“That’s Meeks, isn’t it?” asked 19-year-old Tyler Roe authoritatively, as he approached the Stanton Hall Pattern rosewood recamier in Madewood’s music room on a recent visit. “I thought so.”
Most folks automatically would have assumed that the chair, part of an eight-piece parlor suite, was the creation of American ebeniste John Henry Belter — the default craftsman for the sort of elaborately-carved-and-encrusted Victorian furniture that makes me queasy. A piece by the New York firm of John and Joseph Meeks, on the other hand, is a always a welcome breath of fresh air in a typically-overwrought 19th-century parlor.
Tyler, a business major at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, has a keen eye for antiques, which comes in handy in his role as a knowledgeable assistant at Dave and Paula Kane’s antique-and-anything-else-you-can-think-of emporium, The Old Green Store, on La. Hwy. 311 in Schriever, near Houma.
Dave, a Marine awarded three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service, and Paula found themselves retired and looking for something to do. She had worked at a coffeehouse/antiques shop in Thibodaux, where she gained experience in the trade. When lightning struck, and the building burned to the ground, it was time to move on.
Lightning struck again, fortunately in a good way this time, in the form of a chance to work at The Old Green Store in nearby Schriever, which had just reopened as an antiques store in 2011. Dating from 1882, when the building served as the commissary of Ardoyne Plantation, a Neo-Gothic fantasy just down the road, the local landmark had been closed for years until reopening in its present form that year.
When the chance to take over the operation appeared in 2012, the Kanes leapt at the chance to develop the concept of a friendly, old-fashioned country store that just happens to purvey everything from delicate heritage baby clothes to furniture and 9-foot-tall faux-bois parlor pocket doors that once graced an historic convent in St. Louis, Missouri.
Tyler, antique-browsing with a friend one day, was intrigued with the history, contents and potential of The Old Green Store — and decided to stay and help. If plans for a second store materialize one day, his knowledge of antiques and business studies will come in handy.
Till then, you can have a glance at Ardoyne, a dream fantasy when viewed through a screen of oaks from Highway 311, then mosey on down the road for complimentary coffee and pastries on Friday or Saturday with Dave, Paula and Tyler under the gentle hum of ceiling fans.
You won’t want to leave. At least not without more unexpected treasures than you’d bargained for.
The Old Green Store, 2933 La. Hwy. 311, Schriever, LA 70395, approximately 90 minutes from New Orleans via Hwy. 90. (Take the Hwy. 311 exit — past the three Houma exits — and turn right, toward Houma. You’ll pass Ardoyne after about two miles, on your right. Continue another mile to the store, on your left.)