Lafayette’s Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood — once a safe haven for freed slaves — named to National Register of Historic Places _lowres


A 2.2-acre tract in Lafayette’s Freetown-Port Rico Historic District has been sold for $450,000.

Freetown Properties LLC, which is owned by Chad Ortte, a Baton Rouge developer, bought the former OncoLogics site at the corner of General Mouton Avenue and Coolidge Street. The property includes three office buildings.

Ortte, a Lafayette native, said he plans to put the properties up for lease. The buildings are in a good location, he said, within one mile of Lafayette General Medical Center, the Oil Center, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, downtown and Lafayette Regional Airport.

He says the buildings were well maintained by the previous owner and are ready to occupy.

Earlier this year, Freetown-Port Rico was added to the National Register of Historic Places, making it the second neighborhood in Lafayette to earn the designation. This allows property owners to get 20 percent to 40 percent tax credits for renovating or preserving historic structures in the district.

The Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood is bounded by East University Avenue, Lee Avenue, Garfield Street, Taft Street, Lucille Avenue, Jefferson Street and Coolidge Street.

Sugar cane was once grown on the land, which was once the back part of Île Copal Plantation, owned by Alexander Mouton, a 19th-century Louisiana governor and U.S. senator.

Shortly before the Civil War, Mouton owned the second-largest number of slaves in the parish, 120 slaves, second only to Antoine Mouton, his brother, who owned 122 slaves.

The neighborhood is believed to have formed around the time of the Civil War as a place where newly freed slaves and free people of color could create a community.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.