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Extraction of St. Charles Parish - Persac Map (Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, Detail from Norman's Chart of the Lower Mississippi River by Marie Adrien Persac–Accession #1974.1)

The Antebellum Period

"In the eighteenth century, many early colonists were afforded land grants and established plantations and businesses. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, many Americans navigated down the Mississippi River in all manner of craft to settle in the Louisiana Territory. By 1804, more than eighty years had passed since the German Coast had been established and the floodgates opened to newcomers..." Read More

An aerial view of the Pan American/Amoco
Refinery in Destrehan.

Plantations to Petroleum - East Bank

"As the centuries changed, so did the landscape of St. Charles Parish. In colonial times, the German Coast was the breadbasket of the colony. The breadbasket continued through the prosperous Spanish era as it did during the plantation era, when the wealthy planters and their landholdings dominated the economy and politics. From the McCutcheons, Destrehans, Rosts, LaBranches, and Trépagniers to the Sellers and St. Amands, the power of land translated ..." Read More

An indigo processor. (Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Acc. No. 1979.128)

The Culture of Sugar Cane

"Indigo, the main crop of German Coast settlers for many years, had been brought to the colony from the West Indies in the 1700s. This tropical plant produced a lasting blue dye important to the European textile industry and the blue color remains very popular even today in cotton denim fabric of blue jeans. However, today almost..." Read More

Military records of LaBranche. (Courtesy of the Fortier Family Book)

Revolutionary War

"In January 1776, Thomas Paine published his Common Sense pamphlet rallying American colonies to part with their British king. Thirty-three-year-old Constitutional Convention delegate, Thomas Jefferson, attorney and planter, drafted the words for the Declaration of Independence. Several months passed and on July 4, delegates to the Second Continental Congress signed Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary ..." Read More

Lussan Store, Luling, was built in the late 1800s and moved three times for levee setbacks.

Early Roadways and Commerce

"In 1860, the German Coast residents still had dirt roadways that remained well into the twentieth century. Road construction was left to the respective parishes. The most used roads on both banks were those running along the Mississippi River. Those riding on horseback or in horse-drawn buggies were faced with many obstacles, depending on the weather. Planks were sometimes laid to reinforce the dirt roads. Crude ferries carried travelers across the larger bayous, but the Mississippi River continued..." Read More

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

"In 1908, Henry Ford began producing his Model T. In 1915 in Mobile, Alabama, a group of automobile enthusiasts, spirited by the Spanish padres and conquistadores, met and organized the “Old Spanish Trail Project.” The project promoted a paved automobile highway across the southern United States connecting St. Augustine, Florida, to San Diego, California. Louisiana became a thorn in the side of the trail organization, failing to pave the road and replace ferries with bridges. In 1919, shamed by..." Read More

Bunge Grain Elevator, Destrehan

Plantations to Petroleum - West Bank/East Bank Expansion

"As the 1950s rolled around, other economic engines were starting up. The Delta Match Corporation opened in St. Rose in 1952 on the old Frellson Plantation, and Lion Oil Company (Monsanto) construction began in 1952 in Luling on the old Ellington Plantation. Delta opened as the first large, wooden match manufacturing plant in the South, eventually becoming the largest of its kind in the world. In 1955, Shell Chemical opened..." Read More

Louisiana Purchase Map. (Used with permission from the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, State of Louisiana Bicentennial brochure.)

The Louisiana Purchase

"Fearing Napoleonic France’s control of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and with a desire to preserve and expand the agricultural character of the United States, President Thomas Jefferson sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to France in early 1803 to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans and as much land east of the Mississippi River as possible. On April 29, 1803, Napoleon unexpectedly agreed to sell the entire Louisiana Territory for only $15 million dollars, which doubled ..." Read More

Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, b.1826, d. 1879, was the owner of Fashion Plantation. He was the son of President
Zachary Taylor and the brother-in-law of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Taylor was a U.S. Senator, 1856–1860;a colonel in the Louisiana Ninth Infantry (appointed by Governor Moore); was
appointed brigadier general in 1861;fought with distinction under Generals “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee; was a member of Louisiana Secession Committee and chairman of the
Committee on Military and Naval Affairs;and enacted the Conscription Act to enlist
aid to fight Union troops. He is interred with his wife at Metairie Cemetery.

Ordinance of Secession

"St. Charles was one of twenty-nine parishes that supported secession on January 26, 1861. General Richard Taylor of Fashion Plantation was elected to represent the German Coast. His signature is included among those signing the document with the notation “of St. Charles” directly below. The German Coast was then no longer a part of the United States. For two months the German Coast was part of a new nation named the Republic..." Read More

Acadians Arrive

Acadians Arrive

"In 1764, a few Acadians, whose ancestors had settled the province of Acadia or Nova Scotia, arrived in the colony, and a few settled on the German Coast. However, the great Acadian migration to Louisiana started in 1765, when most settled above the German Coast on what would come to be called the Acadian Coast (St. James Parish). The Louisiana colony, attracted the Acadians because of the French..." Read More

“In Front of the Fireplace,” Norco, 1938; unidentified photographer. Nearly everyone had to struggle to make ends meet. Nearly everyone had to make sacrifices. Yet, no real change in the way of life seemed
to occur. “Not in Louisiana,” it is said, “not like it was in the North.” The picture in this photo essay was taken by a photographer working under the auspices of two New Deal federal programs—the Resettlement Administration (RA), which in 1937 became the Farm Security Administration (FSA)—and depicts this country’s most dramatic economic collapse and documents the trials and the triumphs of the human spirit under most adverse circumstances.

Great Depression

"It has been said by some that the St. Charles Parish area may not have been as profoundly affected by the Depression as the rest of the nation because many German Coast residents were still living in less than desirable conditions having never fully recovered from the Reconstruction period. However, there were adverse effects. The “little” man was particularly affected by the hard times of the..." Read More