Chretien Point Plantation
Chrétien Point, the center of the Civil War's Battle of Buzzard's Prairie in 1863, is rumored to have been spared when its owner, Hypolite Chrétien II, gave the Masonic sign.
Hypolite Chrétien II built Chrétien Point on land near Sunset, north of Lafayette, that had been acquired by his grandfather, Joseph C. Chrétien, in the eighteenth century. The two-story house has a Creole plan: three rooms wide with a loggia between cabinets at the rear, a two-story gallery on double-height plastered brick Tuscan columns across the front, and a hipped roof. Stairs are located in the loggia. Carpenter Samuel Young, who also worked on the Academy of the Sacred Heart in nearby Grand Coteau, and bricklayer Jonathan Harris constructed the house with bricks made by enslaved workers on the plantation. The building contract, signed in 1831, stipulated that the house was to have a brick foundation, four bricks thick, sunk two feet below the surface.
The round-arched windows and doors opening onto the galleries show Federal influence and are a rare feature for a Louisiana plantation house. Some of the rooms were originally wallpapered, and three of the upstairs rooms have imported marble chimney pieces. After Hypolite died from yellow fever in 1837, his wife, Félicité Neda, managed the cotton plantation, doubled the landholdings, and became famous for the gambling parties she hosted. The house stayed in the family until the 1930s, after which it fell into disrepair. In 1975, new owners purchased and restored the house. Chrétien Point’s rural location has changed little since it was built.
Adapted from Karen Kingsley’s Buildings of Louisiana, part of the Buildings of the United States series commissioned by the Society of Architectural Historians (www.sah.org) and published by Oxford University Press.