Book author speaks at APHN Luncheon on Cammie Henry and Melrose Plantation

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) held its annual Luncheon on Feb. 9. APHN President Dr. Vicki Parrish and First Vice President Anne Stevens welcomed the crowd which filled the restaurant.Rev. Ellis Newman provided the invocation and benediction.

Parrish said that while progress can be scary, organizations like APHN and communities like Natchitoches need to take stock of who they were, who they are presently, and who they want to be moving forward.

Mayor Lee Posey spoke about the number of people and organizations like APHN that have helped through the years to put Natchitoches in a position for success for the future. It’s an old community, but Posey gave an update on some of the projects that are underway to improve the overall quality of life and infrastructure. He also said that he’s always open to suggestions on what things could be implemented to make the community even better.

Author Patricia Austin Becker spoke about her book “Cane River Bohemian.” A National Historic Landmark with a complex and remarkable two-hundred-year history, Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches, Louisiana, was home to many notable women, including freedwoman and entrepreneur Marie Thérèse Coincoin and artist Clementine Hunter. Among that influential group, Cammie Henry, the mistress of Melrose during the first half of the twentieth century, stands out as someone who influenced the plantation’s legacy in dramatic and memorable ways. In Cane River Bohemia, Patricia Austin Becker provides a vivid biography of this fascinating figure.

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) was organized in 1944 and now operates as a nonprofit organization in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Its mission is to promote and preserve an understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Natchitoches and the Cane River area. In consonance with that mission, its purpose is the long term preservation of areas of historic value, sites, cultural landscapes, artifacts, archives and cultures of the people.

After the presentation, the event entered its business session. Parrish recognized APHN board members and Melrose staff, introduced new Melrose Facilities Managers Stephanie and Brian Wilson, and held an election for new board members.