Kate Chopin House Burns Down
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Oct. 7, 2008
Last week a fire destroyed the northwestern Louisiana house that author Kate Chopin called home.
Built in Cloutierville, La., in 1809, the two-story, Creole-style structure was one of about 3,200 National Historic Landmarks in the country. The Oct. 1 fire is still under investigation.
"It was—and is—like someone had died," says Lanie Friday, longtime resident. "The people that are from here, you could really feel the sadness."
Chopin (1850-1904), who also lived in New Orleans, is best known for her 1899 novel The Awakening and her 1894 short story "Story of an Hour."
Last year the National Park Service funded a photographic survey of all the contents of the Kate Chopin house, which has been the property of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches since 1979.
This week a bulldozer knocked down the chimney, the only part of the house that remained.
"It was a very big loss for the Cane River National Heritage Area as well as for the entire Cloutierville community," says Jean Carter, ranger for the 166,000-acre heritage area. "A lot of the artifacts that were in the Kate Chopin House, [also known as] the Bayou Folk Museum, were donated by the community. They lost a lot of their great-grandparents' life story."
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