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Take a step back in time

Story and Photos By: CLAUDETTE OLIVIER
Lifestyles Editor

You get a home, you fill it with stuff. That’s the way life goes.
In the case of Point Blue farmer and retired school teacher J.D. Soileau, someone gives you a 177-year-old bousillage house, and he has spent the last 23 years turning it into what can almost be described as a Cajun-country museum of antique items.
Soileau said, “If I find something I don’t have, I add it.”
Many of the items are from Soileau’s own family, including his grandmother’s spinning wheel, a gardesoleil or sun bonnet worn by many Cajun women when they worked outside, and a wash stand.
The six room house has a front porch, a living room, three bedrooms, one of which has been converted into a bathroom, a porch in between the living area and the kitchen that is now closed in and features the Acadian style house’s staircase, the kitchen and a porch off the kitchen. An antique washing machine sits on the porch.
Soileau said the previous owner of the home was unsure of what to do with the house as he grew older, and after Soileau was gifted the structure, he moved it to its current location in 1992. The home is tucked back in a stand of trees on Soileau’s property. The property is bordered on one edge by Bayou des Cannes, and Soileau built a deck and dock over the waterway behind the house.
Soileau also purchases items for the houme at auctions.
Soileau’s collection ncludes a buggy blanket and a baby bed with screened-in sides and top just like one his parents had when he was a child.
Framed items adorning the mud walls include tickets from Tri-Parish Fair once held in Eunice.
“They gave away three cars — a Ford, a Plymouth and a Chevrolet,” Soileau said. “Nettie Rozas (from Chataignier) won a car one year, and her neighbor across the street also won one at the same time.”

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