Photo by Freddie Herpin
It’s obvious to anyone who has met her that Vera Nagy is attracted to what she feels are the economic, cultural and social benefits that exist in downtown Opelousas.
The downtown area of the city has received criticism in recent years for its lack of economic sustenance, but despite that skepticism, Nagy maintains a buoyant vision for an area which she has praised for its historic ambiance and economical potential.
Additionally she has walked the walked when it comes to promoting her message about the downtown area.
Nagy has taken matters into her own hands by purchasing several properties in the downtown district, investing and renovating previously vacant buildings and then creating businesses operated by independent businesswomen who are crafting a gradual revitalization around Courthouse Square.
“Vera Nagy has been an essential part of the process of helping remake the image of downtown Opelousas. She has also helped especially by creating business opportunities for women,” says Carola Hartley, who has written extensively about the history of the city’s downtown area.
The latest venture for Nagy has been restoring the original Bodemuller’s building at 122 E. Bellevue.
Inside the building that was once used for an early 20th century printing operation, Nagy has created her own business, La’ Bellevue Petit Chateau.
The business caters to weddings, showers and social events which can be hosted inside the brick building which underwent an extensive renovation process that Nagy undertook.
Nagy, who received this year’s city preservationist award for commercial businesses, said one look at the building told her that it needed to be resurrected before it completely collapsed.
“I looked inside one of the windows and I thought the building needed to be preserved. The ceiling was caving in, water was leaking through. It needed everything,” said Nagy, who now works inside a meticulously renovated historic business.