Bousillage is mud infill held in place by sticks wedged between the wood wall framing. This simple mixture of animal hair, Spanish moss, and mud stood the test of time. On Cane River Bousillage is still evident today. Most instances have it being used as an insulator for interior walls; in the park Oakland’s main house and the Overseer’s house are a good example. Another example of its use includes exterior walls made of Bousillage. There are several buildings on lower Cane River that follow this model; in the park Magnolia’s blacksmith is one such building and dates to the mid 1800s. Several of these structures such as the Badin-Rouge House near Melrose and the Roque House in Natchitoches can be dated to the 1700s and are some of the oldest structures in the state of Louisiana. Their durability is also attributed to beams made of cypress. Earth-walled houses were built in Natchitoches Parish until the early 1900s, but changes in house preferences and the loss of trained workers spelled the eventual end of earth architecture as practiced by the peoples here on Cane River.

Sources: Wells,Carolyn. Domestic Architecture of Colonial Natchitoches. M.A. Thesis. Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, La (1973).
Jay D. Edward’s A Creole Lexicon: Architecture, Landscape, People, LSU Press, 2004.

Last updated: January 5, 2018