Cloned - Page 3

How did a pair of all-steel X-100 'Eichlers' find their way to the Louisiana bayou?
The Louisiana X-100 backs up against this waterway, the Vermillion River, which runs past the town.

For one thing, no other architect working in the area at the time was designing houses of steel—whereas Perkins was—and in the same neighborhood. He built a steel home there for his family, also in 1957. And Perkins' son, Scott, linked his father to the Breaux house.

Perkins' steel houses are "the only ones [in the area] I know," said architect Donald O'Rourke, one of a surprisingly large contingent of mid-century modern architects who left an interesting legacy in Lafayette.

Perkins, with his interest in steel houses, would certainly have read about the X-100, which was covered extensively in the professional and popular press.

Roxana Usner called Perkins to confirm his involvement, only to discover that Dave Perkins, FAIA, one of leading architects of the area, known for his work as an educator, designer of many local landmarks, and leadership in the American Institute of Architects, had died earlier in the year at age 88.

Because of our queries, a discussion got going on the Preservation Alliance's Facebook page. Scott Perkins weighed in, confirming his dad's work in steel.

"All of the houses that my father did [in the neighborhood] were steel-framed," he wrote, rattling off seven of them. "I know he also did some work on Floyd Breaux's house at 323 Beverly, but I don't think he designed it originally."

"It Looks like Perkins' work to me," Bill Lasseigne, another local, added, "as I grew up in one…which was just down the street from his residence."

As is common in detective work, false leads did crop up. Lafayette architect Don Breaux—no relation to Floyd Breaux—who's been practicing in Lafayette 50-plus years, suggested the architect behind the Breaux house was Don O'Rourke. "I guess they got plans from Jones," Breaux said.

But O'Rourke denied being involved with either house. He also said it was unlikely that Dave Perkins was involved either because "he strictly did his own designs."

Another name that popped up was Lafayette architect Hal Perkins, who began designing buildings in the early 1950s. He is not related to Dave, but knew him well, and believes that Dave Perkins worked on the two X-100s. "They were by Dave Perkins," Hal said.

Mystery solved? You decide. But consider this—one mystery always begets another. If Louisiana is home to two X-100s, where else are unknown X-100s hiding? Alabama? Missoula? Your neighborhood? Let us know!


Photography: Ernie Braun, Edmond Dugas, Ray Rafidi