A Sacred Setting: with original charm

Along River Road, near the holy-sounding town of Convent sits a well-kept reminder of the early days of the area called “The Priest House.” About 38 years ago a lay couple donated their 1820 Louisiana cottage to a local pastor who fortunately was an aficionado of architecture. The house contains a lot of old hallmarks in it – handmade door hinges, tongue and groove floors, hand-tooled denture molding etc., and through the years has been maintained to a clean, virtually complete preservation.

Originally part of Helvetia Plantation, the house was moved to its present location and is surrounded by outbuildings saved from other demolished homesteads. The first residents were carpenter brothers who kept the building in ship shape shape. Louisiana’s environment does not encourage the longevity of vintage houses, but the house has enjoyed a long line of conscientious owners.

Today, the challenge, and the enjoyment, for the caretaker is to find historically accurate materials and furnishings. A careful inspection of old scrapings finds original colors for the house, and taking aging into account, the palette is as near authentic as is possible to determine. Because of the pastor, there are many classic religious artifacts in the house as well, lending a stately air to the site.

One of the cozier touches to the location is an abundant garden of annuals. The colors and quietude of the garden lend an overall tranquility as if time itself has leaned back in the old rocker on the porch to ponder butterflies and eternity. A little history, a little relaxation, and a lot of meditative space makes the Priest House well-named indeed.

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