I n 1748, two savage Indian attacks of the east bank German Coast colony caused the settlers to abandon their fields, houses, and livestock and flee either to New Orleans or the west bank settlement near the St. Charles/St. John Parish line. Commandant Darensbourg’s west bank militia lacked sufficient boats to cross the river and protect settlers. Louisiana’s governor sent troops to shoot or capture the Indians but fear of more raids was ingrained in east bank settlers. Because of the Indian unrest and the impact on the lives of the German Coast settlers, food production was stifled. The lack of a food source for the people of New Orleans was profound. Most settlers refused to return to the unprotected east bank of the German Coast.

1765 Survey of the Mississippi River by Lieutenant Ross

 

     In 1750, a small military post of thirty men was established on the east bank to encourage settlers to return, but many still refused. The east bank post was located across the Mississippi River from Karlstein. The economy of the colony suffered for many years due to reduced food production from German Coast families. A 1765 survey of the Mississippi River by Lieutenant Ross published in 1772 shows the old German fort, established on the east bank across from Karlstein in 1750 by Governor Vaudreuil, was still standing. The survey is published in the Encyclopedia of Forts, Posts, etc. by Powell A. Casey.

     In the 1750s, several waves of German immigrants from Alsace Lorraine arrived on the coast and as they joined existing colonists, the settlement’s ability to supply the markets of New Orleans was strengthened. At this time, the German Coast was the second largest settlement, having a population of two hundred families. Only New Orleans exceeded this count, with a population of four hundred families.

 

 

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Map of German Coast Settlements, illustration from book Germans of Louisiana Karl Fredrick Darensbourg. (Photo courtesy Tulane University, Special Collections, Kuntz Collection)

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Copyright © This text is copyright material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.