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:
                                       email: info@aphnatchitoches.net
                                        Phone: 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.


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


Yucca House, Melrose Plantation

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


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 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)

The Metoyers of Yucca (Melrose) Plantation In Natchitoches, Louisiana Tuesday, Nov 9 2010 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)


Along one area of Cane River, a long ridge bordered by several streams and streamlets, there developed a particular concentration –Isle Brevelle. It evolved into a small rural France. The Creole people of Isle Brevelle grew crops and served one another as artisans, shoemakers, woodworkers, incomparable cooks and farmers. A few families rose among their fellows- the Metoyers, the Roques and the Silves. Harnet T. Lane in Plantation Parade, states:

“No name became more resplendent among its fellows than that of the Metoyers”.

The head man of Isle Brevelle was generally recognized as Augustin Metoyer–Grand-père.  Augustin was affectionately known as the “Big Father” of his community.


Along a turn in the river where the soil lay rich and thick, Grand-père chose a site for his house. It was a simple heavily timbered structure of brick and mud between posts with an overhanging roof.  In the 1830s, Augustin shifted the command of his properties to his son Louis Metoyer. A finer house was contructed that architects of a later generation would pronounce a minor masterpiece, admirable in style and material.

Kane describes this house in these terms:

¨It was a low structure, broad but close to the earth, the openings entirely free of ornament, a plain gallery railing at the upper level, the timbers uncovered at the ceilings-the whole built to last.¨

From the gallery rail the family could “catch the sheen of the waters through clumps of spiked Spanish daggers (an evergreen shrub). That vista gave the name to the plantation–Yucca. Yucca (now know as Melrose) was completed in 1833.” The family lived here in the peaceful seculsion of this harmonious setting. Augustine often received callers, lent his house to the missionaries for their services until he eventually decided to provide the church with a building on Isle Brevelle. It was in July of 1829 that Father Jean Baptiste Blanc dedicated this structure to the glory of his God.

Of all his numerous accomplishments, Grandpere appeared prouder of this act than of anything he had done. Today, a full length portrait of Augustin Metoyer hangs in the St. Augustin Catholic Church. This thriving and vibrant Catholic Church, while not the original structure, serves the Creole Community and others of Isle Brevelle today and is a lasting testimony to a most remarkable man.¨



For information about membership, events and tours, please e mail us: aphn41@yahoo.com

St. Augustin Catholic Church, Melrose


Melrose Plantation, 1833

Big House, Melrose Plantation

Cane River, Isle Brevelle

Cammie (Carmelite) Garret a Louisiana Phenomenon Monday, Nov 1 2010 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

You will more likely recognize Cammie (Carmelite) Garret as Cammie Henry. Harnett T. Kane in Plantation Parade, 1945, New York, refers to her as “a Louisiana phenomenon“.

Friends of John H. Henry may have warned him that if he married Cammie he would be getting a “pepper- pot, that horror among horrors, a female with opinions”. He kept asking and finally Cammie nodded her head.

Cammie, with her usual throughness:

  • fitted herself into her new job working with her husband living at one of the houses along the Cane River
  • filled the cradles and her scrapbooks (five children, some sources say seven,  and countless scrapbooks)
  • read voraciously, watched after her mother, Leudivine Erwin Garret, her husband and the babies

Now she experienced isolation. Even a trip to Natchitoches, the nearest town, was a day’s journey even in the best weather. Occasionally Cammie would pass old Yucca plantation and would frown over its decay. Yucca was John H. Henry’s most profitable holding. He was forced to make daily trips back and forth and was away from the family a lot. Finally Cammie told him this “absentee business”  would’t do. She meant to be where he was and that is exactly what she did.

An old memiorandum notes that “We came to live here (Yucca, later Melrose Plantation) on November 1, 1899”. The windows were broken, all was mildew and cobwebs. Cammie swept down mud-daubers nests, chased out pigeons and called for additional paint and lumber. Thus was begun a saga that would last for decades, the details of which must be the subject of subsequent posts about this Louisiana phenomenon of Melrose Plantation, Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Click {here} for APHN’s website and information about how you and your group can Tour Melrose Plantation.

Melrose Plantation, 1833

Big House, Melrose Plantation

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