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Coleen Perilloux Landry | all galleries >> Galleries >> My Louisiana Gallery > Garconniere at Houma's House
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April 2005 Coleen Perilloux Landry

Garconniere at Houma's House

Darrow, Louisiana

The word "Garcon" means boy in French. It was the custom on the larger plantations to have a separate house for boys once they reached their teens. The garconniere was used strictly by the family and their male visitors. It was an appendage of the house.
This is a small Garconierre on a plantation. Some plantations where there were more sons had larger houses. And, in smaller plantation houses the attic was considered the garconniere.
This had nothing to do with Slavery.

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Michael Khairallah 11-Aug-2016 00:48
I think everyone missed the mark. A garconniere was built to house "visiting" young men who came to court the young ladies of the house. It was a custom that young single men could not sleep "under the same roof" as young single girls in the household. And since it took days for a young suitor to visit a girl, they didn't just come for a day, they spent days, even weeks at the home so they could get to know the girl and the family could get to know them. Consequently, if you had an unmarried daughter and a suitor came to visit, he would stay in the garconniere to accommodate the customs of the times.
bunny missbrenner 02-Dec-2014 22:05
Was this Garconniere for Plantation owner sons or slave sons. My friend is purchasing a Garconniere in NOLA and she stated it was used for slaves. I find that that interesting, yet hard to believe. Could someone give me more info on this...thank you
George A. Trosper 21-Mar-2013 20:02
The "reason for this custom" was precisely so that teen boys could be in reach of feminine influence but not stifled by it.

Of course that was in the days when patriarchy meant something.
nellie contreras 20-Aug-2009 21:21
well i hope to have one of my own for sons in the future. but really i was almost certain it was just for young men. i accepted what i was told i never thought about anything else not even the "kissing cousins" bit. but i always assumed they were two storied and both levels were used. but this is the only picture i have ever seen of them, before it was just my imagination. i know anne rice speaks of these in her books. but yes Coleen, this is a wonderful picture. too bad we cant see it in paint. very pretty name too! =]
Guest 21-Oct-2008 02:38
Beleive me, the idea is very good, boys will be boys. ;)
movie fan 04-Aug-2008 13:07
I just watched 'Suddenly Last Summer", and they mentioned a garconniere. (Katherine Hepburn as Violet Venable is describing her son Sebastian's garconniere, along with his atelier; she's talking to the doctor played by Montgomery Clift while they are in Sebastian's garden at the beginning of the movie. The story takes place in New Orleans.) Anyway, while looking up the word 'garconniere' I came across your beautiful photo.
JS 07-May-2006 00:39
I was discussing the custom of the "garconniere" earlier today. I thought the boys were moved out to the garconniere out of convenience (i.e., to make room for the other children in the main house), but one of my friends noted that she had always understood that the boys were moved out to protect the younger children in the main house. Remember, those old plantations (e.g., The Shadows in New Iberia comes to mind) often had extended family under the same roof. Don't want any of those "kissing cousins", now do we?
Guest 16-May-2005 05:49
What an interesting story. Love the house!
Paul Dovie Jr23-Apr-2005 13:14
Love3 the oak tree in the foreground. Just wish the sky had not washed out.
Guest 20-Apr-2005 22:09
interresting story, thanks for sharing. Beautiful picture
laine8220-Apr-2005 19:25
I got this far when pbase went pear shaped & as time wore on my eyes told me to go to bed & try again tomorrow.
Coleen, this is on of your most
Cliff20-Apr-2005 05:16
Gorgeous light - perfectly done Coleen and so interesting!
sschex20-Apr-2005 02:06
Nicely composed and exposed.
Pepe Zyman20-Apr-2005 00:43
Cool story.
Robin Reid20-Apr-2005 00:30
Fascinating. Thanks.
Stu20-Apr-2005 00:19
Interesting story, Coleen. It's good to learn something new!
Guest 19-Apr-2005 20:14
Very colonial! Nice comp.
Gayle P. Clement19-Apr-2005 20:12
Very nice composition.
Antonis Sarantos19-Apr-2005 19:28
Very interesting composition!
Guest 19-Apr-2005 19:20
Interesting story, great photo!
Guest 19-Apr-2005 19:19
Hmmm, I could use one now to escape my teen age sons!
Sheena Woodhead19-Apr-2005 18:40
A beautiful building, I love he roof. Nice composition with the tree in the foreground
northstar3719-Apr-2005 18:22
You're quite right, heheh. It's a great looking house though!
poetry66619-Apr-2005 16:40
A lovely story Coleen. I love the picture and great design of the little house, the shutters add to the character too. Well done!
JeremyGood19-Apr-2005 16:37
Beautiful photo, great foreground framing.
Guest 19-Apr-2005 15:43
Interesting story and a wonderful photo to go with it. Very nice, Collen.
markvm19-Apr-2005 15:18
Very nice, Coleen! I really like the composition.
Adalberto Tiburzi19-Apr-2005 15:13
Lovely photo, and interesting information about the origin of the word "garçonnière".
beverley harrison19-Apr-2005 15:06
thats such a pretty little building and i like how the tree is in the foreground, very nice.
jypsee19-Apr-2005 15:03
I wanna live there!!
Donna Lear19-Apr-2005 14:50
This is a beautiful image, Coleen; very evocative. The framing of the house with the tree is wonderful - and the history of it intriguing. I'd never heard of that custom before.