Sans Souci

Sans Souci

Built Circa 1840
219 East Vermilion Street
Lafayette Historic Register Number 058
Designated March 20, 2003

The Sans Souci building may be the oldest commercial building in Lafayette’s downtown area. While the actual construction date is not known, the building’s long history within the community is certain. Built by Richard Chargois, an early business leader in Lafayette, it remained in the Chargois family until 1940. At the time of its construction, the property was considered on the outskirts of town, and it welcomed guests to town as the Lafayette Inn. It later served as Lafayette’s first post office. Over the years it was home to a restaurant, a carpenter’s store, a grocery market, a tinsmith shop, a cobbler and a newspaper. In 1940, Mrs. Frederick Nehrbass purchased the property, saving the building from demolition and rehabilitated the building into an antiques store. In 1943 Mrs. Nehrbass opened the Sans Souci Bookstore with Ms. Edith Garland Dupré, and the bookstore remained in operation for several decades. Ms. Dupré is best known for the establishment of the Dupré Library on UL Lafayette’s campus. Sans Souci Bookstore suffered deterioration when Downtown experienced local business disinvestment and activity declined for several years, especially through the late 1970s to the end of the 1980s. In 2001 the building was rehabilitated again into an Art Gallery for Lafayette’s local crafts guild. The urban park built around the building also shares its name. The building remains the home of Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallerie.
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