By Jane Bokun
A historic jewel went up in smoke this morning in Natchitoches, according to Iris Harper, executive director of the Natchitoches Visitor's Center.
The Levy East Bed and Breakfast is at the corner of Amulet and Jefferson and is on the National Registry of Historic Homes.
It was originally part of the area's vast Jewish community in the 1800s. It was first built by a doctor and was only one story. Then it was purchased by the Levy family, who were Jewish merchants and part of the original Jewish settlers . The house then gained another story when it was added by the Levys who purchased it in 1891.
Even before this morning's fire, it was not operational. There are some parts of the original structure that did not get burned and will be saved.
According to Harper, there are currently more than 50 historic homes in Natchitoches.
"The majority are private," she said. Alll together there are 100 rooms to rent bringing in about $3 million per year in tourism dollars in Natchitoches.
Katherine Harper, Iris' daughter and a member of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation
agrees with her mother that the the loss of the latest historic property has been devastating.
"It feels like we lost a member of our town," she said.