CLINTON — Another chapter in the colorful but somewhat murky history of the old Rist Hotel will be added Saturday when auctioneers begin taking bids on the property in the town’s historic district.
The hotel, in its heyday, may have had a young Elvis Presley as a then-undistinguished overnight guest, and Charles Lindbergh, before he flew the Atlantic, is said to have stayed at the Rist, said Mildred Worrell, who lives two houses down the street.
Worrell said Louise “Lou” Rist, one of three daughters of hotelier August Rist, often told stories about Gov. Huey Long coming to Clinton with an entourage in a special rail car in the days when Clinton was served by a railroad.
Louise Rist told of the Kingfish’s extravagant parties at the hotel and said the hotel register had an entry for the night Presley stopped in Clinton, Worrell said.
If true, Elvis would have been playing in a barroom nearby while traveling with his group in Mississippi and Louisiana, Worrell added.
“Lou was absolutely delightful. She was a great storyteller and was pretty much factual,” she said.
Worrell believes Augustus Rist may have started the hotel about 1900 or 1910, but the building and the house next door burned on Christmas Eve, 1930, after a fire started in an annex building for the hotel.
The fire almost destroyed the home where Worrell now lives, but she said her mother’s “trousseau blankets” were drenched with water and spread on the roof to catch the flying sparks.
The hotel was rebuilt, and Lou Rist eventually ran it before it became her residence. It was restored in the early 1990s, but Feliciana Bank now owns it after initiating foreclosure proceedings.
Auctioneer Ken Buhler of Estate Auction Services said the home, at 12548 St. Helena St. (La. 10), will be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The auction sale begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The sale includes numerous pieces of antique furniture from other estates, as well as farming equipment, Buhler said. Bidding on the home will begin about 11 a.m., he said.
The sale is contingent on the bank directors’ acceptance of the final bid price, Buhler said.
Situated on a lot about 140 feet wide and 300 feet deep, the house includes a double parlor, oversize dining room, a large kitchen, eight bedrooms, four bathrooms and three fireplaces, Buhler said.