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114-year-old DeRidder home restored

BY ELONA WESTON
DERIDDER -- The old house at 201 Royal Street seemed to call Joyce Jean Serhan's name.

"I fell in love with this house many years ago and it just killed me every time I drove by here to see how dilapidated it was," Serhan said. "It just seemed like it was a grandeur place to go in and renovate and give it back that grandeur building that it was at one time."

The 114-year-old home is known by locals as the "old Sartor home," after the family that lived there for years.

"It's just a beautiful place," Serhan said.

Serhan grew up in Pickering. After graduating from Leesville High School, she moved to California. She then returned to the area, and went to work for AT&T in Shreveport. She retired from the company in Denver, Colorado.

After retirement, Serhan attended real estate school and became a property manager. She currently works in three states -- Louisiana, Colorado and Nevada.

"It has been an experience. It's something I really enjoy doing. I enjoy renovating old places and it's not that I flip homes or anything like that, I do property management but then if I find a place that I really like, it's in the family forever," she said.

Serhan has a personal connection to the home.

"My great grandfather, James Monroe Jean, and my grandfather, Tom Jean, were carpenters and they designed and built this house. I am not sure if they built it to sell or if they built for themselves, but it was sold to Dr. Sartor (Thomas Ryan) and his family," she said.

Serhan may open a bed and breakfast at the home, once restorations are complete, or she may lease it out. She has named it the "Royal Plantation."

"My ultimate goal for this house is for the first bed and breakfast to open. We're still at the drawing board on that. We have been state-approved but I am open for commercial and residential -- any long leases," she said.  

Serhan said the house was in poor shape, but its bones are sound. There are original wood floors and even an old bath tub -- as old as the home. She said there's still some work left to do inside the house.

"It is still standing and according to the engineering report, this house, after 114 years, has only moved 0.1 percent. The report stated that it will still be standing after 100 years. I feel very lucky to have this house, but it has been a lot of hard work but it's very much worth it," she said.

Serhan said the original carriage house still stands on the property and will also be revamped.

Those interested in the home can contact Serhan by email at joyceserhan@aol.com.

The West Central News Center is gathering some history on the home, if you have information to share, call Elona at 537-5887.

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