Cheniere caminada survivor still standing
The Curole family home was one of the few structures that survived the devastating 1893 Hurricane at Cheniere Caminada on the southeastern coast of Louisiana. And after powerful Hurricane Ida pounded the same area in 2021, the 130-old Curole House is still beating the odds.
1893 hurricane deadliest in Louisiana
The 1893 Hurricane is part of the family legacy of Windell Curole. He just retired from managing the South Lafourche Levee District for the past four decades. He spent his career improving the Lafourche hurricane levees to prevent a repeat of the 1893 disaster. Curole’s ancestors lived in the beachfront community of Cheniere Caminada when the great hurricane struck. “We lost more people in that storm than any storm that ever hit the Louisiana coast,” Curole explains. Over 2,000 people died. And at Cheniere Caminada, half of the population of 1,500 residents perished in the high winds and killer storm surge.
a family of survivors
All of his great ancestors were there, Windell Curole tells me. “My grandfather was born in February of 1893 (seven months before the storm). He was one of the few babies that survived.” Curole explains that the greatest percentage of lives lost was among the children. After the storm passed and the water receded, the house built by Curole’s great uncle, Nicholas Curole, was one of the few structures still standing. “It was knocked off its pillars, but the house stayed together”, Curole tells me. Nicholas Curole disassembled his home, made of sturdy cypress timbers, and moved it by boat up the bayou to the town of Cut Off. The white Curole house stood near Bayou Lafourche for the next 130 years.
another blow from hurricane ida
The Lafourche Parish area suffered another destructive blow from Category 4 Hurricane Ida in 2021. The fierce 150-mile-an-hour winds ripped off part of the roof of the Curole house. But again, the wooden structure remained intact.
For more than a year, the house sat abandoned along LA Highway 1. Then Natalie Lafont, a New Orleans real estate broker and a native of Cut Off, bought the old house. “I’ve always admired the house,” Lafont said. She adds, “It’s an awesome house and it’s my privilege to bring it back together.”
another move for the 1893 Hurricane survivor
Construction crews carefully cut the Curole house in half. Tthe two sections were loaded onto trailers and moved about a mile away to a new location. Workers will piece the old house back together at its new home on the opposite side of Bayou Lafourche, behind the house where Lafont grew up. She plans a total renovation of the old house, which she plans to live in when she retires.
curole house move featured on tv
1893 Hurricne worth remembering
You can learn more about the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane of 1893 in this Heart of Louisiana story that I produced in 2011. There is a memorial to the victims of that storm on Louisiana Highway 1 near Grand Isle. The memorial is located at the Cheniere Caminada Cemetery, which contains the brick tombs of some of the victims of the 1893 hurricane.