L'Habitation Domingue 1895 - 1963
The Residence of Jean-Jacques Domingue (1869 - 1934) and Andrea Prejean Domingue (1873 - 1963)
By Gerald Domingue
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Intellective Book Publishers, Zurich, Switzerland ... copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved
L’habitation Domingue (1895-1963) with its Acadian-Creole residence constructed of Louisiana bald cypress wood in the 1890s for Jean-Jacques, dit Jacques (1869-1934) and Andrea Prejean Domingue (1873-1963) is presented in this book as an artistic restoration. The house originally stood on 80 acres of land situated on present day east Gloria Switch Road, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. It was there that cotton planters, Jean-Jacques and Andrea Domingue raised their children (Francois Delpha, Martha, Valrie, Oliva, Estelle, Hortense, Anna, Antoine, Louis Aristide, Lazard Edward, Edgar Paul and Simon). Hortense and Anna died before the age of six. After the death of their mother in 1946, two grandsons, Gerald James Domingue, Sr. and Edgar Rousseau Domingue, dit R.J., were also reared on l’habitation by the widowed Andrea Prejean Domingue who continued as a cotton planter with the help of tenant farmers living on l'habitation.
In the 1920s, twenty acres of the original tract were sold to their daughter, Estelle Domingue, and her husband, Fernand Bernard, for establishing a homestead. Facing and adjacent to l’habitation (across east Gloria Switch Road), Andrea Prejean Domingue owned another 20 acres of grazing pasture land which she sold in the 1940s to Liney and Irene Matthieu for establishing a dairy farm.
After the death of Andrea Prejean Domingue in 1963, her son, Louis Aristide Domingue purchased the remaining sixty acres of land and the house from Andrea’s heirs (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren). The house remained on its original acreage until the late 1970s when the property changed ownership to individuals unrelated to the Domingue family. An apartment complex "French Colony" was established by developers on approximately 30 acres of l’habitation Domingue. Louis Aristide Domingue had the house moved from its original location to the adjacent land of his niece, Grace Bernard Mamer, daughter of the late Estelle Domingue Bernard and Fernand Bernard. Louis Aristide Domingue continued to live in the house until his death in 1984. Grace Bernard Mamer donated the house to Gerald James Domingue, Sr. It was his intention to restore the house; however, he was unable to find anyone in the immediate area who was willing to sell an acre of land for convenient relocation of the house and subsequent restoration. Regrettably, the old, empty house deteriorated into ruins over the ensuing years, posing a fire hazard. Grace Bernard Mamer contracted with a salvage company to completely dismantle the house (board by board) in the mid 1990s.
The photomontages of digital photographic images were created from memory by the grandson of Jean-Jacques and Andrea Domingue, Gerald James Domingue, Sr., Zurich, Switzerland. These photomontages were inspired by photographs taken of the exterior of the house (in ruins) by Mary Kathryn (Kathy) Domingue Stakes. In this publication, the house is depicted unpainted in its original weathered cypress. In the early 1900s the house was painted light gray with a dark gray tin roof; several decades later, it was white with a red tin roof. Utilizing computer software, including Photoshop, Photo Show and Picasa, artistic restorations, derived from the actual photographs of the house in ruins, along with simulated digital photographs of dependencies (outbuildings), were designed as photomontages - all resembling, as closely as possible, the appearance of the house and l’habitation in the 1940s and 1950s. Additionally, Gerald Domingue designed a garden surrounding the house utilizing digital images of Andrea Prejean Domingue’s favorite flora and representative fauna of l’habitation. Andrea Domingue was affectionately known as Vieux Mam. She was the matriarch of the Domingue family for seventy years. Surviving descendants remember Vieux Mam with fondness, as well as the house and those memorable Sunday and holiday family gatherings on l’habitation.
Sincere appreciation to Kathy Domingue Stakes (granddaughter of Jean-Jacques and Andrea Domingue; daughter of Simon and Marguerite Broussard Domingue) Lafayette, Louisiana for photographs of the house in ruins, and to Joseph Ignaz Furger, Director of Jif-Arts, Zurich, Switzerland for expert computer programming assistance.
Domingue, Gerald. 2006. Memories of a Grandson. Echoes and Footprints of Pioneer Louisiana Spanish-Isleño - French-Acadian Families. Domingue-Prejean and Prejean-Castille. 375 A.D. - 2006 A.D. Volume I. Ancestors and Descendants of Jean-Jacques Domingue and Andrea Prejean. Volume II. Ancestral-Descendant Lineages and Kinships of Rousseau Prejean and Lorena Castille. Volume III. Spousal Families Associated with Domingue-Prejean-Castille and Lineages Ascending to Charles I, dit Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor. Intellective Book Publishers, Zurich. These volumes are available from www.lulu.com