Hand-Hewn Cypress Beams


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Point Houmas Cypress BeamOne of the structural characteristics of Point Houmas plantation that caught my eye during my visit a few months back was the massive hand-hewn cypress support beams that rested on top of the brick piers under the house. The beams were about 16″ on each side, as wide as the brick piers. You can see the original ax marks in one of the beams above, a testament to the age of the cypress and the house. As the old saying goes, “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.” I’ve written about cypress and it’s relationship with vernacular Louisiana architecture before, but here’s a quick refresher on why it was such an important building material:

“Some cypress trees were over 160 feet tall and lived up to 3,000+ years. The odorless wood of bald cypress has long been valued for its water resistance, thus is called ‘wood eternal’. Still-usable prehistoric wood is often found in swamps. What makes cypress so rot resistant is an oil called cypressene located in the heartwood.  Old growth contains the highest concentration of cypressene. The heartwood is extremely rot and termite resistant. The heartwood contains a sesquiterpene called cypressene, which acts as a natural preservative. It takes decades for cypressene to accumulate in the wood, so lumber taken from old-growth trees is more rot resistant than that from second-growth trees.

Bald Cypress wood was the perfect construction material for south Louisiana for 3 reasons:

1) It was virtually rot resistant. If kept either wholly above or wholly below ground – if half in or half out, it will rot very quickly, however.

2) Cypress kept termites out (people would augment it by sprinkling crushed lime around the house)

3) It was found in abundance.”

In fact, old growth bald cypress trees were so large prior to the 1920s and especially in antebelleum Louisiana, when they were felled, master-builders and slaves had to dig a trench under the main portion of the trunk in order to carve the tree into a suitable cypress. It was so much easier to carve the tree where it lay than try and haul it to another site.

Point Houmas plantation takes many of its architectural details from the traditional Creole cottage style: it’s raised several feet off the ground on piers; generous galleries set beneath its spreading roofline; one range of rooms paralleled by a front gallery; and of course, the use of hand-cut cypress as a building material. Given the size of the beams and the structure, Point Houmas is incredibly unique and distinct within the Creole architectural lineage.


Oysters Bienville


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Oyster Bienville App

This dish was originally invented at Antoine’s in New Orleans many, many years ago. Normally, the oysters are served in their shells, but Chef Troy decided to change it up a little and serve them on toast last weekend at The Cabin. Enjoy!


  • 1 bunch shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 dozen oysters & lacour (oyster juice). (Chop 5-6 of them)
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 box Melba Toast
Sauté the chopped shallots and celery in the butter until slightly translucent. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan.
Add the heavy cream and reduce over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the Parmesan, Oyster lacour, and bread crumbs. Stir together for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped oysters.
On a baking sheet, place the rest of the oysters on the Melba Toast, 1 oyster to one toast. Top with Bienville mixture, sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, and toast until Melba Toast is crispy enough for your liking, about 2 minutes. Serve!

Looking for Local Louisiana Artisans/Entrepreneurs


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Leblanc HouseI’ve done several profiles on our shops in The Cajun Village, and even a few blogs on our other buildings in the Village that have no one to call them “home.” Some of those “other” buildings have plenty of history of their own, but they lack a local Louisiana artist, entrepreneur, or businessman as well as a business to form them into a successful business enterprise. So this post is a shout out to all of y’all in hopes that you may know the perfect to set up shop in one of our vacant boutique shops here in The Cajun Village. Please give us a call (225-473-3007 ext. 4), send us an email, or comment on this post if you or someone you know are interested in starting a brand new business at The Cajun Village!

Firehouse Gallery & Photo Museum– Firehouse Gallery & Photo Museum: The Firehouse Gallery & Photo Museum has functioned as an art gallery and history museum in the past. Cajun Village visitors are drawn to the building by the antique fire truck parked under overhang. A great shop for a history lover and local Louisiana entrepreneur!


Leblanc House– Leblanc House: Circa 1900, the Leblanc House is originally from Gonzales. The rear of the building faces Hwy. 22.  Great for signage and advertising your business to passersby!




Gator House– Gator House: The Gator House, also known as Quarter House, was built c. 1820 in Union, LA, just downriver from The Cajun Village. It is adjacent to the gator habitat where our two native Louisiana adult alligators reside and sees a lot of foot traffic from visitors coming to see Big Boy and Nubby!


Manresa Kitchen– Manresa Kitchen: Built c. 1860 in Convent, LA, the Manresa Kitchen is also known as the “Manresa Retreat House.” The building was originally located on the grounds of Manresa House of Retreat. It is a cozy little shop with lots of history attached to it!

“Bagatelle: A Novel” by Maurice Denuziere


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Bagatelle Plantation moveThis week, the week after the Fourth of July, is usually a pretty good week for a vacation. I always enjoy relaxing on vacation with a good book, whether I’m at the beach, in the mountains, or hiding out in a cozy bed and breakfast down here in Louisiana’s famous Plantation Country. One of my all time favorite books is Bagatelle: A Novel by Maurice Denuziere. The book is a historical fiction based in Louisiana around the St. Francisville area. Here’s the description from the jacket:

Bagatelle by Maurice Denuziere, Translated from the French by June P. Wilson. Her name was Caroline. Her beauty was exceptional, her passions and ambitions unquenchable. Her resolve: to become mistress of the great southern plantation named Bagatelle, located not far from old New Orleans. His name was Clarence Dandridge. He was a bachelor, slender, handsome, a man of probity, the catch of Louisiana. He was also a man with a terrible secret that prevented him from loving and marrying any woman, a man who desired but could not possess the most desirable woman of the antebellum South, Caroline. So begins this international best seller written in the grand tradition of the great romantic southern novels. It is a story filled with danger and death, war and pestilence, a story of an unforgettable heroine, Caroline, and hero, Clarence, and their successful struggle to overcome personal and historical adversity.”

The book begins in the early 1800s and follows the happenings and people of Bagatelle Plantation. The original Bagatelle Plantation (see picture above) was located much closer to where The Cabin is in Burnside and moved in the 1970s to Plaquemine Point by barge, about 20 miles upriver from Burnside. Originally published in French in 1898, Denuziere’s novel has served as a way to get to know Louisiana for French citizens for the last 100+ years. In fact, when I was working at Bocage Plantation a few years ago, we had French guests who said as much and recommended the book to me.

So if you’re on vacation and looking for a good read and are interested in Louisiana history, I highly recommend Bagatelle. You won’t regret it!