REHABILITATE LANG HOUSE!
The Jean Baptiste Lang House, once at 2603 Lakeshore Drive, has been moved! Now sitting pretty at it's new home in Kierr Family Garden, it awaits the next phase of it's rehabilitation. This classic Anglo-Creole survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and at the behest of the Old Mandeville Historic Association, the City of Mandeville allocated funds and contracted with Patterson Structural Shoring & Moving to stabilize, repair essential structural components and move the house to the city’s Kierr Family Gardens proximate to the Trailhead Museum.
The house was built in 1850 for tobacco merchant Jean Baptiste Lang. It is one of our oldest homes and is a recognized example of the Anglo-Creole style. According to research by archivist and historian Sally Reeves, the Lang House is “the sole example of a house in Mandeville still standing with an archival elevation to document that it remains substantially as built.” She further observes “it deserves restoration.”
Lang House is a featured exhibit at the Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Interpretative Center where it is extolled for its representation of Mandeville’s unique architectural floor plan. It is a valuable connection to our past and to Louisiana’s dwindling inventory of historic properties. Mandeville is one of only 814 communities recognized by the national Preserve America program. The program designation is made to communities which actively protect and celebrate their heritage; that encourage the experience and appreciation of local historic resources through preservation, education, and heritage tourism programs. We would like to honor our designation by rehabilitating Jean Baptiste Lang House to its original condition and making it available for public visitation. It is a valuable connection to our past, a potential teaching tool for our future, and a tourism opportunity for our city.
The Old Mandeville Historic Association initiated a public-private partnership offer to the City of Mandeville in which the city would save the house structurally and relocate from the donor’s property to the city-owned site. The association now wishes to raise funds to rehab the interior of the house.
We hope you will share our vision for our unique old town – one of the few surviving Gulf Coast communities with a substantial stock of viable historic structures. Please see the rehabilitation in process under 'Rehab Lang House' where your contribution will be gratefully accepted and join us in the exciting save of this early Mandeville home.
The early Mandeville Northshore cottage finds one of its most outstanding and well documented examples in the 2600 block of Lakeshore at Wilkinson. We have found this massing and floor plan elsewhere in early Mandeville: the 1850, gable-sided, three or five-bay cottage, three rooms wide and one room deep with cabinet gallery and flanking cabinets following. The middle room is usually wider than a hall but narrower than the principal spaces, and chimneys were originally placed on the ends.
Across the front is a wooden gallery with box-like columns and, originally, a wooden balustrade. The doorway, at one time fitted with louvered shutters, features a multi-light transom very much in the style of 1850s Mandeville. Yet another gallery lies behind the cabinet range at the rear. As with many antebellum Mandeville cottages, the interior walls are finished in shiplap cypress planking.
The house was built about 1850 for Jean Baptiste Lang, a single, divorced tobacco merchant from Luxembourg, at that time, a province of Belgium. Lang migrated to New Orleans during the 1830s and married a Royal Street modiste, (Catherine Housssman) from whom he later had a rather unpleasant divorce. After the dissolution of his marriage, Lang in 1849 purchased the lots in Mandeville at this corner and had completed the house by 1852, probably sooner. He used it as a summer cottage, keeping the property until his death in1861. By that time he had moved back to Luxembourg, from which his correspondence to a friend and agent in New Orleans mentions the house and his choice of fabrics for furniture ordered from New Orleans, as well as his declining health. Because of the Civil War his executor after his death withheld the house from the market until 1866, explaining that prices in Mandeville were too depressed to move any sooner. At the time of the sale an important water color archival drawing was made to advertise the succession. Later owners have included the families of Augustin Bronson Seger, Richard Angell, and for many years in the 20th century, Will Jourdan.
Today, although missing its chimneys, the house now stands on Carroll Street, well out of harm's way, looking substantially as it did in the 1866 drawing. This is the sole example of a house in Mandeville still standing with an archival elevation to document that it remains substantially as built. After the initial "gutting" of the interior a myriad of colors and fascinating woodwork has come to life.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to this worthy cause.
Donate $75 and have a brick placed in the Jean Baptiste Lang/Kierr Family Garden. See "Pathway Bricks"link on this page.
Make a tax-deductible $1000 donation and become a "Friend of Jean Baptiste"
Free admission to OMHA events, including lectures, dinner-lectures and galas. Also 2 free t-shirts and 2 Home Tour Tickets and free admission to the Jean Baptiste Lang House !