Chip Jackson was born in the Bronx, New York. His wife, Jennifer, was born and bred in Lafayette. Both come together perfectly in the home at the edge of a cul-de-sac in Oakbourne Estates.
The two met and married while in graduate school in Pennsylvania. Ten years gone, she had no intention of ever coming back.
“Hershey, Scranton, Harrisburg — I really thought I’d arrived,” she said.
The couple returned to Lafayette to care for her ailing mother.
“We were looking for a house,” Jennifer Jackson recalled. “People try to steer you away from the Northside and ‘its problems,’ ” she said. “We looked in several places, on Congress Street, in Carencro, where realtors told us the resale would be better. But I’ve always loved Oakbourne and remembered going to a party there when I was a kid. We thought about our church, our family — my mother and uncle were still there. Our life was on the Northside. That’s what drew us.”
Built new in 2005, the couple's home on Vinemont Drive was love at first sight for Jennifer Jackson.
“I just remember how beautiful it was,” she said. “We have an interesting street, actually a neighborhood within a neighborhood, called Heritage Oaks.”
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Danette Danyow, of Danette Danyow Interiors, decorated with an artful blend of city chic and Southern antiques.
“The living room was designed based on Grandma,” said Jennifer Jackson. “When I was a kid, my grandmother had these gold-plated lamps, and I asked her, ‘Can I have these?’ I had to wait until she passed away. She lived to 93.”
A classic column defines the foyer in the modern, open floor plan.
Antique end tables dot the living room in contrast to contemporary upholstered pieces and a sleek fireplace, while the formal dining room and china cabinet house a collection of gilded LeMieux cups and saucers amid other sentimental heirlooms.
The home underwent a brief remodeling in 2016.
“We painted and changed the light fixtures,” said Jennifer Jackson.
Each have their respective spaces.
Jennifer Jackson, a registered dietitian, loves to cook and calls her petite salon just off the kitchen “The Girlfriend Room.” There, a pair of Vergie Banks paintings hang opposite a painting by French artist Maria Achmar, acquired during the couple’s travels abroad.
In the adjacent kitchen, a Le Creuset linen towel keeps company with sleek stainless steel appliances, white cabinets and anthracite bar stools.
“After we go out, we just sit. This is where I hang out, it’s my spot," she said. "I sit here, drink my wine and cook.”
Jennifer Jackson, who owns a consulting business and contracts with the parish and state prison system, is a self-described Type A, as evidenced by her menu board.
“I love to write what we’re going to eat for the week,” she said. “OYO means ‘on your own.’ ”
Down the hall is Chip Jackson’s “man cave.”
Art decorates the walls here, too: Works by Ernie Barnes, an American artist and former football player known for his cartoon caricatures and unique style of elongation and movement, alongside a series of Satchmo posters from New Orleans, cover the walls. Barnes’ “The Graduate" hangs in the place of honor high atop them all.
“It symbolizes why I was in higher education,” said Chip Jackson. “The 'Skins & Shirts' is about playground basketball.”
Chip Jackson spent 44 years in education at six different colleges and universities and retired in 2015 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he was registrar. He currently serves on the Louisiana Community and Technical College Systems board of supervisors.
And he collects ball caps, which double effectively as wall art in the laundry room. There's his Eagles cap — he's a big fan — and hats from stops at all of the nation's historically black colleges and universities.
“I grew up in New York City,” he said. “Being in the Bronx, seven or eight blocks from Yankee Stadium, I could walk there. And did.”
The solid green cap belong to his brother, who passed away.
In the master bedroom, white bed linens are monogrammed with “CJJ,” for Chip and Jennifer Jackson.
The adjoining master bath with its tub and pebbled shower is a favorite spot for Jennifer Jackson.
“We love Destin, and the idea is the ocean floor,” she said. “Like shells when you’re stepping into the ocean.
“I don’t get to soak often. Chip does after tennis,” she added with a laugh.
Outdoors, the modest yard is perfect for Cali the cat, a rescue whose designated hiding places also include under the dining room table, where he can better assess visitors.
Jennifer Jackson particularly loves the holidays when her neighbors decorate their houses. Today, a lavish floral garland by Christine Cormier surrounds their front door.
“We could live anywhere we want," she said, "and we choose to live on the Northside.”