Historic downtown home sold; lobbyist planning office

Advocate file photo -- The Potts House on North Street, which was built about 1846, has been sold for $595,209 to a lobbyist who plans to operate his offices out of it. Show caption
Advocate file photo -- The Potts House on North Street, which was built about 1846, has been sold for $595,209 to a lobbyist who plans to operate his offices out of it.

A historic home on North Street, which was built about 1846, has been sold for $595,209 to a lobbyist who plans to operate his offices out of it.

An LLC set up by Bud Courson bought the Potts House at 831 North St. in downtown Baton Rouge in a deal filed Monday afternoon with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s office.

Courson plans to move his governmental relations and issues management firm, Courson-Nickel, into the home, said Darryl Gissel, who had the listing for the residence. Part of the home also will be rented out for tenants.

“This is an amazing house for Baton Rouge,” Gissel said. “It’s amazing that it’s still there.”

The home was built by Nelson Potts, a builder, architect and mason, as his personal residence and as a way of showing off his workmanship, Gissel said.

The house survived the Civil War, where it may have been used to house Union officers.

And it survived the building of Interstate 110, which was originally set to go down Eighth Street instead of Ninth Street.

In 1972, the Potts House was the second structure in Baton Rouge to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. For the past 44 years, the 4,500-square-foot home was owned by Bill and Nancy Jensen, who lived in the home.

The Jensens worked to restore the property to its original state after it was modernized in 1912 and redone in a Victorian style. They found parts of homes that Potts and his carpenters worked on and put them in their house.

“The front door came from another Potts house, but it was a perfect fit,” Gissel said.

For the past five years, the home had been on the market.

Gissel said there were three contracts on it, but the deals fell through. Courson had the property under contract for more than two years before he finalized the deal.

“This house wasn’t built with modern construction, so you have to be careful not to destroy the integrity of it,” he said. All of the interior walls are a foot thick and made of brick. “There are not a lot of interior changes you can make,” Gissel said. “It’s not like you can move a wall.”