Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fisherman's Castle, aka Irish Bayou Castle

One thing I did this semester was to go visit the castle. I had been driving past it for years on my way to New Orleans. I noticed after Katrina that it seemed to sit a little crooked on it's foundation. For the first time it occurred to me that someone might tear it down before I had really seen it or found out what it was all about. So one afternoon, following a rather disappointing day in the academic arena, I took out for parts unknown. Those part ended up being Fisherman's Castle.

I didn't exactly know where I was going but followed the road and ended up in a little fishing community called Irish Bayou. They are very close knit and look out for one another since Katrina. So when I cruised by the castle and then came back and parked, people took notice. I was unsure if anyone was at home. It didn't look like it and I wanted to ask permission before I took any pictures. Finally I got out and approached the front door. As I walked across the yard, I noticed a woman approaching. She was pushing a baby carriage and her dogs were with her. She had her cell phone at the ready. She turned out to be the neighborhood watch. Once I had introduced myself and she found out why I was there she was very friendly. It turns out that the castle has been burgled several times since Katrina. She told me the history of it and walked with me as I took my pictures. As I walked she informed me that the castle has been written up many times and many people have blogged it. So after my visit I was able to double check my facts.

The castle was built in 1981 by Simon Villemarette. He originally planned for it to be a secondary tourist attraction for the 1984 World fair in New Orleans. The castle is far from the center of town however and the plans to get tour buses and boats to stop by fell through. Since then it has had several owners. It is now owned by a couple from Virginia who plan to make it into a bed and breakfast eventually.

The castle suffered some damage during Katrina and sits a little crookedly on it's foundation as a result. It was the only building that did survive in Irish Bayou. My new friend pointed out the foundations sitting next to the castle and then she pointed out a house sitting in the bayou. She told me that the water just picked it up and dropped it down there. According to her, there are still magazines and a coffee cup on the table by the sofa should I care to go look. I didn't although she would have willingly taken me out in her boat. I didn't take her up on her offer.

I don't know about you but I think that this looks like a pretty cool place to live.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI, the castle does not sit crooked from Katrina. It was like that before the storm. I was just there visiting Charlie and Jean last weekend, but I remember being out there in 2003 and my husband pointing out to me that it was crooked then. It's because it was built on a marsh and the ground just settled. There are no plans to make it into a bed and breakfest. It has damage on the inside from Katrina and they have been and still are busy with repairs. It's interesting to see the inside as well as the outside. Lots of wrong info going around about this place.