History Places St Landry History People & Places

Photo from the Past – Sam Perkins Livery Barn on Landry Street

Publisher and Contributing Writer

To the right in this photo from the past is the Sam Perkins Livery Barn on Landry Street in Opelousas in c. 1887.

Also in the photograph is the Eureka Hotel, located on the same lot. For many decades the old hotel on Court Street stood directly across from the St. Landry Parish Courthouse. It had many names over its years of existence, and at one time was called the Lacombe Hotel, run by mine host Austin Lacombe.

During the 1870s to the 1890s, the old livery barn, facing Landry Street but located on the grounds of the hotel, was owned by James Samuel “Sam” Perkins (1847-1892). The livery barn was erected, using Louisiana red cypress, in 1886 following a fire in downtown Opelousas that destroyed the original old building on the lot, along with the St. Landry Parish Courthouse across the street.

Although not quite as famous as Austin Lacombe, Sam Perkins, the son of Eliza Ann Perkins (1814-1882), was well known in and around Opelousas during that time. Sam was married to Mary Ester Pefferkorn, the daughter of Jacques “Jacob” and Ester Pefferkorn. The Perkins family lived in the house where his wife was raised, called at that time the Pefferkorn Home on Union Street. (That house was moved from that site in 1991, and is now in Le Vieux Village, called the La Chapelle Home.) Sam Perkins died on December 4, 1892 and is buried in Myrtle Grove Cemetery.

Austin and Sam were characters, quiet a team, a pair well matched, each a genius in his sphere. Their circle of acquaintances was wide among the traveling men (called drummers) who made Opelousas one of the most progressive towns in the state at that time. Those were the days before the automobile, and the drummers were forced to cover a vast territory in horse-drawn vehicles. Sam Perkins furnished the vehicles and drivers. While the drummers rested in the Lacombe hotel in Opelousas, Austin furnished them glorious meals that made his hotel the most famous place in Louisiana. 

In August of 1921, the old livery barn was carefully demolished, saving the first-class red cypress so it could be used for various projects around the city. [1]  The ancient hotel building was demolished just a few years later.

[1] St. Landry Clarion, August 20, 1921, page one.