The Habitation Leclerc is in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Martissant and is the supposed ruins of the house of Pauline Bonaparte Leclerc, Napoleon’s sister (although that this was her house is believed to be apocryphal by most historians, I believe). It was purchased by African-American Katherine Dunham who turned the property into an inn and school for students of vodun and Haitian dance, among other things. Dunham turned over much of the property to foreign investors who created the Habitation Leclerc, a luxury resort for visitors like Jackie Onassis. Although in ruins at the time of my 2007 visit, it was densely populated by squatters who paid for the privilege. Much of the site was colonial ruins mixed with 1970s-style architecture. The resort sign still welcomes visitors at the entrance, as do lions. Bizarrely, the plaque below lions remembers British soliders and seems to be a misplaced piece of colonial kitsch (my guess is that this was part of Olivier Cocquelin’s aesthetic–see Petit-Goave’s Relais de l’Empereur for more on this disco impresario). Most recently, it’s been turned into a botanical garden by FOKAL, I believe. Contact me for more information on any photo.
- French and Kreyol translation to come. Traduction francaise à venir. Tradiksyon kreyol ap vini.