Home: Swamp People at Home

Cypress is the star at Troy and Bernita Landry's new home.

Cheryl Gerber

Troy Landry, star of the History Channel’s Swamp People, lives on a sliver of high ground along a two-lane highway between Baton Rouge and Morgan City. The home, situated in the swamp town of Pierre Part (population: 3,000), is constructed of cypress that was pulled log-by-log from nearby swamps over a period of 30 years. “It was a labor of love,” says Landry. “I had a dream of one day building a house with cypress from the Atchafalaya Basin swamps and other swamps that surround where we live, so I carefully stored each log that I pulled out of the swamps in a big shed until I could begin the construction of our dream home. When I had enough logs, I gave half of the lumber to the sawmill to have it sawed for me.”

Today Troy and his wife, Bernita, a schoolteacher, are “at home” in an amazing house completed without one piece of sheetrock. “I’m the one who insisted everything be wood,” Bernita says proudly. “I can’t stand sheetrock. I insisted that even the ceiling be tongue-and-groove pine.”

She got her wish, and Troy got his with the sturdy basic cypress structure. “Be sure to mention that I even made some of the furniture,” he says as he walks into his kitchen in a corner of the large family room. “Yeah, we had to have two kitchens. Bernita didn’t want me messing up hers with my cooking.”

The spacious 30-by-34-foot family room not only gave Landry a place for his kitchen and the 12-foot cypress dining table he built, it also gave him plenty of cypress boards to cover the walls for his collection of 14 white-tailed deer heads. “Aren’t they beauties?” he asks. “All of them are from around here, as is the 11-foot alligator head on display.”

Then he steps out of the room onto a broad covered porch with yet another kitchen. “Here’s where we do a lot of family entertaining,” he continues. It is a picturesque spot right on the banks of the Pierre Part Bayou that runs along their property.
What about alligators? “Sure, we see them in the bayou, and sometimes they like to come in the yard and sun themselves,” he says. “We don’t mind if they just keep their distance.”

Bernita expresses her pleasure with the couple’s new house that was finished just in time for Christmas last year. She gives a tour of the living room that is chock-a-block with family antiques, photos and other sentimental items. “This is a Victrola that has always been in my family.” Bernita is proud to show off her bedrooms and bathrooms. Beds are adorned with chenille bedspreads, walls are decorated with old prints, and vintage and antique mirrors can be found in the bathrooms. “I was the one who decided to build a pantry under the stairway,” she says as she opens the door to a pantry spacious enough to make any housewife proud.
Bernita and Troy give high marks to Danny Landry, their contractor, and Elson Templet, the master carpenter who did their cypress kitchen cabinets and cabinetry in the bathrooms.

“We lived in a trailer on our three acres of land for more than 30 years saving up to build this house,” Troy says. “Now we have our dream house where our three sons and their families can gather and share time together. We especially love having our three grandchildren visit.”

“I love the uniqueness of our home,” Bernita adds. “The all-wood interior makes it a cozy home. We both got what we wished for, and we never plan to leave this piece of God’s country.”

With the popularity of Swamp People, the Landrys’ home has become a tourist attraction. “I tacked a street sign that reads ‘Alligator Alley’ to the telephone post at the edge of our driveway,” explains Troy. “And if you see our ‘King of the Swamp’ brightly painted sign on our truck that also has photos of Jacob, my son who works with me on the show, and me painted on the doors, you can be sure you are at the right place. Just be careful, and watch for the alligators.”

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