The Dansereau House is nestled in the historic section of downtown Thibodaux, Louisiana. The view from the fifth-story cupola includes retail shops, a variety of restaurants, local businesses, and other historic residences. It is from this cupola that, back in the later 1800’s, Dr. Dansereau would scan the city in the evening. Lighted signals in the windows below indicated an ill patient who required their services.
The Dansereau House was built in 1847 as a one-story building with a central hall plan. The original owner, James Scuddy, purchased the land from the city of Thibodaux’s founder, Henry Schyler Thibodaux. Francois Philip Dansereau, originally from Canada, purchased the home from Scuddy’s widow in 1852 at a sheriff’s sale. After the civil war, the Dansereau Family commissioned Henri Thiberg, who was in prison at the time, to design the building as it is today, adding two upper floors, a two-tiered gallery, an attic, and the cupola.
Mrs. Jane Naquin, who still resides down the street, remembers going to Dr. Dansereau’s office as a child. At that time, she said, the main hall floors were dirt. Horse and buggies carrying the sick patients, entered through the front door area, dropped off the patient for treatment in the adjoining rooms, and exited through the rear of the building.
Members of the Dansereau Family practiced medicine in the house until the early 1940’s. It is reported that the first cataract surgery in the United States was performed there. In 1947 it was purchased by Mr. V.L. Caldwell and family. The Caldwells again renovated the house, and later initiated the process of listing it on the National Historic Register in 1978. The Caldwell’s lived there until their deaths. Because of their lengthy ownership, the house is sometimes known as the Caldwell House.
Then in 1996, the house was purchased by a group of investors and opened as The Dansereau House Restaurant and Inn. The house was brought to life, hosting weddings and special events in its historic atmosphere.
Purchased again by a local businessman in 2003, extensive renovation began on the third floor, as well as the rest of the house. The third floor was remodeled into a palatial set of suites. The house remained as a single residence until 2009 when State Representative Damon Baldone purchased it at auction with the intent to open the house back up to the public as a Bed & Breakfast and special events venue.