Bocage Plantation was a wedding gift from St. James Parish planter Marius Pons Bringier to his eldest daughter, Francoise “Fanny” Bringier (just 14 years old), upon the occasion of her marriage to Christophe Colomb (a native of Paris, France, who claimed to be a descendant of Christopher Columbus), in January 1801.
Fanny was born March 9, 1786 at White Hall Plantation in St. James Parish.
Christophe was born October 1770 in Corbille, France. The couple had eight children – Louis Arthur, Christophe Jr., Virginia, Amelina, Cedalie, Leapold, Pons, and Henry Octave.
Local history states that Christophe was more interested in the finer things of life, music, painting, entertaining, etc., than working a plantation and that it was Fanny who took over the operations of Bocage. She handled everything from the management of the house to the cane fields.
Fanny passed away May 10, 1827 at Bocage Plantation, several years before Christophe died. Upon his death, in 1832 their son Luis Arthur Colomb and his wife Mathilde de Lauzon Thibaut inherited Bocage.
For many years, it was believed that the current house was the result of a full remodeling of the original 1801 structure that took place around 1837. However, the recent renovation of the home, which in some places involved the removal of exterior stucco and interior plaster, revealed no hint of the remodeling of an earlier structure. During the process, the bases of four symmetrically placed chimneys surrounded by extensive charred remains and fragments of brick and broken glass, were discovered buried about 40 feet behind the house. Experts involved in the recent renovation believe that these remains are of the original 1801 home and that the current structure was constructed to replace the one that burned.
Luis Arthur and Mathilde were fortunate enough to have obtained the services of James Harrison Dakin, (1806-1852) a New York architect who had relocated to New Orleans, for the design of their new home. (Dakin was one of the most distinguished American architects of his time. He was equally fluent in Egyptian, Greek or Gothic style. He designed the Louisiana Capitol in Baton Rouge (1847-52) as a daring Gothic Revival structure.
The design is a masterful blending of the familiar Creole floor plan (the main floor being one above the ground and rooms opening into rooms with a complete lack of hallways) and contemporary, mid 19th-century design. Elements of the homes façade, such as the square columns and massive entablature, along with the decorative elements of the interior are typical of Dakin’s work in New York and New Orleans.
In 1941, Bocage was purchased by Dr. Anita Crozat Kohlsdorf, whose brother, Dr. George Crozat, had recently purchased neighboring Houmas House.
Dr. Kohlsdorf oversaw a massive renovation to repair the damage caused by having been vacant for several decades, while adding the necessary kitchen, bathrooms and electricity.
The marble pavers, currently seen throughout the ground floor of Bocage, came from the famed St. Charles Hotel, which was then being torn down. The family for weekend getaways used the home, until sold in January 2008 to its present owner Dr. Marion M. Rundell, of Houston, Texas.
Today Bocage Plantation consists of 110 acres. The home has been thoughtfully restored. It is open for tours and as a bed and breakfast.