As historic Louisiana homes go, it doesn't look like much. But the little cottage on Gonzales' Main Street was the home of a real mover and shaker. It was built around 1910 by Tee-Joe Gonzales. Today it serves as a museum honoring Tee-Joe and the city he founded.
Museum Guide Betty Latuso says, "We're told that he was about 6-1 or 6-2. He carried a big cane, a big stick, with him. He talked pretty gruff, but I think mainly people just admired him for his development of this area."
Tee-Joe was the first postmaster. He got elected to the legislature, haggled and wrangled for several years and got Gonzales incorporated as a village in 1922. He was promptly made its first mayor.
When Tee-Joe built his house, there wasn't so much as a gravel road in all of Gonzales, which is probably why he built it on the banks of New River. The only way to get supplies was down river from the North Shore."
Tee-Joe and his brother bought land, sold lots and got their town growing, running the business out of the little home on main street.
Betty Latuso says, "Well, the kids are really amazed that there was no electricity, no indoor plumbing. They had to grow their own crops and raise their own animals for food."
Gonzales has been growing from the get-go--thanks to the guy in the little house on Main Street.
The Tee-Joe Gonzales Museum is open for tours by appointment only. The tours are free.