Nicholls Barn Lives on as Table in New Coffee Shop

Caption: Standing in front of the new table are Ellender Memorial Library Director Elizabeth Batte, Dean of the College of Science and Technology Dr. John Doucet, Biological Sciences Department Head Dr. Quenton Fontenot, artist Will Branch, Nicholls first lady Allison Clune, Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune and Lance LeJeuen of Byron Talbot. (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University) 3/22/21

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University students will continue to enjoy a piece of university history thanks to local artist Will Branch. 

Branch was among the team to help tear down the old barn at the Nicholls Farm. He used the white oak and cypress wood he found within the barn to create a wooden table which he donated back to the university. 

“The college deserved something like this since it came from their farm,” said Branch, whose work can also be seen at Middendorf’s restaurants. “It has been a pleasure to build this, and it makes me feel good to see something like this go back where it was from.” 

The table will be placed in a new coffee shop on the eastern side of the entrance to the Ellender Memorial Library. The space will include a Sodexo coffee shop, Makerspace, computer labs and tutoring center. 

“Having something that will live on in this space and serve our students in the beautiful new coffee shop is special,” Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said. “This is a treasure, and we are lucky for Mr. Branch’s work.” The barn was one of the original buildings when the university bought the property from Harvey Peltier in December 1969 and was torn down in February 2020. Dr. Quenton Fontenot, department head of biological sciences, said plans are to install a pavilion in its place as an outdoor classroom and space for community engagement.