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LeBlanc - Sorapuru -- St. John The Baptist Parish

Joseph Terence dit Villeneuve Le Blanc, Judge
http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=kingharry&id=I19226

1850 United States Federal Census
http://www.geocities.com/latourgenealogicalresearch/leblancjudgeterence1850census.jpg

Name: Terence Le Blanc
Age: 74
Estimated birth year: abt 1776
Birth Place: Louisiana
Gender: Male
Home in 1850
(City,County,State): St John The Baptist, Louisiana

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1880 United States Federal Census

Name: Adolphe Sorapuru
Home in 1880: 1st Ward, Saint John The Baptist, Louisiana
Age: 61
Estimated birth year: abt 1819
Birthplace: Louisiana
Relation to head-of-household: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Ida
Father's birthplace: Louisiana
Mother's birthplace: Louisiana
Neighbors: View others on page
Marital Status: Widower
Race: Mulatto
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:

Blind:

Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane: View image
Household Members: Name Age
Adolphe Sorapuru 61
Adolphe Sorapuru 44
Anais Sorapuru 26
Paul Sorapuru 4
Victoria Sorapuru 3
Adrien Sorapuru 1
G. Sorapuru 41
Ida Sorapuru 25
Henriette Sorapuru 20
Louie Sorapuru 16
Marie Sorapuru 12
Donaisien Sorapuru 10
Josephine Sorapuru 7

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The Sorapuru House

http://www.geocities.com/latourgenealogicalresearch/leblancsorapuruhouse1

The Sorapuru House (c. 1825) is a one-story, frame French Creole cottage with interior Federal style detailing. It is located within the rural community of Lucy, which lies near Edgard on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish. Although it has experienced alterations over the years, the dwelling’s National Register eligibility remains intact.

Characteristics of the Creole style found in the Sorapuru Home include:

1) a Class III umbrella roof with gabled ends (see attachment).

2) the fact that the building is raised several feet on brick piers.

3) a hall-less Creole floorplan which is three rooms wide and two rooms deep. The central rooms (salle, or parlor, in the front range and dining room in the rear) are slightly larger than the flanking chambres (bedrooms). The two ranges are flanked by a full length gallery on the facade and a cabinet/loggia range (the loggia is now enclosed, see below) at the rear.
4) bousillage walls.

5) exposed beaded ceiling beams on the gallery and in six rooms. Those in the salle (parlor) are arranged in an unusual box-like configuration.

6) four French wraparound mantels. These display Federal styling, with layered mantel shelves and paneled sides. (Federal styling is also evident on the moldings which comprise the interior door and window surrounds.)

7) six sets of interior ten-pane French doors with old, wavy glass; an additional set of these doors is stored in the home’s attic.

8) four sets of paneled wooden double doors.

Additional features which attest to the home’s early age are the large beams found beneath the house and the French doors’ hardware, which includes ram’s horn hinges and gravity latches. The home also has simple cornices, a picture rail in the salle, and the remnant of a chair rail in one room within the rear range. Interestingly, no other sign of a chair rail can be found in the residence.

The following items comprise the alterations experienced by the Sorapuru House since its c. 1825 construction:

1) the complete recovering of the exterior (including the facade) with clapboards. However, a small portion of the loggia wall reveals its original plaster sheathing.

2) the outward extension and enclosure of the loggia to serve as a connector to double kitchens built in the early twentieth century. (Double kitchens were desired because the residence housed two families at this time.)

3) the conversion of one cabinet into a modern bath and the subdivision of the other to create a bath and dressing/storage space.

4) the removal of four sets of original French doors from the facade, and their replacement with single leaf doors featuring multiple panes. As mentioned above, one of the removed sets of doors is stored in the attic.

5) the c. 1880 replacement of older Creole style gallery columns or colonnettes with solid rectangular posts featuring molded capitals.

6) the addition of simple, almost primitive looking moldings at the edge of some of the home’s older Federal style moldings.

7) the replacement of the original windows. Those currently in the home contain six panes in the top sash and two panes in the lower sash.

8) the probable replacement of the roof structure. Although remnants of a braced frame remain, the majority of the roof exhibits more modern construction techniques. It should be noted that old materials containing mortises have been reused in several places.

Despite the changes outlined above, the Sorapuru House clearly retains its identity as an early French Creole cottage, and it is this identity upon which its architectural significance is based. As a rare example of this once common style, the Sorapuru Home is a strong candidate for National Register listing.

Non-Contributing Element

One non-contributing element dating to the twentieth century stands on the property. It is a wooden garage and is being listed as non-contributing because it is not contemporary with the much-older home being nominated.

Significant Dates: c. 1825
Architect/Builder: unknown
Criterion: C

The Sorapuru House is locally significant in the area of architecture as a rare surviving example of St. John the Baptist Parish’s earliest and most important architectural heritage (i.e., the French Creole style). The dwelling’s Federal style mantels are also rare and, thus, contribute to the home’s importance.

