I have posted before on the houses from the movie Steel Magnolias, but a couple of weeks ago I received an email telling me that the Steel Magnolias House where the Eatentons [Sally Fields and Julia Roberts character’s] lived was going to be sold again. And I got the word from a very inside source.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember that Shelby (Julia Robert’s character) had a baby boy who was about 3 years old when she died from complications from diabetes.
The movie script was based on a true story written by a man named Robert Harling, which dealt with the death of his sister Susan Harling – played by Julia Roberts in the film.
Susan Harling Robinson – the real life “Shelby”
Susan Harling’s real life little boy [I will not publish his name to protect his privacy] grew up and is now in his 30’s. He came across my blog and sent me a personal email to introduce himself and tell me about some of the houses in his home town of Natchitoches (a.k.a Chinquapin Parish).
How cool is that?
He told me that his uncle – playwright Robert Harling – who wrote the original Steel Magnolias play, now owns and lives in a famous antebellum plantation called Oaklawn in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Historic photo of Oaklawn Plantation, Natchitoches Parish, LA
According to my source (a.k.a. Shelby’s son)…. the entire area near Natchitoches that follows the Cane River is known as “Plantation Row” due to the concentration of grand plantations lined up next to each other. In fact, he also told me that the move “The Man in the Moon” was filmed at the house next door to Oaklawn!
Anyway, getting back to our original house, my source told me that the home where many of the most memorable scenes in Steel Magnolias were filmed was going to be put up for sale again because the owners just could not make a go of the bed & breakfast in the Natchitoches off-season.
In fact, the historic brick beauty will be put up on the auction block October 26, 2013 if you are interested in buying a piece of history from a very special Hollywood film!
The official name of what has become known as the “Steel Magnolias House” is actually the Cook-Taylor House.
The house was built in the year 1840 by Italian architects Trizini and Soldini and was purchased as a business by Mr. Louis Dupleix.
Interestingly, this structure was originally intended to be used as a store. It was referred to in historic documents as a “great business spot”.
During the Civil War, the Cook-Taylor House was used as a hospital and is also rumored to have been a location on the Underground Railroad.
In the early 1900’s the entire house was moved from its original location next to the sidewalk to where it now stands – set further back on the deep lot.
Have a look inside….
The house has 5,900 square-feet of living space with six bedrooms and six bathrooms. It also features an 800-square-foot guesthouse in the rear.
All those beds and baths make for a perfect B&B set up – not to mention the fact that this storied home was the actual filming location for many of the most poignant scenes from the movie Steel Magnolias.
Above is the family room where the boys were hanging out in one of the opening scenes as their mother frantically darted around in preparation for her daughter’s wedding.
Below is the kitchen where Shelby confronted M’Lynn about being pregnant and a heart-breaking argument ensued…
The kitchen, as you can see, has largely remained untouched since the filming occurred there in the late 1980’s.
A couple of memorable scenes were also shot in the upper level bedrooms.
Remember when Shelby and M’Lynn embrace before Shelby runs off on her honeymoon in the “rubber” car?
And the room where Jackson climbs through the window to surprise his bride-to-be?
Karen and Paul Rinehart purchased the Cook-Taylor House in 2003 and opened it up to the public as the Steel Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast.
According to a recent New York Post article,
Christina Landry, the current owner, planned to convert the house back into a residence, but continued to run it as a bed & breakfast when she found she really enjoyed meeting the guests.
Now the current owners plan on leaving the state so they have put this wonderful house up for auction.
The Cook-Taylor/Steel Magnolias house will be sold to the highest bidder on Saturday, October 26, 2013.
The pool in the backyard reminds me of the scene when Ouiser and Drum Eatenton had words about the magnolias from the disputed tree, when Ouiser grabs the bullets from Drum and defiantly throws them into the pool.
The scenes after Shelby’s funeral were also filmed out back on the patio by the pool.
“Life goes on” M’lynn tells us as she smiles and plays with her beloved grandson.
*A very special thank you to that real-life grandson for contacting me and sharing some personal stories about his connection with one of my all-time favorite movie houses.