The Dart: Herbert family house undergoing renovations
NATCHEZ — Ronnie Herbert has been living in his house on Cottage Farm Road since 1979, but the house predates his residency by almost 30 years.
It’s only natural, then, that the house is in need of a makeover.
When The Dart landed on Cottage Farm Road Wednesday, Herbert and his two sons, Raymond and Tre’Michael Herbert, were hard at work renovating the house that’s been in the family for several generations.
“It needed it really bad,” Ronnie said. “It was built back in 1950, so we’re replacing a lot of the old wood lumber. My grandparents owned the whole subdivision, and this was my mother’s house.”
In fact, Cottage Farm Road goes all the way back to Ronnie’s great grandfather.
“My granddad, Ernest Herbert, named the street,” Ronnie said. “He got it from Granville Herbert, who was his dad.”
Renovations on the house began in January, and Ronnie said it might be another two months before the work is complete. In addition to replacing old wood, the project includes adding a porch, a bathroom, hanging wallboard, installing new flooring and building cabinets.
Although the renovations are a lot of work, Raymond said he enjoys keeping busy by helping take care of the house. He and his brother live there along with their parents.
“I enjoy every aspect of the work,” Raymond said. “Every year we’re doing stuff trying to keep it up.”
Keeping the house in livable condition is very important to Raymond, who said he thinks it’s neat the house has been in his family for several generations.
“You’ve got to keep it up if you want it to stay there and last forever,” he said.
Tre’Michael said he has many memories of growing up in the house — not all of them good.
“I hit my head on the bar, busted it and had to have stitches when I was about 10,” Tre’Michael said. “I also broke my jaw on the steps when I was 18 or 19.
“It’s a health hazard,” he said, joking.
Despite any painful memories, Tre’Michael said he’s happy to have a house — and a neighborhood — to call home.
“I love it,” Tre’Michael said. “It’s quiet and peaceful. I don’t want to go anyplace else.”
Ronnie said his brother lives across the street from him, and in the distance are the remains of an older house that was also in the family before it was badly damaged in a 2003 fire.
“It was an antebellum house,” Ronnie said. “They said it was a hospital during the Civil War.”
Not wanting to keep things all to themselves, Ronnie said he helped build a playground for the subdivision’s younger residents.
“Kids from all around come to play ball, even high school kids,” he said.