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Best of the South Awards 2023 Project 1

The recipient of the 2023 Best of the South (BOTS) Preserving Southern Excellence Award was awarded to the La Pointe Krebs House at the SESAH Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas in September.

The la Pointe Krebs House is the oldest confirmed building standing in the state of Mississippi.

Initially constructed in 1757, the house was constructed on a land Spanish land concession to Joseph Simon de La Pointe. De la Pointe is believed to have died in 1751, and the house was built for his daughter and son‐in‐law, Marie‐Josèphe and Hugo Ernestus Krebs. This initial construction along with additions made in 1762, and 1772 are made from poured in place tabby walls, while additions added in c.1790, c.1805, and 1820 are made from bousillage. The house retains the appearance it received following the 1820 additions. The house would be occupied by descendants of the la Pointe‐Krebs family until 1914. Jackson County, Mississippi purchased the home in 1939 with the intention of keeping it as a “preserved relic of early French explorations.” Restoration and maintained work carried out on the property between 1939 and 2005 was guided by well‐intentioned but apocryphal antidotes, rather than best preservation practices, leaving the building in a precarious state when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.

The rehabilitation and restoration of this venerable structure illustrates the development team’s ability to preserve a structure that was built in the mid-18th century (1757) and in spite of being located in a region prone to flooding and tropical cyclones, has weathered the test of time. The committee felt that, as a result, its condition was the most extreme and represented the most preservation-forward of the projects. The committee was equally impressed by the attention to historic detail and preservation methods, reintroducing tabby construction and bousillage, the latter of which is very locally specific and not well known by people outside the region. Furthermore, the project also has multiple educational aspects including a museological agenda and a biannual event, the Lime Burn, which generated publicity for the project and educational opportunities for the general public. The committee also felt strongly that the project underscored the preservation of early French explorations, which while critically important for the region’s history, have often been overshadowed by innumerable Anglo-American preservation projects. In conclusion, the committee was impressed with the overall scope of the project and tenacity of those involved, two attributes which are often necessary to see such important contributions to preservation come to fruition.

Project Information for the la Pointe Krebs House

Original construction: 1750s
Owner: Jackson County, Mississippi / Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Operator: Dwayne Coats, The La Pointe Krebs Foundation
Conservator: George T. Fore
Architect: Larry Albert (Albert & Robinson Architects, Hattiesburg, MS)
General Contractor: Chuck Collins (J.O. Collins, Biloxi, MS)

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