent him into a rage.

Saxon wrote of the incident and the fact it “may not seem like an international episode to you, but on the plantation it almost caused a revolution”.

Mr. Henry (Cammie’s husband), bought Clemance (Clementine) another wig, it too eventually disappeared.

When Victoria, wearing her wig, fell out of a swing and died of a concussion, she was laid to rest at a funeral that Cammie Henry and Lyle Saxon attended. Saxon concludes his chapter with a remark made by Cammie Henry:

“I wish I could open that coffin. I would like to look at Victoria once more. I am sure Clemance has stolen her wig”.

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Visit historic Melrose Plantation and tour the site where Clementine lived and painted. See the impressive mural she painted in the African House.

Go here for more information [           ]

African House, Melrose

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

I Should Have Bought Two While I was At Melrose Tuesday, Oct 11 2011 

Chance Harvey Chats With "Lyle Saxon" At Melrose

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association For The Preservation Of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Sunday, October 9, 2011 was a remarkable day at Melrose Plantation (owned and operated by APHN). What made it a special day was the Fall Tour of Homes and delightful guests coming to revel in the sights and saga of this French Creole Plantation. Something extra was added however, or as we say in Louisiana there was laigniappe (something extra given to a customer).

The something extra was Chance Harvey, (click here for another post about Harvey)  author of “The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon”. What can I say about Chance, besides the fact she is a delightful person. Lets just deal with the problem first. How was I to know that I should have bought two copies of her book. She autographed our copy:

“for Barbara and Doyle-for the love of the Cane River Country, best,              Chance”.

The problem began when we both started the book and neither one of us wanted to share (very adult conduct). There are two book marks in the book. Here is where the problem lies:

  • the book is the first full biography of the legendary writer, Lyle Saxon, known as Mr. Louisiana and Mr. New Orleans. He spent years at Melrose Plantation in his solitary cabin.
  • Lyle Saxon was a writer of imminent skills, even though he demeaned his writing skills.  He could only be pleased that his biographer is a skilled communicator as well. Scholarly, well-researched and most readable, Chance breaks new ground and answer questions about Saxon I have not found elsewhere. (eg. where he was born).

I have always thought he looked sad in his photographs.   In speaking of his letters, Harvey writes that “they reveal the images of Saxon as a Southern  gentleman, genial host, and raconteur were self-created ones, designed to disguise his deep sense of alienation.”  

We will work out our little problem (buy another book, accede to my wife’s desire to read it first, or catch her sleeping and slink off with it).

Dr. Chance Harvey received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Millsaps, Duke, and Tulane respectively.

It is a good day when you can visit Melrose Plantation, make a new friend and discover a remarkable book.

The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon by Chance Harvey

Visit and tour Melrose Plantation and you can purchase the book at the gift shop. Unless you are single, you might want to get two copies.

MELROSE PLANTATION BIG HOUSE 1833

Melrose began life as The Louis Metoyer Plantation in 1796 and was named Melrose in 1884 when Joseph Henry bought the plantation. It is one of the first and is one of the best surviving examples of a Creole plantation built by former enslaved persons known as “free people of color.” There are out- buildings from the late 1700’s, one of which houses the 1955 murals painted by the internationally known African-American Folk Artist, Clementine Hunter, who lived and worked at Melrose.

For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only)

                                                                                                                                             

Tour Melrose Plantation, Meet Chance Harvey, Get Your Signed Copy of “The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon” Wednesday, Aug 31 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Make your Fall Tour of Homes Complete. Come to Melrose Plantation and meet Chance Harvey, author of The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon. Get your copy signed by the author.

Book Signing at Melrose Plantation   

On Sunday, October 9, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.mChance Harvey, who wrote the Foreword to the latest edition of Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers (1937) published this fall by Pelican, will be on hand to sign her work at the Bookstore of Melrose Plantation. Saxon’s novel, written when the author lived in Yucca House as a guest of Cammie Garrett Henry, vividly depicts the Louisiana Cane River plantation community in the early 1900s. Chance Harvey is the author of The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon (Pelican, 2003) and teaches in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University.

When you tour Melrose, remember to visit our Book Store and Gift Shop.

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 Fall and Christmas decorations.
*Shop
 in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only)

MELROSE PLANTATION BIG HOUSE 1833

Francois Mignon Describes Yucca, The Original Dwelling on Melrose Plantation Wednesday, Jun 22 2011 

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

Tom Whitehead made available to us a description of Melrose Plantation in Francois Mignon’s own words. Tom is our “ferret”, for his ability to search persistently and discover amazing facts, and make them available to all of us. He is a true steward of history and cultural preservation. Here is the first of several posts describing Yucca in Francois Mignon”s own words:

“The original dwelling on Melrose -then styled Yucca, representing an original Cane River structure of the early period was built, probably, around 1790. The walls were, and still are, of earth, mixed with deer hair originally, and in later years, (deer running short) moss was substituted.

The house comprises four rooms. The first is the bath, the second, hidden by banana stalks, is the bed rooom and work room. The third door opens into the living room. The forth gives on another bedroom.

The chimneys are large, with openings on both sides, so that they may serve all four rooms.

From about 1790 to 1833, this was the residence of the Metoyers. In the latter year, the big house, built to the same lines but a story higher, was buiolt for the son of Augustin Metoyer,-Louis. From 1833, this original home was used as a slave hospital,down through 1864, and following the war housed servants of the plantation. In the late 1920’s it was put back in order, and subsequently and occupied by Lyle Saxon, etc.

The furnishings of the bedroom are the most interesting in the house. An eight-foot grandfather’s clock embraces a combination of European and American handiwork. The works and weights, the face and hands were imported from France. The case was made, probably by a slave carpenter on Cane River. The clock strikes the half hour once and the full hour twice,- the latter time-telling indicated by the hour being struck one minute, as a repeat, following the first recording of the hour.

An old Spanish wrought-iron safe is another interesting item. The great nail heads or bolt heads,-there are dozens of them covering the thing, are so contrived that six of them, if properly fiddled with, will open the safe automatically. It makes a sturdy stand for the Reading Machine. A duplicate of this safe is in Jefferson College at Washington Mississippi., having also come down from the Spanish when Natchez was the seat of the provincial government of Spain in Mississippi.

Yucca. Melrose

MELROSE PLANTATION BIG HOUSE 1833

 
Melrose began life as The Louis Metoyer Plantation in 1796 and was named Melrose in 1884 when Joseph Henry bought the plantation. It is one of the first and is one of the best surviving examples of a Creole plantation built by former enslaved persons known as “free people of color.” There are out- buildings from the late 1700’s, one of which houses the 1955 murals painted by the internationally known African-American Folk Artist, Clementine Hunter, who lived and worked at Melrose. For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only)