St. Martinville Post Office (La Maison Duchamp)
Backstory and Context
St. Martinville, famous in its early days as the “style center” of south Louisiana, was settled by refugees of the French nobility during the French Revolution. This heritage remains evident in its culture and in physical forms such as the La Maison Duchamp. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, this 1876 building was constructed in the Classic Revival-style by David Sandoz as a town residence for his daughter Ameilie and her husband Eugene August Duchamp. Mr. Duchamp and his family came to St. Martinville from the West Indies and the home was designed as a replica of his sugar plantation in Martinique.
Mr. Duchamp, a planter, served as the mayor of St. Martinville and president of the St. Martin Parish Police Jury and was a noted business leader and civic worker. After 1884 Duchamp sold the building to a merchant, Husville P. Fournet. The building was used as a residence as well as a mercantile and for a brief period as the town’s high school. From 1938 to 1976 La Maison Duchamp was a U.S. Post Office, the only known private residence purchased and rehabilitated for use as a United States Post Office. Conveyed to the City of St. Martinville through the Historic Surplus Property program in 1976, it is open for tours, with a reception room on the first floor and rental space on the second.