“one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Natchioches”
The Prudhomme-Rouquier House is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the Natchitoches Historic District. Constructed between 1790 and 1811, this home predates most other surviving buildings in downtown Natchitoches. Although the exterior was remodeled in 1825 to resemble the Federal or Greek Revival style, it was originally a French Creole building. The builders of the home used the traditional French Creole method of erecting cypress beams and filling in the spaces with bousillage (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss, and deer hair). However, the Prudhomme-Rouquier house is unique in that it is a two-story home completely done in this method of construction. Other two-story Creole homes usually began as one-story homes, elevated on brick piers or walls. Often the area under the main floor would be bricked in to add additional living space, giving the impression of a second floor. The Prudhomme-Rouquier house is the only known example of a true two-story bousillage building in the nation. Jean Baptiste Prudhomme, a royal surgeon educated in France, originally acquired the land the house is situated on from the Spanish government. The land was then given to Francois Rouquier as a dowry when he married Prudhomme’s daughter, Marie Louise, in 1778. Though there is no definitive evidence, research suggests Rouquier was the builder of the home. After Rouquier’s death in 1811, the house passed through several families’ ownership. It was purchased by the Service League of Natchitoches in 1976. Since then the League has restored and renovated the building using funds from several grants, including a Save America’s Treasures Award, as well as revenue from selling cookbooks that feature Louisiana cuisine. They currently offer tours of the building and lease it for receptions.
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