Ok there’s an “i” missing at the end of the state but it messed with my rhyme mojo so it had to go.
WizKid is in Wisconsin with his Auntie and her brood through the end of July so when the opportunity for Mr. Sweet Butter and myself to take an escape you can bet your claws and crawfish we did.
Our trip was unplanned and our goal was Cajun Country to a little town West of New Orleans called “Thibodaux”. I’ll get to that in another post, promise.
We detoured through Gulf Port Mississippi in order to stop by and visit the home of Jefferson Davis, “Beauvoir”. The name means “Beautiful View” in French sits about 300 yards from the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
We took a tour of the home and Presidential Library on our first trip to New Orleans back in 2004 as both Mr. Sweet Butter and myself have always liked reading the history of the Civil War.
Our latest visit was more than a chance to revisit a beautiful historical place. You may recall a nasty storm called “Katrina” gave the Gulf Shore a massive one-two punch back in 2005 and Beauvoir had taken a direct hit. We wanted to see how much had survived and hope they were able to save or restore most of it.
A Trip Back In Time
Here are some of the photos I took of the home back in 2004. They were taken with a black and white disposable camera and sadly many of them did not survive developing.They’re not the greatest and I wish I would have found them prior to the trip so I could take comparison shots but they tell the story regardless.
The front doors in this photo are gone but not due to Katrina; An arsonist miseducated about their Civil War history set fire to these several months ago. Ironically as these doors were not the originals either this “opened the door” for the historical society to replace them with true replicas of the cedar ones that graced the front entrance during the Confederate Presidents stay here.
Ok quick history lesson:
Contrary to popular belief the whole crux of the icky Civil War was about “states rights”. The South wanted states to have the power to govern themselves; the North wanted one government to rule them all.
Although the issue of slavery became a massive point of contention during the war the North had slaves as well and actually was not keen on the idea of giving them up either. In fact Abraham Lincoln said:
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” –Abraham Lincoln, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862)
I’m not sure the North winning was such a good thing but at least slavery across the board was finally abolished and that definitely was.
Class dismissed, on with the tour.
Beauvoir took a serious beating when Katrina came to town. One would think the home was a total loss looking at the photo taken shortly after the storm. But not only did the three inch solid cedar floors keep the house standing even after losing 30% of the support pylons, but the majority of the items in the house survived. Some things were washed away but the furniture, the drapes, paintings, lamps and even the tea cups refused to surrender and only needed repair and cleaning. Granted some more extensively than others.
This same grandfather clock graciously gave Jefferson Davis the time every day. After a foot of water rushed through the house, knocking it and everything else against the back wall, all this old man needed was a good cleaning and minor adjustment. It is accurate to within seconds and always has been.
Timex and Seiko have nothing on this guy.
The parlor was renewed.
I LOVE this harp.
The old paint on the door to these two adjoining bedroom was kept in tact to display how they used to look but the matching door just out of the photo to the left was restored to the original unpainted version.
There are those gorgeous, strong cedar floors that saved the day.
The study waits in time for a new writer.
I just love the colors and detail of these parlor chairs. I can not believe they’re so old.
One corner in each room was purposely left unfinished to show the contrast between the old paint, which was actually new, and the new paint which is actually the old.
Confused? Good you’re paying attention.
When the historical society came in to assess the damage to the home and start the restoration process they employed the help of one of the nations leading color analyst. No not the kind that tells you if you look better in Spring colors than Summer.
This analyst is an expert is identifying colors of historical items, art and artifacts.
Painstakingly the analyst peeled away layers of paint and discovered there were seven layers of paint that had been applied over the life of the house. Under it all he was able to identify the original colors that covered the walls. The new paint you see is the same coloring and design that Jefferson Davis looked upon.
Told you that analyst was good.
Here’s a shot of the parlor.
All the pretty filigree and intricate design you see isn’t wallpaper like you normally see in historic homes. This is paint, hand painted and yes this is exactly how it looked to Mr. Davis. Nice huh?
Notice anything unusual about this corner?
Yep, it’s rounded.
This was designed and requested by the man who built the home; a man who happened to have been uber stinking wealthy and having rounded corners was a way to show it off.
Let’s take the tour outside.
Mr. Sweet Butter and I were on a bit of a time crunch so we didn’t get a chance to take photos of the outside but here are some from our 2004 visit.
In the back of home is a Civil War cemetery. Unfortunately due to construction we could not get back to see it the second time around. Our guide did tell us it survived and none of the graves were lost.
All of the out buildings were lost. They are to be rebuilt.
The view from the front porch was amazing. I could see how easy it was for Jefferson Davis to sit for hours watching the waves of the gulf lapping against the shores and listening to the breezes whispering through the leaves of the stately oaks on the front lawn.
Everything you see in this photos is gone. The trees were not strong enough to withstand the surf and nearly 7 feet of water.
Yet the home itself did, determined to stand it’s ground and keep the history alive. What’s a silly storm in the eye of a Civil War right?
The home was completely restored and the new rockers grace the porch, waiting to tell their story to another visitor. I didn’t have time to get a photo of the front of the house. I will be sure to grab one next time I pass by.
The nearly 300 year old home survived.
The old Presidential Library in all it’s modern glory did not.
The first floor housed most of the artifacts and sadly many were lost, including Mrs. Davis wedding dress and the death mask of Jefferson Davis.
The second floor contained the books and writings, papers and documents which were all saved.
The new library is in active build stages and the main structure is up. Soon it will be reopened and Mr. Sweet Butter and I will be sure to return once again.
What are some historical places you have visited? What are your favorites?
Thanks for visiting. –
Want to learn more about Beauvoir or it’s restoration, visit the site: