FESTIVALS & ATTRACTIONS
Le Vieux Presbytere
205 Rue Iry Lejeune
Le Vieux Presbytere is a one-and-one-half story frame bousillage residence located across from the church square. Open every Thursday 9 AM to 5 PM.
The history of Le Vieux Presbytere began in 1883 with the establishment of the new Roman Catholic parish of the Sacred Heart of Mary in small rural French Catholic community of Church Point. Father Auguste Vincent Eby, a twenty-seven year old native of France, was appointed by the archbishop as pastor. In 1887, Father Eby, having successfully completed construction of a new church, turned his attention to the question of a presbytere (pastoral residence). In that year, as documented in his annual report to the archbishop, he had the nominated building constructed.
Le Vieux Presbytere is of state significance in the area of architecture as a rare and important example of a method of construction associated with Louisiana's very significant French Creole architectural tradition. This is one of the last structures in south Louisiana to use folk craft of mud wall construction which is known as bousillage. Bousillage construction is a primary characteristic of Louisiana's Creole architectural heritage. In this building technique, frame walls, with French joinery, are infilled with a combination of clay, Spanish moss, and sometimes animal hair. Once this material is in place within a wall, it dries and hardens to form a solid structure which, in many ways, is analogous to reinforced concrete. Bousillage construction, as it was practiced in Louisiana, should be viewed as the lineal descendent of a medieval European form of construction known as half-timbering. In this case, mud and Spanish moss were substituted for the lime, plaster and straw used in half-timbering. Le Vieux Presbytere is a significant example of this building tradition in two respects: