Biloxi, Mississippi | Built 1852
Beauvoir was built by James Brown from 1848 to 1852 on the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi. Beauvoir is a classic antebellum mansion adapting the Creole cottage elevation to protect it from hurricanes and storm surges. It was constructed as a vacation home and beach house.
View Beauvoir Mansion Documentary
Jefferson Davis, the first and only President of the Confederacy, purchased the home and retired there in 1877 where he lived until his death in 1889. His widow, Varina, eventually inherited the property and sold it to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans after they agreed that the property would be used as a Confederate Veterans Home for all the veterans of the war and their widows. When the last of the soldiers' widows left the home in 1957, the estate then became a memorial to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Soldiers. To this day it serves to commemorate his legacy and to all of the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. Beauvoir is listed on the National Registry as a landmark historic site, which is the highest designation that can be given to a residential property.
Beauvoir was nearly destroyed by the 24 foot storm surge of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Volunteers in the post-Katrina clean up cataloged nearly 300 building parts believed to have been recovered from the debris field which formerly belonged to the mansion. Lathan carefully fit each piece of this puzzle back together so that each component of the mansion has been as accurately restored as possible.
Lathan was awarded the contract for the total restoration, from recreation of the brick foundations and piers, all of the interior rest and finishes, as well as the new slate roof. Elements of the home which were damaged and unable to return to their original position (broken floor joists, etc.) were cut down to replace smaller elements and still able to remain in the home. Lathan estimates over 95% of the remaining wood in the home is original, though much of it has been repositioned.
The original slates were provided from Penrhyn quarry in Wales, UK according to the builder's records from 1849. These slates were originally imported through New Orleans and Lathan was able to attain slates from the same quarry in the United Kingdom, which is still in business nearly 200 years later. The brick piers are constructed from bricks cast in a kiln from Madison, Mississippi which went out of business in the 1870's. Lathan was able to match and locate through arch salvage dealers, original bricks from this kiln, which has been out of business for over 125 years.
Lathan's careful detail and dedication to authentic replication and restoration of this mansion restored this masterpiece landmark of antebellum construction to its original beauty. The museum's curator has said "If Jefferson Davis walked back through the front door today, he would recognize everything as it was." The mansion was reopened on June 3, 2008, also Jefferson Davis' 200th Birthday, to its fully restored and historically original state.
"Our people work as a very enthusiastic, hardworking team. Our supervisors average 26 years experience in the construction industry - experience that shows with each completed project."
- Jerry Lathan, President and Founder
(251) 443-7663 or toll free
at (800) 780-7663.