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Roque House
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Roque House was built by a freed slave in 1803
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

The Roque House is a fine example of French Creole architecture. Its oversized roof and gallery porch are typical of the style. It originally consisted of two main rooms with cabinets on either side. The house was built with the traditional materials used by the earliest settlers of the area, cypress half-timbers and bousillage infill (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss, and deer hair). The house was built in 1803 by a freed slave named Yves, who is also referred to as Pacalé. He constructed the house on his 91-acre farmstead about 22 miles south of Natchitoches along Cane River. Pacalé built the house late in his life, and died at the age of 75, only 15 years after its completion.

The house later was acquired by Madame Philamene Roque and her newlywed husband. Philamene was the granddaughter of Augustin Metoyer, the patriarch of the Cane River Creole community. Philamene outlived her husband and remained in the house until her death in 1941. She was the last tenant of the property, and the house was given her husband’s family name.

[photo] The Roque House was restored by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation
Color photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area, historic photo courtesy of the Cammie G. Henry Research Center, Northwestern State University of Louisiana

After Philamene’s death, the Roque House fell into disrepair for several years. It eventually was purchased by Museum Contents, Inc. In 1967, it was moved to its present location on the riverbank in downtown Natchitoches. During the move, the chimney and the left bedroom were damaged, and the latter was unable to be saved. The building has since been restored by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, its current owner. After its move, the Roque House served as a museum for many years. It also later served as the headquarters for the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission.

The Roque House is located in downtown Natchitoches at 1 Rue Beau Port within the boundaries of the Natchitoches Historic District. This road runs along the river, down the embankment from Front Street. The Roque House is owned by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, Inc. and is currently leased to the Gingerbread House. The phone number is 318-352-0990. The Roque House is currently a store operated by the Caddo Adai Tribe and is open during normal business hours. The Roque House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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