Thursday, March 7, 2019

Barging in the House

When the Lake Theater in Mandeville was torn down at the corner of Girod St and Lakeshore Drive, the new property owners decided to bring in an old plantation house known as the Justine Plantation from the New Iberia area. In 2003, the house was put on a barge near New Iberia, floated down Bayou Teche, around New Orleans, and into Lake Pontchartrain where it was parked for a while at the Mandeville harbor.

Then it was moved into place at the seawall near the end of Girod Street where somehow crews lifted it up from the barge, rolled it across the street, and jacked it up into the air to give it that old Mandeville elevated house look. 

Here are some pictures from several Mandeville area residents of that operation. Thanks to Mark Frosch Sr. for his photos.

According to the Justine Plantation website, "Justine Plantation was built by Don Martin Navarro in 1786 as a wedding gift for his only daughter Adelaide. A native of Spain, Navarro was appointed as treasurer of the Spanish Province of Louisiana by King Charles III in the period prior to the province’s return to France and subsequent purchase by the United States. Justine was built on land along Bayou Teche near Centerville, Louisiana granted by the Spanish to Adelaide and her new husband Louis George de Maret.

"Justine was operated as a sugar plantation during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Throughout her history, her majesty and grandeur has helped her survive the ages. The structure was built entirely of Louisiana cypress, a feature that has helped her withstand the environment of south Louisiana. In 1965, Justine was purchased by Mrs. Aleen Yeutter who moved the structure by barge fifty-four miles down Bayou Teche to a new location. She rested here for thirty-eight years before moving once again."

After the structure was moved to Mandeville in 2003, it was placed on twelve-foot columns and a double curved front staircase was built in front of it to help it weather high water and storm surges. The 220-year-old structure survived relatively unscathed through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was reported.  The building owners were commended by FEMA for following "best practices" in flooding mitigation for raising the structure high enough off the ground to escape Katrina storm surges with only minimal damage. 

See also:

Rebuilding the Gulf Coastal Contractor Article PDF File