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


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



Admission Prices:


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 

Fire Breaks Out in Natchitoches and Breaks Hearts of Many Residents Sunday, Jun 24 2012 

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.




Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival, April 21-22, 2012 Monday, Apr 23 2012 

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Shoppers at the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

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.


Adam Foreman
Executive Director, APHN

See Photos


Jazz Brunch, Silent Auction at Melrose Plantation. Get a Table for Your Group Tuesday, Mar 20 2012 

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


Make your reservations today for a table for your Company, Family, friends group or Sunday School Class. Couples and individuals are invited. Surprise someone special with a special gift.This is an event no one will want to miss.

                                       Customer Service Information:
                                        Phone: 318-379-0055


__PHN. Can I get A Vowel? Is There An “A”? There Is One! Saturday, Feb 25 2012 

ImageAPHN. I want to solve the puzzle. “Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches‘. If that is what you said, you got it right. If you are a member, you are already a winner. If you are not a member, join this vital preservation organization and get involved in a stewardship that will help to preserve historical treasures for future generations to enjoy. Wouldn’t you like to leave a legacy of a better Natchitoches than the one you first discovered?  {Go here for more information}.

Posted by Doyle Bailey for the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches



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”.
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

Do You Need to Destroy the Old to Build the New? Tuesday, Jan 17 2012 

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

Building the New Does Not Have to Destroy the Old. Mike Vance makes this point succinctly in his editorial of Sunday, January 15, 2012 in the Houston Chronicle. Vance reports that it is frequently said in his city “Houston has no history. We tear it all down.”

Fortunately, this is not the case. He cites the following examples:

  • a 1930 vintage White Castle, the city’s oldest known fast-food restaurant, was given a landmark designation.
  • 40 years ago an entire industrial planned community, containing hundreds of structures, was turned into a historic district.
  • in 2011, that district, The Pullman, was named one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods by the American Planning Association.
Good for you Houston. Keep up the good work of preservation.
In Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, there are also enough people who have realized through the years that building the new did not mean destroying the old. They saw the value of both. May their tribe increase!
The Historic District in the City of Natchitoches, oldest permanent settlement in the Louisisna Purchase Territory (even older than New Orleans), and the Historic District in the Parish are evidence that preservation is regarded as vital.
What does having a Preservationist mind-set involve?
  • be willing to pay the price for preserving something precious for all to enjoy now and protecting the patrimony of future generations
  • support ordinances and legislation that preserve sites, including the endangered Cane River Lake. Exposed duct work and replica signage are a far cry from centuries-old brick work and patenated cypress.
  • know that property values are enhanced with preservation projects. 

In summary, when 80 year old houses are converted into law offices that preserve the integrity of the structure, you find what I call a “good lawyer”. Imagine! When an old gas station is converted into a restaurant that is in the character of a historic district, it is a “good restaurant”.

For the residents of Houston and Natchitoches I will say: Lets build on our successes, learn from our failures, build the new and beautiful, preserve the old and remember the stories that go with places that have been here a while.

The African House, Melrose Plantation

New Shops and Condos on Front Street, Natchitoches in site of old Nakatosh Hotel

The City of Natchitoches will celebrate the Tri-Centennial Year of its founding in 2014. Watch for special events on this blog site.

Alexis E. Lemee of Natchitoches. Prominent and Honored Citizen. Wednesday, May 18 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Carrie Campbell Butler writes with pride and affection about her great Uncle, Alexis E. Lemee, “receiver of the land office of Natchitoches, Louisiana…(and) a prominent and honored citizen of that place, and fully (who) deserves the respect and esteem which he commands from all classes.”

Alexis E. Lemee:

  • was born in the city in which he now resides on February 18, 1843, and has grown up among the people (Natchitoches), respected by all.
  • His parents were Alexis and Eugenia (De Lamaliere) Lemee. They were born on the island of San Domingo, 1801 and Baltimore, Md. respectively.
  • They were married in Baltimore about 1830 and soon afterward moved to New Orleans and then to Natchitoches, where Mr. Lemee spent the rest of his life.
  • After locating in Natchitoches, the father spent many years as a cashier of the Union Bank of New Orleans. He died in 1852.
  • Alexis Lemee, was the 10th. of 11 children.
  • Alexis Lemee enrolled in Georgetown College, Washington D. C. when he was approximately 24 years old.
  • He left after three years and entered the army. He was mustered into Company G., La. Regiment as a Sargent under Company Commander Captain Octave Metayer (Metoyer?).
  • Alexis participated in the battles of Chikasaw Bayou, Vicksburg and other engagements.
  • He was captured and paroled. 24 hours later (he) returned home.
  • In 1866, he was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court of Natchitoches until 1870.
  • Three years later he was mayor.
  • After serving  one year, he was appointed by President Grant, Receiver of the U. S. Land Office in Natchitoches from 1876 to 1884.
  • In April 1870, he married Desiree Morse, who was born in Natchitoches April 1844.
  • The Lemees had six children. Mr. Lemee was a Catholic and a Democrat.

    The Lemee House, Headquarters for APHN

The Lemee House was built by Joseph Soldini in 1837 and designed by his partner, Italian architect Athaneze Trizzini. Trizzini’s family lived in the Lemee House until it was sold to the Union Bank of New Orleans for use as its Natchitoches branch. Alex Lemee was sent to manage the branch. However, in 1849 he decided to purchase the house as his residence.

The house changed hands frequently during the next century. In 1940 a  Historic Homes Survey committee was sent to Natchitoches. An architect on the committee was interested in buying the structure.This prompted some women of Natchitoches to prevail upon the City Council to buy the house for the City. With ownership by the City, the women promised to restore the house, furnish it, and use it as a Women’s Club House. All this was done by the women (“Steel Magnolias” have been in Natchitoches for some time now). The Lemee House is now the headquarters of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches .(APHN). and is open to the public for tours and events.

I would like to think the Lemee Family would be proud of how their house is being used today to help preserve the culture and traditions of Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory.

Fall Tour at the Lemee House

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches Seeks Executive Director Tuesday, May 10 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

Executive Director for Historic Preservation organization which manages a plantation and provides educational programs.    Organizational Development and Fundraising skills required. For full Job Description click here.

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHNThe Lemee House, Headquarters for APHN


“Celebrating America’s Treasures”The National Trust for Historic Preservation has declared May National Preservation Month and this year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures.” Throughout our nation’s communities there are significant places that have contributed to our American experience. To preserve these irreplaceable and tangible reminders of our roots in Natchitoches Parish, APHN and other preservation organizations need your support. Though the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival, you empower APHN in its work to preserve Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House for the enjoyment of future generations. Go to the APHN website, to fill out the membership application form and join APHN in “Celebrating America’s Treasures”. These places matter and so do you.


Plan a Tour of the Melrose Historic Home and Out-Buildings of the Metoyer “Gens de Colour Libre”.
Miss Cammie Henry’s collection of hand woven pieces.
the Clementine Hunter Murals in the African House.
the lovely Fall and Christmas decorations.
in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

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