Creole House Museum narrowly avoids destructions after tree falls during severe weekend weather

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Village of French Settlement

FRENCH SETTLEMENT, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Thanks to some luck, one of the oldest structures in Livingston Parish is still standing.

The Creole House Museum, one of around a dozen local sites on the National Register of Historic Places, narrowly avoided destruction last weekend after severe weather fell a large pecan tree that was standing nearby.

Image courtesy of Village of French Settlement

Originally built in the late 1800s, the Creole House — formerly the Decareaux House — in French Settlement has served as a museum since the late 1970s.

Under the care of the French Settlement Historical Society, the building houses numerous items from throughout the village’s history as well as genealogy charts documenting the families of the local people. People also use it for photo shoots for weddings, birthday parties, and other special occasions.

And it was almost lost. 

“Luckily, it’s still here,” said Kim Aydell of the Historical Society.

A large pecan tree fell sometime Friday night when strong storms moved through southeast Louisiana. The severe weather downed several tree across the area.  

Aydell said the tree took out the cistern that was on the side of the building, some of the support beams on the front porch, and caused some roof damage. The tree also scrapped the building’s cypress siding that will have to be replaced.

But what was actually lost is nothing compared to what could have been lost, Aydell said.

“We were very lucky,” she said. “It could’ve gone right through the middle of the whole thing. It could’ve been a lot worse, so we’re thankful. The damage is repairable. We just missed it.”

The Creole House Museum was built in 1898 by Alexander Lambert and his son Harris for his daughter Louisa, who was married to Alexander Decareaux. The house is made out of cypress and is typical of the dwellings built in the area during the late 1800s.

The house was later purchased by the Village of French Settlement and used as its Town Hall until the new Town Hall was built. The French Settlement Historical Society took over maintenance of the house in 1977 and turned it into a museum.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

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