A dedication and unveiling ceremony of a bronze bust of Bobby DeBlieux will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 am in City Park. A reception will follow at the Cunningham Law Office, located at 550 Second Street.
ROBERT BUFORD “BOBBY” DEBLIEUX
January 26, 1933 – January 31, 2010
Parents: Jefferson Davis DeBlieux, Marie Dell Robieu DeBlieux
Children: Cammie DeBlieux Davis, Dene’ DeBlieux Mathies
Born and raised in Natchitoches, Robert Buford “Bobby” DeBlieux exhibited an interest in historic preservation throughout his life. During the 1960s, he restored his beloved house, Tante Huppé, located at 424 rue Jefferson. One of the first restoration projects in the historic district, it served as a catalyst for the rejuvenation and protection of historic properties in an area that would become a National Historic Landmark District.
In 1973, DeBlieux initiated the process for the establishment of a historic district and gained approval from the Louisiana Historical Preservation and Cultural Committee. In 1974, he filed an application with the Department of the Interior to list the Natchitoches Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1977, during DeBlieux’s tenure as Mayor, the Natchitoches Historic District and the Historic District Commission, the District’s architectural review board, were established by the City of Natchitoches.
In 1984, the National Register designation led to the listing of the Natchitoches Historic District as a National Historic Landmark, one of only three in Louisiana. The Landmark District consists of more than 200 historic structures, representing a variety of architectural styles, including Creole, Colonial, Queen Anne, American Craftsman, Tudor, Victorian, Greek Revival, Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary.
During his career, DeBlieux served as a U.S. Army veteran (1956-1958) and in his professional career, worked as a mercantile business owner, juvenile probation officer, bed and breakfast operator, Mayor of Natchitoches (1976-1980) and Assistant Secretary and Preservation Officer for the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (1980-1988). DeBlieux assisted in the creation of several non-profit historic preservation organizations, including Museum Contents (1968), the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission (1994) and the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, Inc. (1996). He co-authored the books, Natchitoches and Louisiana’s Timeless Cane River and Louisiana Architectural and Archeological Sites and wrote the novel, The Garden Club. DeBlieux died on January 31, 2010 and is interred in the American Cemetery.
DeBlieux’s influences can still be seen today as the story of Natchitoches continues to evolve. He instilled a sense of pride in our community and was an effective advocate and steward for the protection and preservation of Natchitoches’ historic and cultural resources.