Posted: Jun 19, 2012 3:25 PM by AP
NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) - A fire broke out early Tuesday at Natchitoches' Levy East Bed and Breakfast, gutting the historic structure.
It happened about 5:45 a.m. and took firefighters about an hour to get the blaze under control. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. Authorities do not believe anyone was inside when the fire started and the blaze is under investigation.
Levy East Bed and Breakfast dates back to the 1860s. Before the fire, the business was not operational. Some parts of the building that did not get damaged will be saved, officials said.
Natchitoches historian Iris Harper told KTBS-TV that the house is listed on the National Registry of Historic Homes.
It was originally part of the area's vast Jewish community in the 1800s, first built by a doctor and was only one story. Then it was purchased in 1891 by the Levy family, who were Jewish merchants and part of the original Jewish settlers, who added a floor to the structure.
According to Harper, there are currently more than 50 historic homes in Natchitoches.
"The majority are private," she said. All together there are 100 rooms to rent in the area that generate about $3 million per year in tourism dollars in Natchitoches.
Katherine Harper, Iris Harper's daughter and a member of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, agrees with her mother that the loss of the property has been devastating.
"It feels like we lost a member of our town," she said