The house called Chretienne Point in Louisiana was
once one of the finest
plantation homes in the state and played host to colorful characters like the pirate Jean Lafitte.
Restored today, this photo was taken in harder times.
The haunting of Chretienne Point is perhaps one of the most tragic in Louisiana. It has all of the makings of the classic southern tale with money and murder, a beautiful mansion and a spirited lady.... who still haunts the house today. Felicite Chretienne was a fiery and capable woman and her ghost remains behind... watching over the house which owes its very existence to her memory.
The tract of land upon which Chretienne Point stands was purchased from the Spaniards in 1800 by Hypolyte Chretienne, a French colonist, who built the house and started a cotton plantation. In the building of his wealth, he became friends with the notorious smuggler and pirate, Jean Lafitte, a man for which much of the wealth of the region was responsible.
The house and land later became the property of his son, Hypolyte II, and this younger man married a passionate and troublesome young woman named Felicite Neda, the daughter of a neighboring Spanish landowner. Felicite had a well-deserved reputation for unconventionality and a quick temper. The Chretienne quarrels became legendary but the two of them managed to remained together for years, until Hypolyte died from yellow fever.
Felicite never hesitated in taking over the management of the plantation, which by now included the house and farm and over 500 slaves. Never known to be lady-like by the standards of the day, Felicite proved to be an excellent manager and card player, by which fortune ruled she would continue to increase her wealth. Her husband's, and her father-in-law's, friendship with Jean Lafitte stayed strong and he was a frequent guest at the house.
While the pirate's friendship never wavered, his men were not always so gentlemanly. After the death of Lafitte, his men became renegades and turned from organized privateering to just plain thievery. The came one night to break into Felicite's home, knowing of the wealth that was hidden there. They arrived and found the door locked, but quickly broke it down.
When Felicite heard them enter the house, she gathered up a pistol and when down to meet the marauders. She encountered the first pirate at the head of the grand staircase and promptly shot him between the eyes with the pistol. The top of the man's head came off and blood sprayed over the staircase as he tumbled down. The other pirates, not expecting resistance, fled the house and did not return.
Unfortunately, Felicite could not live forever and she died several years later. Her son, named Hypolyte for his father and grandfather was left alone. He was a cripple with poor health problems, but he managed the plantation to the best of his ability. He was the one responsible for saving the house from Union troops in 1863. He climbed out of his sick bed and tottered the upper balcony railings, making a Masonic sign with his shaking hands. The Union commander, as it happened, was also a Freemason and he spared the house, although the outbuildings were destroyed.
As the years passed, the house remained in the possession of the family and it remains a private residence owned by the ancestors of the original Chretienne builders today... although not all of them have actually departed from the house.
According to legend, the ghost of Felicite Chretienne still walks in the grand mansion today. She has been seen and experienced here many times over the years and some say that you can even hear the sound of the fateful pistol shot that saved the house, still echoing in the stairway on certain nights. They say you can also hear the sound of that pirate's body as it falls and tumbles down the steps.
One thing is known, the bloodstains left by that pirate were never removed from the staircase. It has been said that the blood cannot be washed away and on those nights when the sound of the gunshot is heard again, the blood becomes liquid once more.
Chretienne Point is located in St. Landry Parish, near Opelousas and about 25 miles north of Lafayette. It is a private residence today.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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