Using htaccess to protect subdirectories with Joomla 2.5

I’m using Joomla 2.5 on my site, and I tried using the htaccess/WebDAV feature in cPanel to create a password protected subdirectory containing an index.html and an mp3 of a recorded conference call. When I try to access either the naked directory, the index.html, or the mp3, I get a 404 error. When I delete the .htaccess and .htpasswd files, I can access everything just fine. This is the same error I got when I created my .htaccess and .htpasswd files by hand. What’s going on? Is this a Joomla issue, or a Joomla on Dreamhost issue? Not too familiar with Joomla.