Melrose Plantation

The African House

Melrose Plantation

The Melrose Plantation is an Antebellum historic house museum located in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.

In 1742, Marie Thérèse Coincoin was born a slave into the household of Natchitoches’ founder Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. St. Denis later leased the twenty-six year old Coincoin as a housekeeper to a young French merchant named Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer.

A nineteen year relationship ensued, resulting in ten children. Eventually, Metoyer purchased Marie Thérèse and several of their children, giving them their freedom.

With her freedom, a yearly allowance, and a parcel of land given by Metoyer, Marie Thérèse began raising tobacco, cattle, and harvesting bear grease. In the coming years, Marie’s fortunes grew by virtue of her and her sons receiving land grants and purchasing slaves. They became the leading family of a community called Isle Brevelle, populated by “gens de couleur libre", free people of color who thrived as business people, plantation owners, and slave owners.

In 1796, one of her sons, Louis Metoyer, was deeded 911 acres of land on which he would eventually build one of Cane River’s jewels, Melrose Plantation.

Louis likely began development of the East bank of the river shortly after his land grant. Development of the west bank (the current Melrose property) began between 1810-1815 with the construction of Yucca House, African House, and a large barn.

Louis began construction of the Big House in 1832. His death on March 11, 1832 left his only son, Jean Baptiste Louis Metoyer to finish construction. When Jean Baptiste died in 1838, Melrose was a sizable estate worth over $100,000.

We invite you to discover the two-hundred year history of the beautiful Melrose Plantation. The birth of a slave, Marie Therese Coincoin, and her ten Franco-African children with Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer became the legacy of the Isle Brevelle Creole Community.

Descendants of the Metoyer family live along Cane River today, a people proud of their heritage and culture.

A National Historic Landmark, Melrose Plantation contains nine historic buildings including the African House, Yucca House, Weaving Cabin, Bindery and the Big House.

A collection of work by world famous African American folk artist Clementine Hunter is available for viewing, including her popular African House Murals.