Juanice Gray | Editor
The Natchitoches Historic Foundation (NHF) held a groundbreaking ceremony at Roque House on the downtown shore on Thursday, May 12. The NHF owns the historic house, one of the oldest and only bousillage structures in the country.
This French colonial cottage was built by a freed black slave named “Yves” but referred to as “Pascale”. in 1797. Constructed of bousillage (adobe) between angular, vertical posts, it represents the earliest form of what is now known in Louisiana as “Creole” architecture. Later, Aubin Roque and his last wife, Marie Philomene Metoyer, moved here from her father’s plantation, “Yucca”, now named Melrose. She was the daughter of the legendary Augustin Metoyer, “Free People of Color”, from the Lower Country of Canne. The house was moved to this site from its original location near Breville Island on Cane River in 1967 by Museum Contents, Inc.
After the 2016 flood, NHF and its partners realized the need to move the house, yet again, to better preserve and protect it. Partners include the Town of Natchitoches, Main Street, the Cane River Waterway Commission and others.
The project, which involves moving the house to face Cane River and adding additional structure, is expected to be near completion by the Christmas Festival according to DSW contractor David Mains. Mains said the home would be taken apart brick by brick and then rebuilt. He said the entire roof will be removed and then replaced once the frame of the house is turned.
The architect is Tipton and Associates of Baton Rouge. The design team includes Tipton Associates, CARBO Landscape Architecture, Edward Cazayoux of EnvironMental Design, and engineering consultants Fox-Nesbit and ADG. The steering committee for the Roque House renovation project is Ben Barron. Barron said there will be a wall around the house that will feature engraved granite stones to commemorate the history and the partners involved in the renovations.