Co-authors Diny Nolan Landen and Tom Whitehead were featured during a book signing at Northwestern State University to mark the release of “Cherokee Plantation on the Cane River,” which documents the history of the historic home and the Prudhomme and Murphy families and their descendants who have called Cherokee home since 1837. The book, published by the Cherokee Plantation Foundation, gives historic facts and dates, as well as stories and family tales that personalize the history of the plantation.
Landen is the granddaughter of Theodosia Nolan, a preservationist and patron of the arts who undertook the restoration of Cherokee, her grandfather’s antebellum home, in 1972. Her meticulous restoration led to Cherokee’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Nolan passed away in 2014.
Historical documentation of Cherokee is part of the text and a room by room tour of the National Register site gives readers a personal tour of the property. Social events and guests who have visited over the years are described, and the family’s favorite mint julep recipe is shared. Commissioned photos for the book were shot by Louisiana photographer Philip Gould.
Cherokee Plantation is an example of an early French Creole plantation house. It is elevated six feet off the ground on brick piers. The timbers are hand-hewn cypress and the walls are filled with bousillage made from Spanish moss, animal hair and mud from Cane River. Cherokee was the site of the last legal duel in Louisiana that took place in 1839. The home is named for the wild Cherokee roses that were sourced from the property and transplanted to the front of the house.
Landen said she wrote the book to document the history of Cherokee and honor her grandmother. She brought Whitehead onboard because of his knowledge of the history and people of the area, as well as his long friendship with Mrs. Nolan.
The hardback book is available for purchase at $35 a copy and is available at Georgia’s Gift Shop in downtown Natchitoches and at the Melrose Plantation gift shop. Books are available online at www.cherokee1937.com.
Proceeds from book sales will support maintenance of Cherokee Plantation, which opens for tours and special events. For more information, contact Landen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 397-0602