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Maison de Marie Thérèse
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[photo] Maison de MarieThérèse
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

The Maison de Marie Thérèse, an excellent example of a Creole-style cottage, is associated with one of the main families of the Cane River Creole community—the descendants of Marie Thérèse Coincoin. It contains five rooms and, like many cottages of the time, is raised off the ground on piers. The home has a peculiar roof design that was antiquated half a century before the house was built and is very rare in the United States. Marie Thérèse Coincoin was born an African slave in the household of Natchitoches’s founder, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, around 1740. St. Denis died two years later, and Marie Thérèse continued to serve his family. During her service to St. Denis’s daughter, Marie Thérèse was leased out to a young French soldier named Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer. The two entered into a long-term liaison that produced ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Metoyer later purchased Marie Thérèse. Eight years later, he freed her when their relationship came to an end with his marriage to a French woman in 1786. All of their children together were also freed. Metoyer gave Marie Thérèse a yearly allowance and a parcel of land at Cedar Bend, upon which the Maison de Marie Thérèse now stands.

[photo] This home was likely built after the death of Marie Thérèse Coincoin
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

Marie Thérèse began cultivating tobacco on her small plantation, and within a few years she was earning a large profit. She and her descendants formed one of the main branches of the Cane River Creole community. Local tradition holds that the Maison de Marie Thérèse is the house where Coincoin lived while she was managing her plantation. However, recent archaeological and architectural research has suggested that the current building could not have been built before her death. The current building likely was built by the Prudhomme family who owned the adjoining plantation. Although Marie Thérèse probably never lived in the home, it is still an important building because it is linked to her plantation in community tradition, if not actually in fact. The studies are by the University College London and the National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology & Training.

The Maison de Marie Thérèse is located one mile northwest of Bermuda. It is privately owned and not open for tours. The Maison de Marie Thérèse has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey. For more information on the archeological studies of this area you can visit University College London's study or the National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology & Training study.

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