Caldwell House, Rectory featured in haunted exhibit
Acadiana has its share of haunted houses and buildings and two can be found in Abbeville.
Lyn Fontenot, a Lafayette painter, will open an exhibit called “Haunted Houses of Acadiana” on Saturday. The exhibit is 41 watercolor paintings of haunted houses located throughout Acadiana.
Two of the 41 are the Caldwell House and the St. Mary Magdalen Rectory, both located in Abbeville.
Fontenot’s exhibit will be at the Architects and Artist Gallery at 200 Jefferson Street in Lafayette.
The rectory has already been featured in a book of haunted houses in south Louisiana.
But the Caldwell House, owned by Mark and Darlene Frederick, is new to the scene of being haunted. It’s only been tagged “haunted” over the last 15 to 20 years and it is more than 100 years old.
According to Mae Mayeux, who oversees the Caldwell House and lives in the house, she has heard stories about the house being haunted. The most recent and the one story that put the Caldwell House on the haunted house map is the one of a female ghost being seen in a picture standing next to a window on the second floor. The Gaspard family, who was living there, took a photo of the front of the house when they were moving out. When the photo was developed, the ghost was seen in the photo.
However, after a photo ran in the Abbeville Meridiional showing what looked like a ghost, stories of the house being haunted began to surface.
Mayeux said, “I am not ready to say the house is not haunted. I have talked to too many people who have stories.”
The Caldwell House was built in 1908 by owner Vernon Lee Caldwell. He and his family owned a brick making business. His wife is said to have been on display in one of the front rooms after she died.
A Gaspard family did major renovations to the house in the last 20 years and, according to Mayeux, the family had unexplained experiences.
One ghost story is about a haunted closet underneath the stair case on the first floor. A little girl is said to have been punished and was put into the closet. Story has it that when the Gaspard family lived there, each night they would close the door to closet under the staircase and each morning the door was opened. Mayeux said the Gaspard family put toys in the closet to entertain the little girl’s ghost.
In the kitchen, the Gaspards have smelled brownies being cooked despite not having a working stove. Other stories are balls rolling on the pool table upstairs with no one in the room and hearing children running up and down the stairs when no children were in the house.
Today, the house is rented out for wedding ceremonies, receptions, festival visits, photo shoots, baby showers and birthday parties.
Mayeux said some men who get married in the house and sleep in one of the rooms for the honeymoon are scared they see a ghost. She said, however, in the two years she has run the house, not once has she had a ghost encounter. “When I first got here, I did make my peace with them,” she said.
For more information about the Caldwell House visit its Website” thecaldwell.com
Here are some of Fontenot’s other haunted paintings and what towns are they from.
•“Biessenberger Home” • “Haunted House on South Pierce St.”
•“The Halliburton Building”
• “Ile Carencro” • “Union Army Burials”
• “Slave Cabin” • “Southwell Cottage“ .
•“Shadows on the Teche”
• “Broussard Home”
• “Old Le Bourgeois Building”
•“The Estorge Norton House”
• “Colonial Home”