Acadian cottage has deep ties for Ford and Genny Thomas

— Ford and Genny Nadler Thomas’ move to the Felicianas was serendipity.

The couple had already talked about retiring there when a friend told them about an old house on 12 acres near Jackson.

“Genny had to convince me to take a look at the property,” Ford Thomas said. “I could not believe what I was seeing. It was everything I would want.”

Some investigation unearthed that it also may have been fate. The home, as it turns out, was originally from near Plaquemine, where Genny Thomas grew up. The more-than-150-year-old house was moved to the Jackson property in 2002.

“The house was never cut when it got moved,” Ford Thomas said. “It crossed the river on a barge at Luling and came up the Airline Highway.”

The coincidences didn’t stop there. The property was once part of Asphodel Plantation, where the Thomases married.

“It’s cool to think that we own a part of the property we got married on,” Genny Thomas said. “It was meant to be.”

In 2012, the Thomases sold the house on Zeeland Street where they lived for 32 years and purchased the traditional Acadian country house.

A hurricane, some legal problems with the sale, and painting and refinishing the floors put them behind schedule for moving.

“We ended up being homeless for about six weeks,” Genny Thomas said. “We moved in and had a previously planned bridal party one week later.”

Even though the home is in East Feliciana Parish, it is only 30 minutes from Ford Thomas’ studio, where he operates his furniture-making business and where Genny Thomas, a consultant for nonprofits, has an office.

The two-story frame house, situated out of view from La. 68, is surrounded by native trees and shrubbery. Front steps lead to a wide porch with three sets of French doors. The center doors open to a narrow hall. The front room to the left was probably a parlor, but the Thomases made it their master bedroom.

On the right is a large dining room with the dining table, chairs, sideboard and two pier tables commissioned by Genny Thomas’ grandmother and hand made by the late Ruppert Kohlmaier Sr., a well-known German-born cabinetmaker in New Orleans. Kohlmaier, who made furniture for some of the finest homes in the South, was known for his work in the style of the great 18th- and 19th-century furniture makers.

The hall leads to a large den-kitchen combination added on by the previous owner. Between the new room and the dining room is Genny Thomas’ small study and a narrow, curved stairway that leads to two bedrooms upstairs.

Off the kitchen is a comfortable porch that overlooks the forested property and a picturesque ravine.

The home is filled with treasures, including contemporary-style furniture handmade by Ford Thomas, fine family antiques, and pottery and crafts from the 22 years that Genny Thomas owned and operated the Crafts Gallery in Village Square.

The Thomases call their home a work in progress. They have plans to add a carport and to screen in the two porches.

“We want to live in the house for a while before we do big changes,” Genny Thomas said. “Once you live in a space, you can made good decisions.”