When we last visited with Frank and Joyce Naquin about 18 months ago, their bed and breakfast business was experiencing post-Katrina and post-Rita times as potential visitors to South Louisiana were shying away because of the 2005 memories.
Today, though, things are returning to normal as the two have been busy hosting overnight and some longer term guests at their West Camellia Street home.
Recently, their guest book read like a geography lesson with entries from Quebec, Luxembourg, Germany, Australia, France, Finland, India, Nova Scotia and many states from within the United States. “We especially enjoy hosting guests from French-speaking countries since we both are fluent in French,” Joyce said. “It gives us the opportunity to practice our childhood language.” And guests to the Naquin Bed and Breakfast are showered with hospitality, and many are ready to return the favor by inviting the Naquins to visit them when they travel abroad.
Frank said many of their guests have become lifelong friends, and they regularly stay in touch via e-mails. “We can go to France and never stay a night in a hotel,” he said.
The experiences gained from having such a varied guest list means they can learn about cultures and how small our world really is. Guests from Finland introduced them to the May 1st celebration that is part of most European countries. “They set up a barbecue grill and celebrated their holiday from early afternoon until dusk out on our patio,” Frank said.
Because then have three studio apartments that include kitchens, they also house guests who are visiting the area for several weeks or months on business, such as Rachel Neumann of Indian River, Mich. “The Naquins are just fantastic and so hospitable,” she said. “We have been really spoiled staying here with them. We are experiencing the best of Southern hospitality here.” In addition to the studio apartments, they also have three other bedrooms to share.
Frank retired from McDermott Inc. in 1994 then worked several more years as a consultant, and Joyce retired in 1997 after many years as a nurse. But after seeing them care for their guests, one sees that “retirement” is not part of their vocabulary. “We started in 1985 hosting foreign students at Nicholls, even while we both were still working,” he said. “We opened our home to visitors as a bed and breakfast in 1994 and have enjoyed it ever since.” Joyce is up early every morning that they have guests, which is nearly every morning, preparing a traditional breakfast of grits, eggs and sausage, or sometimes a stack of perfect crepes to wrap around fresh strawberries or blackberries. “I love to cook, and we both enjoy meeting people,” Joyce said, noting that many of her recipes were things she learned next to her mother as a child. She’s even published a cookbook, LaCuisine des Cajuns sur le Bayou, in both English and French to share family secrets with her guests. “It becomes a special treat for me to give a copy to our guests,” she said.
The Naquins also enjoy time with family which includes four children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
They also enjoy being active in Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce activities and rarely miss a monthly Business Card Exchange or quarterly breakfasts on days when thy don’t have to prepare breakfast at home for guests. And they also participate in Thibodeauxville, the Chamber’s annual fall festival in downtown Thibodaux. “We are grateful to the Chamber,” Frank said. “Whenever someone inquires about staying with us, we go to the Chamber office to collect brochures about attractions in our city and area. We are always trying to promote Thibodaux.”
- Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce
Thank- you for a wonderful five days at your home. Never in all my travels have I met a warmer, more knowledgeable, friendlier couple than you two Cajuns. You over fed me with great breakfasts, made me feel totally welcome, filled my head wih the rich history of your region and heritage, and made our stay a wonderful time.
My very heartfelt thanks.
- Bob, New York
Thanks for having me and treating me like one of the family. I've gained two new friends and hope to stay in touch.
Your new friend.
- Rob, Alabama
You two are the best! You have given so much of yourselves to me and provided such a warm and comfortable environment. I loved the visit to your fishing camp and the time on your boat. My visit would not have been half as delightful were it not for my stay at Naquin's B&B. Remember that you alwawys have an open invitation to California! Thanks for being who you are and sharing yourselves so beautifully!
- Kaye, California
This has been one of the most memorable and enjoyable visits I have ever had. Your gracious hospitality is beyond measure.
- Miro, Ontario
We have traveled all over the world, and have stayed in many bed and breakfasts, and this is the one that felt the most at home and was very comfortable.
- Winy, Holland
I will remember all my life my plate of crawfish. It was delicious and terrific. Thank you very much for everything and see you i hope one day in southe of France.
- Borde, France
Thanks a million, Frank and Joyce. You have been wonderful hosts, and we have had a terrific time and a woderful breakfast. The house is lovely too.
- Geoff and Jean, Great Britain
Absolutely beautiful people that go above and beyond what I would ever expect. Helpful and truly wonderful people.
- Joanne, Nova Scotia
Our second visit- we have been thinking about your breakfasts and waiting to come back!
- Suzanne and Josh, New York
Wonderful bed and breakfast. Also, my fiance proposed to me upstairs during our stay!
- Tara, Florida
We express our gratitude for the wondeful care and concern to us during our time of need after Hurricane Katrina. We will always be eternally grateful. From the bottom of our hearts-thank you.
- Paul and Susan, Louisiana