Donaldsonville restoring 153-year-old building

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - The City of Donaldsonville is restoring one of its oldest buildings.

Over the last 153 years, the building on Railroad Avenue has been both a general and clothing store. Many families recognize the building as the Mistretta store. It was bought by Chef John Folse in 1999 and he donated it to the city for restoration.

"I think we're losing so much of America's culture, so much of our own Louisiana culture, which is so rich," Folse said. "And to have buildings like this that are one of a kind, two story, a home on top, a store on the bottom, a gathering place in the center of the city. How do you lose something like this?"

On Wednesday, Folse joined Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, and Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa for the ribbon cutting ceremony. The plan is to rebuild the inside like an old general store, with antiques that represent the city's history.

"Donaldsonville has such great history and restoring the buildings and not letting it just continue to be blight is important to tourism in the city of Donaldsonville," said Sullivan.

The project is being headed by the Donaldsonville Area Foundation. Anyone interested in donating to the project can send an email to They are looking for donations for this project and several others.

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