- Associated Press - Saturday, August 30, 2014

ARNAUDVILLE, La. (AP) - A project called Les Deux Mondes - two worlds - is slowly coming to life in Arnaudville.

The project will provide guest cottages to visitors and students coming into the area as part of Arnaudville’s French immersion program. It is the brainchild of Tony Adrian of Leonville and Matt Henrich of Sunset.

A narrow street behind Russell’s Food Center was already home to four rundown properties and the pair have brought in three more.

They don’t look like much now. Workers last week were still adding roofs to the two of the structures.

But Adrian said they should be ready for occupancy by Jan. 1.

“This was a distressed area for years,” said Adrian, who said the four existing houses had become home to squatters and vagrants.

“I’m told there was a lot of drug activity and general rowdiness going on,” he said. “People say they were afraid to even come out of their houses.”

The squatters had also turned the area that borders Bayou Teche into a trash dump.

“We have already removed four dump-truck loads of trash,” Adrian said, pointing to piles of trash waiting to be carried away.

He said he and his business partner are working with designers from Baton Rouge to restore the houses, all of which date from the 1920s or before, and turn them into a showplace of which Arnaudville can be proud.

Adrian said he and Henrich are followers of the philosophy espoused by Eddie Cazayoux, former director of the University of Louisiana’s School of Architecture and now head of EnvironMental Design in Lafayette.

“He is all about sustainable architecture,” Adrian said. “His philosophy is, Don’t tear it down - fix it up and build on it.”

Adrian knows the benefits of that philosophy firsthand. He and his wife, Marie Bossard, live in a Cazayoux-designed house that requires no electrical lines.

That is exactly what he and Henrich plan to do with these houses. “These are all still structurally sound,” he said.

The pair will not just restore the buildings but also enhance, installing solar panels so they will draw only minimally on local utilities.

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