Welcome Museum Visitors

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   Welcome to our new virtual museum. The front door is just a click away and the walls and hallways are endless... Here you will journey through our past, relive our historic events, visit with the founding fathers, and follow the path of the first explorers all while learning something new about the people, places, and culture that makes St. Charles Parish our home. The St. Charles Museum and Historical Association invites you to come in, stay awhile and visit us often. We have a unique story to share with the world.



Reconstruction – 1866-1877

T he The former slave quarters of Destrehan
Plantation became freed Negroes’ homes after the Civil War. period from 1865 to 1877 has been called the “Reconstruction Period.” This term implies that building and reconstructing should have taken place. However, little of that occurred or was even addressed by the federal government. In reality, it marked a period of non-violent military occupation. Slaves were freed, the economy was in chaos, and poverty was widespread. Many of the slaves chose to remain on the plantations, residing in the same living quarters working for the owners. Wages were paid in the form of tokens, which could be used only at the plantation store. Levees were in very poor condition and laborers were scarce to perform necessary reinforcements and repairs. Great numbers of “carpetbaggers” flocked to the plantations. In order to move forward, it was necessary to restore local government, reestablish the devastated local economy, and develop industries, which would provide basic necessities and define a place in society for the newly freed Negro. There was much to be done before Louisiana and the German Coast would be readmitted to the United States. The Louisiana legislators ratified the Fourteenth Amendment on July 9, 1868, and Louisiana was once again a part of the United States.

"Carpetbaggers—this term applied to political opportunists in power in the South during the Reconstruction following the Civil War. Using the Negro vote unscrupulously, these men gained control of the local governments and grew rich through graft. Mostly Northerners, they were called “carpetbaggers” because it was said their only possessions on arrival were carried in their carpetbags.

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St. Charles Parish History Overview

  • In the Beginning...

    The history of St. Charles Parish reaches back to the earliest settlements in the Louisiana territory, that vast expanse of land later known as the Louisiana Purchase. France’s claim to this huge amount of territory hinged on colonizing it and developing the riches of the land. Few Frenchmen of substance were willing to leave the relative comfort of 18th Century France. However, they were happy to accept concessions of land in what was then called...

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  • Parish Name Sake

    In 1807, St. Charles Parish was named for the Ecclesiastical Parish of St. Charles, which served its parishioners in colonial times and in succeeding centuries at its present location in Destrehan. Charles Borromeo was born of noble birth on October 2, 1538, in a castle on Lake Maggiore in Italy. His father was Count Gilbert Borromeo and his mother was a Medici of Milano. While studying civil and canon law at the University of Paris, Charles acquired the reputation of being a paragon of virtue and humility. He earned his doctorate at age twenty-two. When his uncle, Cardinal de Medici, was named Pope Pius IV in 1559, he named...

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  • St. Charles Parish, "Parish of Plenty"

    • Third oldest settlement in Louisiana, older than the nation itself
    • Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River
    • One of Louisiana’s most affluent parishes
    • Intricately linked for centuries to its religious namesake, the Ecclesiastical Parish St. Charles Borromeo
    • Traces its heritage to both John Law’s Company of the West and the original colonists who settled the “German Coast” from 1719 to 1722, leaving many descendants who continue to live here today carrying on for generations the traditions of their ancestry!

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