“Ash,” a haunting collection of photographs by Joanna Cassidy, will be featured on this year’s APHN Fall Tour of Homes. The Golden Globe Award-winning actress turned her camera’s lens on the ruins of the Levy-East House the day it burned, June 1, 2005. The home had long been a favorite on the Fall and Christmas tours. On Saturday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cassidy’s home, Laureate House, will be on the Fall Tour and will feature images of that day, giving viewers an inside view of the aftermath of the fire.
Cassidy fell in love with Natchitoches while filming “American Standard,” a movie she starred in with James Brolin. He discovered that Laureate House was for sale and took Cassidy along as he considered buying the home for his wife, Barbara Streisand. In the end, Cassidy bought it for herself. She has since been active in her support for both the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches and the Natchitoches Historic Foundation. She had an interest in the Levy-East House since it was built by Joseph Soldini, the builder of her own home, Laureate House. The afternoon of the day the Levy-East House burned, she crawled under the barricades and into the still smoldering ruin to capture images of the death of a great Natchitoches residence.
“Joanna’s photographs not only record the broader architectural images of a nearly two centuries-old structure ravaged by fire, but they also uniquely capture intimate and personal glimpses of the loss,” said Fall Tour Chair Gary Cathey. “From the huge two story burned-out cavity to a single high heeled shoe in the ashes to the charred organ keys, each image takes us back to that day and the heartbreak of what will be no more. She has an artist’s eye, and each shot, so perfectly composed, will be presented without any cropping or retouching.”
Fresh from the red carpet of the “Blade Runner 2049” Hollywood premiere, Cassidy will be in Natchitoches to greet tour visitors and share her firsthand account of photographing the lost treasure. On Sunday, Oct. 15, “Ash” will relocate to Melrose Plantation, to be viewed as part of the Country Tour. The viewing on Sunday will be from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
All proceeds from the tour go directly to the preservation work the APHN has undertaken for over 75 years. For tickets and information, call (800) 259-1714 or (318) 352-8072 or visit melroseplantation.org.