Juanice Gray | Editor
The Natchitoches Historic Foundation (NHF) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the Roque House on the downtown riverbank Thursday, May 12. NHF owns the historic home, 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 called “Pascale”. in 1797. Constructed of bousillage (adobe) between angular and upright 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 fathers plantation, “Yucca”, now named Melrose. She was the daughter of the legendary Augustine Metoyer, “Gens de Couleur Libres”, of the lower Cane River Country. The house was moved to this site from its original location near Isle Breville on Cane River in 1967 by Museum Contents, Inc.
After the 2016 flood, NHF and its partners realized the need to move the home, yet again, to better preserve and protect it. Partners include the City of Natchitoches, Main Street, Cane River Waterway Commission and others.
The project, consisting of moving the house to face Cane River and adding an additional structure, is expected to be substantially complete by the Christmas Festival according to contractor David Mains with DSW. Mains said the fireplace will be disassembled brick by brick then rebuilt. He said the entire roof will be removed then replace once the house frame 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 partners involved in the renovations.