Badin-Roque (post-site) Friday, Oct 9 2009 

Badin-Roque House frontal view

Badin-Roque House frontal view

Badin-Roque house was a much more modest site than Melrose, but more interesting to me. Our group was lucky to have Mr. (John) Oswald Colson

Mr. Oswald Colson explains history

Mr. Oswald Colson explains history

interpret the site for us. The rare poteaux-en-terre structure and a small raised creole cottage style kitchen sit on a small lot of land. There are houses on either side, and a working barn associated with the house that sits left (south?) of the structure is less than 20 meters from the property line.

I enjoyed Badin-Roque house. The state marker and kitchen building makes the site immediately identifiable from the roadway. The interpretive signage is straightforward and serves to draw the visitor in. I drove by Badin-Roque again late Friday afternoon, and it seemed so peaceful. I look forward to visiting it again.

Ft. St. Jean Baptiste (pre-site) Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

Ft. St. Jean Baptiste is a replica of an 18th Century fort located at 155 Rue Jefferson, Natchitoches, LA 71457. It is a State Historic Site, therefore operated by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of State Parks.

The CRT website gives detailed directions:  From I-49, head east on Hwy. 6 into Natchitoches. Hwy. 6 becomes  College Drive. Follow College Drive for approximately 2 miles and take a left onto rue Jefferson. The site will be on the right. GPS Coordinates: N 31 45.1436, W 93 5.2781. The facility is open 9-5 daily, except holidays and charges $2 per person (free for seniors and children).

The park can be reached at 318-357-3101 or 1-888-677-7853, or by email at

I consulted with the following websites:

Natchitoches Courthouse and Parish Tax Assessor (pre-site visit) Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

Preparing to visit the Natchitoches Courthouse, I drove by for a look. I also consulted the Clerk of Court’s website and the NPS website on the history of the building

The courthouse is located in the 200 block of Church Street in the Historical District of Natchitoches, a 25 minute walk down College and 2nd Streets to Church Street.

This courthouse is not to to be confused with the Old Courthouse (see previous entry) or the City Court at 314 Amulet Street.If you need to pay traffic tickets issued outside of city limits, skip both courthouses and make payment to the Sheriff.

The WPA Art Deco style building was commissioned by the Police Jury in the late 1930s and is owned by Natchitoches Parish. It is managed by the Parish Court;  Louie Bernard is Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court’s contact information is: 200 Church St # 104, Natchitoches – (318) 352-8152.  The District Judge also maintains an office at the Court. The judge’s contact is (318) 357-2209‎ or (318) 357-2210.

Little information is available online, but the Clerk of Court’s website is commendable for its functionality and easy of navigation. The NPS page is useful for an historical overview.

Based on FAQs from Clerk of Court, I expect to see, “court records, marriage records and land records date[ing] back to approximately 1732”.  Hopefully we’ll get a “crash course” in doing research there.

The Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor is also housed in the Courthouse. The Assessor sets tax valuations of properties, and keeps property tax a nd assessment records. Researchers can search Tax Assessor records by parcel number, owner’s name, section, township and range, or most conveniently, street address. The researcher can take one piece of information (such as street address) and get all other relevant information, allowing them to utilize Clerk of Court records.

The Assessor’s website was useful but should be updated. The FAQs were in the tiny left margin and ran into the footline, rendering the last FAQs unreadable.  This could be corrected by placing the FAQs in the center as content.

I expect that our class will get an introduction to doing research at the Assessor’s office.

NPN and CRNHP Curation Facility (post-visit) Friday, Oct 2 2009 


Dustin Fuqua explains that all of the the artifacts that Cane River Creole National Historical Park has recovered from the outbuildings at Magnolia and Oakland Plantation.

Artifacts include split oak baskets,  furniture, books, ledgers and store records, and farm implements spanning the entire plantation era.  Many of the artifacts were locally made, including many vernacular tools. The park also stores original signage from which they make copies.

Dusty explains

Dusty explains

Before joining the collection, items small enough to fit in a chest freezer are frozen, thawed and frozen again to kill insects. Some items that have been in moist/humid conditions are “stepped down” to the lower humidity in the facility by placing them in a plantation barn first.  Wearing protective gear (PPEs) is important while  collecting materials and vacuuming in place.
Mr. Fuqua does a lot of conservation, stabilizing, and labeling.
The facility uses museum quality archival materials: ethafoam, acid free tissue, tyvek, mylar film, acid-free matboards, archive boxes and chloroplast boxes.

Dusty conserves items using the “preservation of wear” philosophy, and the museum focuses on the end of the plantation era.  He follows the techniques and procedures outlined in the National Parks Service Concerve-o-gram series, but when a job is too big, the artifact must be sent to a conservator (as is the case with the Oakland main house collection).  Mr. Fuqua hopes to be able to place most of the items back in the plantation setting on display for the public to see.

Podcastn at Curation Facility 003Jeff Guin of the Natchitoches Preservation Network, met our cohort at the Curation Facility. He explained that he is also the public information officer at NCPTT.

Crash course is a figure of speech;  Mr. Guin emphasized respecting the curation facility and park staff. We learned about a variety of resources, technologies, and tools (Mac labs in the Journalism department, garage band for Macs, audacity for PCs, HD cameras for video and photos, and the Zoom H2 digital recorder for podcasting). We were given “story boards” to organize our segments, and given pointers on how to brainstorm and conduct an interview.

After a short presentation, we began shooting videos and podcasts. We focused on items in the curation facility and methods in the conservation lab. My podcast group interviewed Dean Barnes and Rodney Meziere, second year MAHR students working in the lab.

Our class will finalize our podcast and video sometime later in the semester. It should be available online.

Megan O'Neal hosts a podcast

Megan O'Neal hosts a podcast

Podcastn at Curation Facility 005

Badin-Roque House (pre-site visit) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

The Badin-Roque House is a rare example of post-in-ground construction built on flat land. It is about 16 miles (29 minutes) south-southeast of Natchitoches, off Highway 484 ( ). It is on the west bank of the Cane River.

St. Augustine Historical Society purchased the house in 1979, and restoration began in 1999. The house is open to the public by appointment with the Creole Heritage Center at 318-357-6685.

Online sources were easy to find (see links below) and of good quality. There was less information than I expected for such a rare example of the construction type.

I have high expectations of the house and interpretation, based on the video. I do have a question: does bousillage include horse hair (as per NPS website), or not?

Historic Markers

MAHR Heritage Ed Day

Our cohort also watched the video and had a brief discussion of the MAHR Heritage Day.

Maps & Architecture

HABS Cross-Section

Melrose Plantation (pre-site visit) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

Melrose plantation (also known as Yucca Plantation) is 16.8 miles South Southeast of NSU Campus, at the junction of Highway 119 and 493 in Melrose on the east bank of the Cane River.

It is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (318-379-0055 )  and is open noon until 4 PM Tue-Sun.

APHN’s website located at is not functioning. Aside from that, information was freely available online, but occasionally contradictory. Why is the place interpreted as the home of Marie Therese Coincoin? Why (and how) is that interpretation contested?

I expect to hear more about Coincoin, the Hertzogs, Cammie Henry and perhaps Clementine Hunter. I expect to hear the histories of the structures. I hope to hear about construction methods and something on the owners’ plans for the Kate Chopin (Alexis Cloutier) House.

The following web pages were easy to find and yielded useful information:

Note that Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana is not to be confused with in Virginia or in Adams County Mississippi.

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