The area which became St. John the Baptist Parish was fairly well settled by the end of the eighteenth century. Created in 1807, the parish grew to become a prosperous sugar planting area. Although St. John was part of the so-called German Coast, its dominant cultural influence was French Creole. Presumably there were once a few hundred Creole residences of various sizes in the parish. Today, out of a total of over 1,100 buildings identified in the parish survey as being fifty years of age or older, the Sorapuru House is one of only about ten which remain to portray the area’s Creole environment and lifestyle. The home’s floorplan, ten light French doors, exposed beaded ceiling beams, and mantels which wrap around the flue in the French manner all mark the building as an early and important example of the Creole style.
Creole houses such as the Sorapuru Home represent St. John’s earliest architectural development and are the primary representatives of its well known Creole cultural heritage. It should be noted that in any given French parish in Louisiana, the Creole buildings are generally considered the most important. This is because the French Creole heritage is the major element distinguishing Louisiana from other southern states and in many ways forms its cultural identity.

The home is also important as a rare example of Federal styling. Within St. John the Baptist Parish, only the Sorapuru House and the much larger Whitney (National Register) have mantels in this style.

Historical Note

The Sorapurus, a family of Creoles of Color, have lived in St. John the Baptist Parish at least since the late 1700s. At that time the farming family was also part owner of a sugar mill. Later, Louis Sorapuru was an early postmaster of Lucy, while Adolphe Sorapuru served as the parish’s Recorder of Mortgages in the 1850s. The family built the home c. 1825, and Sorapuru descendants lived there continuously until 1996. Although the building is currently vacant, the Sorapurus are interested in preserving the home.

NOTE: As an old and prosperous Creole of Color family, the Sorapurus may be important enough in St. John the Baptist Parish’s history to justify nominating their home on historical grounds. However, there is currently not enough information available to evaluate and document such a case to the standards the Register requires. Hopefully, this can be accomplished at a future date.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Division of Historic Preservation. Historic Structures Survey of St. John the Baptist Parish.

Historical sketch of Sorapuru family; copy in National Register file.

Site visit by National Register staff.

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Document Date: 4/8/1815
Document Number: 520
Notary: Pierre Pedasclaux
Depository: housed in parish courthouses.
Location: Orleans (including Chapitoulas).
Language of this record: French
A Free person of African descent is involved in this document
Seller: Josephine Foucher (BLACK)
http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=kingharry&id=I19224
Buyer: Therence Leblanc
Where the slave went: St John Baptist
Name: Eleonore
Name Type: Partilly coded, overwhelmingly European
Gender: female
Race: black
Age: 20
sold or inventoried in a group
Members of Group: 4 slaves (family of 2 and 2 others)
Value of Sale: 1800
Sale Common Price: 1800

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Document Date: 4/8/1815
Document Number: 520
Notary: Pierre Pedasclaux
Depository: housed in parish courthouses.
Location: Orleans (including Chapitoulas).
Language of this record: French
A Free person of African descent is involved in this document
Seller: Josephine Foucher (BLACK)
http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=kingharry&id=I19224
Buyer: Therence Leblanc
Where the slave went: St John Baptist
Name: Jacques
Name Type: Partilly coded, overwhelmingly European
Gender: male
Race: black
Age: 27
sold or inventoried in a group
Members of Group: 4 slaves (family of 2 and 2 others)
Value of Sale: 1800
Sale Common Price: 1800

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Document Date: 4/8/1815
Document Number: 520
Notary: Pierre Pedasclaux
Depository: housed in parish courthouses.
Location: Orleans (including Chapitoulas).
Language of this record: French
A Free person of African descent is involved in this document
Seller: Josephine Foucher (BLACK)
Buyer: Therence Leblanc
Where the slave went: St John Baptist
Name: Charlotte
Name Type: Partilly coded, overwhelmingly European
Gender: female
Race: black
Age: 26
sold or inventoried in a group
Members of Group: 4 slaves (family of 2 and 2 others)
Value of Sale: 1800
Sale Common Price: 1800
Member of a family group
Family: mom and girl
Children: 1
Females: 1

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Document Date: 4/8/1815
Document Number: 520
Notary: Pierre Pedasclaux
Depository: housed in parish courthouses.
Location: Orleans (including Chapitoulas).
Language of this record: French
A Free person of African descent is involved in this document
Seller: Josephine Foucher (BLACK)
Buyer: Therence Leblanc
Where the slave went: St John Baptist
Name: Eulalie
Name Type: Partilly coded, overwhelmingly European
Gender: female
Race: black
Age: 6
sold or inventoried in a group
Members of Group: 4 slaves (family of 2 and 2 others)
Value of Sale: 1800
Sale Common Price: 1800
Member of a family group
Family: mom and girl
Slave's mother is listed in the document
Mother's Age: 26
Mother's Race: black
This slave sold with his or her mother.

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1850 United States Federal Census
http://www.geocities.com/latourgenealogicalresearch/leblancjudgeterence1850census.jpg

Name: Josephine Fouche
Age: 66
Estimated birth year: abt 1784
Birth Place: Louisiana
Race: Mulatto
Gender: Female
Home in 1850
(City,County,State): St John The Baptist, Louisiana

Harrison Thomas LaTour
LaTour Genealogical Research Services


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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