Rehab of Godchaux House recounted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – The executive director of the River Road Historical Society said the RRHS went to great lengths to restore the old Godchaux home in the three years it owned the house.

In a letter dated Feb. 9, Executive Director Nancy J. Robert furnished what she termed “The True Story of the Godchaux-Reserve House.”

Robert said the Port of South Louisiana donated the Godchaux-Reserve House to the River Road Historical Society in 1993.

According to Robert, the RRHS purchased property on River Road from the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board and moved the house to its present location with $65,000 in revenue generated from Destrehan Plantation. She said the home was moved in September 1993.

The RRHS received a $33,000 grant from the State of Louisiana for brick and mortar work, conveyed Robert. The fund was matched by a grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation in the amount of $30,000.

When work was needed to be done on architectural designs and necessary repairs, Robert said the St. John the Baptist Parish Economic Development Department donated $25,000. She said an additional $22,000 was donated by the RRHS to help with the project.

“Those repairs secured the house, and in 1994, the RRHS applied to the National Park Service and had the Godchaux-Reserve House listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Robert.

In 1996, a group of individuals from the parish contacted the RRHS, requesting the donation of the Godchaux-Reserve House, said Robert. A non-profit organization, the Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society, was formed to accept the house and to continue its restoration.

“In the three years the RRHS owned the house, its property was purchased, the house was moved, brick and mortar work repairs were made, stairs were built to the second level and other necessary work was performed to secure the site. Over $160,000 was used to accomplish this, more than half of which was donated by the RRHS from Destrehan Plantation revenue,” said Robert.

In the past eight and one-half years, the Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society has owned the house.

Robert said the RRHS has offered its assistance, in the past, to the Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society and that they will continue to do so.

“We hope that the Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society will function as it was meant to for the benefit of saving this national historic treasure, which is a vital part of St. John Parish history.”