When I was little girl growing up in south Louisiana, my mother would take me on tours of the beautiful old plantation houses in the countryside outside Lafayette. It was the beginning of a lifelong fascination with architecture in general, and Southern vernacular architecture in particular. So when I saw this 200-year-old Creole manor in the pages of Garden & Gun, it brought me right back to my roots.
The home's owner, Patrick Dunne, loves old things. When he's not managing Lucullus, his New Orleans antique shop, he's relaxing at home with the windows open. Although the house has central air conditioning, he prefers to sleep in the fresh air, under a mosquito net, the way the home's original owners would have 200 years ago. He enjoys stirring his coffee (ground by hand!) with silver spoons that belonged to his grandmother. Outside, vetiver and citronella plants blooming along the drive discourage mosquitoes the old-fashioned way.
The house is typical of Creole plantations in the old South, with a lofted main floor, gabled roofline and deep porches on both sides. Like other Creole plantations, the house has no halls; rooms flow seamlessly into one another with a sort of casual graciousness that feels very modern. For Patrick, being connected to the past is an essential part of Southern culture. “History is both a burden and a glory for Southerners," he says. "Our affection for the past and our complex relationship to it survive in our living habits.”
Being surrounded by old things is also a way for him to feel connected to the people he loves. "I will tell you that when I stir my coffee with one of my grandmother’s silver spoons, it does make me happy. When I sit in a chair that my father gave me that came out of our house, it does make me happy. It’s a Southern thing. That attachment threads us through to our roots.”
Read More: A House on the Bayou on Garden & Gun
(Images: Brie Williams/Garden & Gun)