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Roque House

Brief History

This quaint old home is one of the most accessible examples the Creole style of French architecture in the Cane River area. Post in the ground, hipped roof, encircling gallery and central chimney exemplify this distinctive style of architecture. Constructed in typical French colonial fashion with hand-hewn cypress and a bousillage fill (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss and animal hair, much like adobe), the structure was topped with an oversize roof of durable cypress shingles. The overhanging roof forms a gallery around the house’s exterior. A close inspection of the house reveals the craftsmanship used in its jointing; it contained no nails.

The house has three original rooms and the plank lean-to in the rear, which was added as a tool shed. The room on the left was used as the parents’ bedroom and could be subdivided by partitions to provide sleeping space for the children. The middle room was the kitchen, children’s bedroom and visiting room. The pantry or storage room was the small room on the right. The double fireplace contains some of the original bricks, but many were broken in transit when the house was moved from its original site to its present location in 1967.

It is called the “Roque House” after its last residential occupant, Madame Aubert Roque, a newlywed, who moved into the house with her new husband. She was the granddaughter of Augustin Metoyer of the Isle Brevelle community, just south of Natchitoches. The house history has been traced to the year 1803, when a 60-year old freedman of color named Yves, but called Pacale, built the house where he owned 91 acres of land on Cane River, about 22 miles south of Natchitoches. Pacale died in 1818. Madame Roque acquired the home and occupied it until she died in October 1941. After her death, the house was used for storing hay until a local preservation group acquired the house, moved it, and began restoration work.

In the 1920’s, New Orleans author, William Spratling wrote the following description of the house and its owner: “Madame Aubert lived rather humbly in a small house of mud and half-timber which was built in the 18th century by some of her French forebears. All her life she had lived here on the Isle Brevelle. In front of bit of provincial France, an old fashioned garden, variously colorful, lay within the confines of a lichen-covered and battered fence of split palings. Madam Aubert, throwing open the blue-green shutter of the front of the house, hastened down to meet us.”

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