The test of time

October 30, 2017 GMT

What defines art and architecture as treasures?

While the application for New Iberia’s National Registry historic district is still being processed in Washington DC, visitors are coming into the Queen City thanks to The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art - Louisiana Chapter and Teche Area native son, Peter Patout. Together they will be hosting a four-day Fall Foray along Bayou Teche to learn about the architecture and art of Iberia Parish — along with delicious dinners, private tours and educational opportunities.

Southwell Secrets

Homeowners of architect Owen Southwell designs can each point to a unique element that makes the signature for Southwell a symbol to be admired. The uniqueness is not a cookie cutter element found in other houses like some modern structures. That’s what makes the clue finding a journey for architects or a casual observer.

Easily visible on St. Peter Street are three Southwell buildings — St. Peter’s Catholic Church, a home at 420 across from Meche’s Donuts, and one tucked and rarely seen at 239, next to Ackal Insurance. Although these are not on the forthcoming tours, Edward Fremin said his home’s unique quality is Louisiana cypress, exposed wood and antique cypress bead board. Jason Werth at 239 said there are two hidden rooms at his house.

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Betty and Wilson LeBlanc live in a Southwell off the beaten path but she said the vaulted ceiling in the living room and markings on the dining room ceiling are repeats of the design in St. Peter’s Church.

Candy Landry at 700 E. Main St. noticed that Southwell liked to put the main entrance on the side of the houses. The two doors on the “front” are small and from the interior resemble windows where the main “side” entrance is tall and large. The high ceiling is curved and all the walls are plaster.

Both the LeBlanc and Landry homes will be on the tour. The four-day Fall Foray is a paid event and continuing education opportunity for registrants from Mexico City, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, among others including 10 architects.

Everyone Invited

The ICAA-LA will be including two free lectures for the public about Bayou Teche’s artistic evolution and personality.

“As a special invitation to the public, the ICAA-LA would like to invite people interested in classical art and architecture to attend two lectures at the Sliman Theater Friday, Nov. 3,” said Patout. “These are free of charge.”

The lectures will begin at 9 a.m. first focusing on “Bayou Teche Architecture – Primitive to Classical & Owen Southwell,” by ICAA-LA Co-Chair and architect Eddie Cazayoux FAIA. Immediately following at 10 a.m. is the second lecture, “Four Centuries of Art in the Teche Country (1780-2017),” by Southern Regional Art Historian, Claudia Kheel MA. Seating is limited, therefore to secure a seat pre-registrationis suggested. Contact Kelly Calhoun at (817) 676-6679 or kellylaurencalhoun@yahoo.com.

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Patout is the group’s co-chair along with Edward Cazayoux and chairman Kevin Harris. These lectures are in conjunction with the Fall Foray, “Sugar & Spice: The Architecture & Art of Bayou Teche, Owen Southwell & Tabasco’s Avery Island,” an educational tour starting Thursday through Nov. 5. Tickets for the full weekend of tours and lectures are still available.

“As a native of Iberia Parish, where my roots run deep, I am excited to share this classical world of architecture and art of my beloved Bayou Teche country,” Patout said. “Our foray participants will soon succumb to the exotic eden of café au lait-colored bayous, sugar cane fields and live oaks draped in festoons of Spanish moss. This foray is an exposé to our national audience, one that will showcase the classical featurettes of our heritage in a scale never before seen in this area.”

Iberia Parish Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has partnered with the ICAA-LA to promote tourism in the Teche Area due to the preservation efforts and retention of families for multiple generations — specifically in industries like sugar cane and Tabasco.

“Last year we had the opportunity to work with Peter to host the Louisiana Trust For Historic Preservation tour and this year we have the good fortune to host his Institute of Classical Art and Architecture tour,” said Fran Thibodeaux, director of IPCVB. “We’re very grateful Iberia Parish was selected for both tours. Plans are underway with another tour planner to host a Mid Century Modern Architecture tour in New Iberia. This developing niche helps us promote the history and architecture of Iberia Parish.”

Primitive to Classical

Edward “Eddie” Jon Cazayoux is an architect whose firm, EnvironMental Design, practices sustainable architecture and historic preservation. He is a retired Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he taught for 30 years, director for 13 of those years.

He has three books to his credit on sustainable design and historic preservation and has received many grants for his research and work in sustainable design, construction and historic preservation plus has presented papers on sustainable design and French colonial architecture and settlements throughout the world.

Teche Country 1780-2017

Claudia Kheel will present “Four Centuries of Art in the Teche Country (1780-2017),” covering the artists and artistic traditions of the Bayou Teche from the late 18th century up to the early 21st century. Included in the lecture will be the development of the 19th century portraiture, landscape paintings of the bayous and waterways of the Bayou Teche country.

Architecturally significant watercolor paintings of plantations by Adrien Marie Persac will be included. These works were executed on the eve of the Civil War. Additionally, the lecture will include the WPA murals of LSU professor Conrad Albrizio and significant contemporary photographers and artists including Debbie Fleming Caffery, Philip Gould, George Rodrigue and Hunt Slonem.

As a contributing author, Kheel has written for the revised New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture published by the Center of the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi; Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ KNOWLA Online Encyclopedia; “Morris Henry Hobbs: In Old New Orleans,” the exhibition catalogue for “From Our Illustrious Past: Antebellum Portraits of St. Mary Parish” for the Grevemberg House Museum, among others.

Kheel is an adjunct faculty at Tulane University School of Professional Advancement and a visiting faculty at Louisiana State University School of Art + Design, where she lectures on Louisiana and southern art.

So Much More

The two free lectures open to the public are just a drop in the bucket-list of historic and architectural finds to be discovered next week during the Fall Foray. For a complete itinerary starting Thursday with dinner at Bayside Plantation before the tours and lectures begin Friday, visit Iberianet.com. Additional photos are also included of Southwell designs.

To register for the “Sugar & Spice” Fall Foray featuring the architecture and art of Bayou Teche, Owen Southwell and Tabasco’s Avery Island, call Peter Patout’s cell at (504) 481-4790 or email peterpatout@yahoo.com.