African House Named National Treasure

The National Trust for Historic Preservation named African House, located at Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, a National Treasure. Unique in its structure and unknown purpose, the building is also home to world-renowned folk artist Clementine Hunter's murals. In naming the African House a National Treasure, the National Trust is committed to supporting the site's restoration. The National Trust's HOPE Crew ("Hands-on Preservation Experience" Crew) will address repair needs on the roof and other exteriors. HOPE Crew is an initiative of the National Trust that trains thousands of crew members in useful historic preservation skills.

Melrose Plantation was established in 1796 by former slave Louis Metoyer, a free person of color. In the 1820's, Metoyer commissioned his enslaved workers to construct the house however, no records exist that give an exact date of its construction, original purpose or explain its unusual design which reflects the style of traditional architecture of houses in Africa.

Today, the two-story hut-like building stands threatened by deterioration and destabilization. Preservation of the brick masonry walls and roof structure are needed to ensure the site is protected and reopened for public tours as an important part of the story of Melrose Plantation.