Just a half-hour from Baton Rouge lies one of Louisiana’s most exquisite hidden gems: the incredible assemblage of centuries-old homes and antiques that has been a passion project of Jack and Pat Holden for 50 years. And now the 1700s-built Maison Chenal and LaCour House, along with the rest of their “tout ensemble” of treasures in Pointe Coupee Parish, have been entrusted to new owners who share the Holdens’ love of American history.
Sam and Nori Lee hail from the West Coast, having spent most of their lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and now residing in Reno, Nevada. The couple felt an immediate connection to the Holden’s property—the subject of a 2015 inRegister cover story—when they spotted its real estate listing online and then last year visited in person.
“When we first stepped foot through the front door, I was blown away,” Nori recalls. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it—just being here and feeling the love that was put into it.”
The purchase fit right in with the couple’s love for their country, having both emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong as young children.
“Sam would tell you this: America has been so great to us as people coming from another country, and we feel so blessed that we have had so many opportunities in our lives,” Nori says. “And as we traveled across the states in our RV before the pandemic and especially during the pandemic, that kind of deepened our love for history. When you actually see and walk the road that George Washington walked or see Abraham Lincoln’s home—things like that just really made us appreciate American history even more.”
Nori says the Lees plan to make this site into an educational research center and, perhaps later, a living history museum such as the one at Vermilionville in Lafayette. She says Sam also envisions building a standalone visitor center that would house rotating exhibits on the varied cultures that played such a part in this area’s history.
As for Nori, she dreams of turning the land itself into a botanical garden, which taps into her own love of flowers. Also on the couple’s list of long-term ideas is turning a portion of the property into a working historical farm that would generate crops and show what people here used to grow and eat centuries ago.
Read the full story from inRegister magazine.