On the corner of University and Johnston Street in Lafayette, you’ll find the Roy House, the oldest building on University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus.
The home, built by J. Arthur Roy in 1901, is the only home on the National Registry of Historical Places that UL owns. It is in need of major repairs, but an ongoing renovation project is working to transform it into a cultural hub.
“It’s the oldest building on UL’s campus and it’s the most historic building on campus. Our hope is it will become the home of the Center for Louisiana studies,” says Dr. Josh Caffery, director of the Center for the Louisiana Studies.
He hopes moving into the Roy House would give the center more visibility. The center is the home to the UL printing press The Center hopes to open a bookstore in the Roy House featuring the university’s publications as well as other Louisiana literature.
“In general, we want the downstairs to be a public space, said Caffery. “It will be a place where students can come and study. It will be where we can have small talks and classes, also where people can engage the archives of the Center for Louisiana studies- the archives of Cajun and Creole folklore.“
Contractors are working on the foundation and restoring the original beams on the front porch.
Jeoffery Thompson is the historical contractor and project manager.
“Because this is a complex process, and we want to save as many of the original materials as possible, I’ve brought them offsite in a controlled space so that we can work on them in the shop,“ Thompson said. “We will remake any parts that need to be remade or repair anything that’s original and try to keep everything intact as possible.”
Caffery said ideally, the Roy House will be an academic and cultural hub.
“We really want to make it a hub for people who can come here and then be directed to wherever it might be best for them to find what they’re looking for in the realm of Louisiana history and culture,“ Caffery said.
He said it will probably take the next three to four years to raise enough money to restore the home and open it to the public.