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Madewood Plantation

3rd Qtr 2011

Location

Napoleonville, LA

Description

Madewood is near Napoleonville and was built between 1840 and 1848 for Thomas Pugh and designed by the noted architect Henry Howard, the author of many other famous mansions in the New Orleans area, and plantation houses. This issue’s limited edition print of a sketch by Ladd P. Ehlinger is of the facade facing Bayou Lafourche that is nestled in a grove of oaks and magnolias. Madewood is the main house for a group of plantations acquired by Pugh in the 1830s and 1840s that totaled over 10,000 acres. Most of this acreage was planted in sugarcane, the most profitable crop at the time in south Louisiana.

Madewood is a jewel among jewels. There are still many of the 19th century plantation homes existent, especially on Bayou Lafourche, but few match the grandeur of Madewood. The six Ionic columns spring from a classical Greek temple stylobate, rather than from pedestals as at other plantations, and support a simple entablature and pediment with a fan decoration. The second floor line is carried just inside the columns so that their verticality dominates, and has a very delicate wooden balustrade.

The floor plan consists on the two story main house with a one story wing on each side. On the first level the main house con- tains a central hall with a flanking double parlor on one side and a library and dining on the other. One wing contains bedrooms and the wing on the left con- tains a ball room and ser- vice rooms. The upstairs repeats the central hall with bedrooms flanking both sides.

The construction is of brick (made on the property) walls with stucco and plaster supporting timber spanning members with plastered ceilings also. The stucco is scored to resemble stone blocks and is painted white. The floors are of heart pine, door frames, doors and moldings of tidewater red cypress. The shutters are painted a dark green. The door frames and moldings are painted to resemble oak (faux bois). Each doorway is signed by the artist, Cornealius Hennessey. Elsewhere, the mantels have been painted to resemble marble.

The Harold Marshal family purchased the property in 1964 and completed a major restoration by 1978, and it is currently owned by their sons. The facility has been converted to a bed and breakfast, and it is well worth staying there to see it.

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