JACKSON — The old Levy House has had more than a few lives. Over almost 200 years, it has been a residence, boarding house, hotel, school for young women and a restaurant, but its present use as Village Studios is probably the most unusual of all.
Upstairs it's once again a residence, but downstairs it's a combination office, film set, storage for props and a party venue.
"It has been all kinds of things," said Jan Worthy, a longtime volunteer with the Jackson Assembly, which is conducting tours of the expansive property where it now sits as part of the 52nd annual Jackson Assembly Antiques and Art Show March 24-26.
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The building, originally located across the street from the Presbyterian Church on Bank Street in Jackson, is believed to have been built in the early 1800s. In 1825, the property it was on was sold to Jane G. Andrews, who established the Jackson Female Seminary and added numerous outbuildings. The main building, thought to be the home, was used as a residence for Andrews, assistant teachers and some older scholars at the school, which was operated until 1840.
In 1871, the property and house were sold to Abraham Levy, a local merchant, and his wife, Yvette, who passed it to their son, Louis Levy, in 1882. In February 1909, the property was purchased by Ardelia Pemberton, who lived there with her husband, William B. Pemberton, and leased out rooms as the City Hotel.
After the Pembertons died in 1935, the property passed to several owners and then went into a gradual decline. Finally in 1967, the house was purchased by Robert E. Couhig, who moved it in three sections to its current location on La. 68 as part of a development he and his wife, "Nootsie," called Asphodel Village. The Couhigs restored the building and used it as a restaurant, known for home-cooked meals and Asphodel bread.
They made no major architectural changes to the home, which has a wide gallery across the front and a roof supported by 38-foot heart pine beams with no splicing.
In 2003, the site name was changed to the Historic Plantation Village as it continued to be operated as a bed and breakfast under several managers.
These days, the building is part of the large complex known as Village Studios, operated by London-born actor, director and producer Jake Seal and his wife, Jodie, a former Miss Australia. Actor Ethan Hawke, also a director and producer, has recently made several movies on the site and spends months at a time at the facility, which includes 18 cottages.
The home, which is also used as a party venue, contains a two-story veranda recently added to the west side. It overlooks the village as well as a wooded area that is part of the property.
Tours will include the Levy House; the old McManus Depot, moved to the property by the Couhigs years ago; a soundstage; a movie set of a New York apartment; a treehouse built for the movie "Blaze;" and Mackie's Bar, a pub on the property.
Jackson Assembly Antiques and Art Show
The 52nd annual event will feature fine antiques and collectibles from dealers across the South in two historic buildings salvaged with proceeds from past shows and next door at Centenary Inn and tours of the Levy House and other sites.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 24-25; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 26.
WHERE: Locations around Jackson, including the Pipes-McKowen Building, where antiques dealers will be located, and the 1835 McKowen store, where homemade soups, seafood gumbo, sandwiches and desserts can be purchased in the basement with an art exhibit and sale upstairs.
TOURS: Levy House and other sites at Village Studios from noon to 4 p.m. all three days. The Old Courthouse of the Felicianas and three historic churches will be open during regular hours of the show.
ART SHOW: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Charter Street Studio, 3082 College St. Regional artists show and sale of fine art, wood relief, bird carvings, jewelry, pottery and more.
CONCERTS: At 2 p.m. each day. Friday — organ concert by Brother Joe Nesom at the First Baptist Church; Saturday — the Rev. Chris Curry at the Methodist Church; Sunday — Kent Howard on bagpipes at the Presbyterian Church.
NOTE: La. 68, the most direct route to Jackson, is partially closed for repairs. To detour when traveling north on I-110, take the last exit at U.S. 61, going north. Go 3 miles and turn right just past the Texaco station onto La. 964, also known as Old Scenic Highway. Go 12 miles to the intersection of La. 68 at the four-way stop. Turn right on La. 68 and travel 3.4 miles to Village Studios on the left, marked by a white fence, or continue on to Jackson another 3.3 miles and turn left at the light on La. 10. Jackson is 2 miles down the road. The antiques show is on the left.