Historic Natchitoches B&B with Jewish History Destroyed

The Levy East Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches, La., was gutted by fire yesterday morning.

The fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. and took an hour to get under control. The home, which is on the National Registry of Historic Homes, did not have anyone inside at the time and the business was not in operation.

The home was built in the 1830s. According to the B&B website, it was built by bricklayer Joseph Soldini and designed by Italian architect Athaneze Trizzini. A French Canadian doctor, Nichola Michel Friedelezy, was the first owner, but died after living there two years. His medical license was also suspected to be a fake.

After two other owners, Leopold and Justine Dreyfus Levy bought the home in 1891. Levy is listed by the Institute of Southern Jewish Life as the founder of the Othniel chapter of B’nai B’rith in Natchitoches, in the 1870s. Justine died in 1917, Leopold in 1937.

The home was in Greek Revival style, with five bedrooms, balconies overlooking the Cane River Lake and gardens, and a century-old magnolia tree. The house was in disrepair before undergoing renovations and opening in 1994 as a bed and breakfast.

According to KSLA-TV, Chris Levy had sold the house to the East family in the 1990s. The current owners, from Delaware, had recently been sued by a lien holder and the house was in foreclosure. Online reviews said the ownership changed in 2010, and the new owners did not live in the area. A writ of seizure had been issued last week, and the house was set for parish auction in August.

Photos available here.