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The house known as Maison Chenal is one of a collection of Louisiana vernacular buildings saved from demolition, moved to this site, and restored by Pat and Jack Holden. Almost all of the structures are easily visible from the road. The first structure the Holden’s acquired, in 1975, was a raised Creole cottage, which was restored to serve as their residence; it was originally located beside False River eleven miles from its present site. Construction techniques and nail analysis indicate a date before 1790 for the core of the house, but its exterior appearance suggests a date of c. 1820, and the restoration has adhered to that era. A characteristic of Creole cottages is their asymmetry in room layout and façade elevation. The off-center chimney indicates the division of the two front rooms, with the larger, the parlor, on the left. Other deviations from symmetry are the unequal spacing of the gallery posts and the off-center staircase rising to a six-bay gallery. These irregularities give the façade a special animation. The house has a double-pitched hipped roof over a Norman truss. The ground-level floor, possibly lower when first built, has been remodeled for family use; a staircase was added in one of the cabinets flanking the rear loggia. The windows are the original single large casements. Exterior and interior colors have been restored to the colors found under later layers of paint.
Several outbuildings have been added over the years, some from Cedar Bend Plantation in the Natchitoches area, whose culture was similar to that of Pointe Coupee. These structures include a square wooden pigeonnier, with a bousillage first- floor exterior sheathed in wood, a frame upper floor, and door jambs and lintel of beaded wood. Behind the main house are two dependencies, placed here in the same relationship to the house as they had at Cedar Bend. One was a kitchen building with cook room and laundry room which has a brick floor and open ceiling. Other dependency is a garconniere or servant’s house. Smaller structures include a privy, a chicken house, pens and coops for chickens and geese, and a barn which dates from the very early 19th century. To the right of Maison Chenal is
“A characteristic of Creole cottages is their asymmetry in room layout
and façade elevation.”
a small cottage transferred from nearby Riche Plantation.
Gardens have been re-created from extensive written and graphic evidence of nineteenth- century gardens. The front entry garden has been laid out in the French manner, with a parterre of lozenge-shaped beds divided by walkways, designed to be viewed from above. The rear garden includes vegetables as well as regional flowers and bushes, such as Cherokee roses and native azaleas. Pieux (upright post) fences enclose both the front and rear gardens.
Opposite Maison Chenal on the other side of the road are two other buildings the Holden’s have acquired. The smaller cottage of bousillage construction, with cabinets and a loggia behind the front rooms and a double-pitched gable-end roof. More intriguing is the enormous frame and bousillage structure known as the LaCour House, moved from its original site a few miles away. It resembles drawings (now in the National Archives, Paris) made in the 1720’s of the earliest buildings constructed in French Louisiana, such as the barracks. This structure has wide openings with segmental arches, which are similar to those at Madame John’s Legacy and the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans. The building’s date and purpose are unknown, although among the speculations is that it was a large house or a structure with the Pointe Coupee fort.
Backview showing enclosed end of gallery (cabinet)
and roof ladder for roof maintenance and fire prevention.

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