Rise of Plantations

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Prospect Plantation
Prospect Plantation was built circa 1815 by Edgar LaBranche who later expanded the plantation from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain.
Leon Sarpy
Leon Sarpy was born in Tennessee and fought in the Civil War. He purchased Prospect Plantation in addition to two neighboring plantations after the war. The Prospect, Good Hope, and Sarpy Plantations became the towns of New Sarpy, Good Hope and Sellers, which became Norco.

Mozella Plantation

Frances Culpepper Youngs
Frances Culpepper Youngs, wife of Hicks Youngs.

Mozella Plantation —Hicks Lewis Youngs and brother Elias moved to the German Coast from New York City in 1851. The Youngs brothers acquired Joseph Marioneau’s property through a series of buyouts and established a sugar and cotton plantation, which they named Mozella after Elias’s wife.

Hicks and his wife, Frances Culpepper Youngs, established their plantation close to Boutte, which follows the Old Spanish Trail, where cotton, sugar cane, and timber were grown.

A rail line linked Mozella to Ashton Plantation. The plantation ultimately became a victim of the Great Depression.

Hicks Lewis Youngs
Hicks Lewis Youngs was the Boutte postmaster for sixteen years; police jury president for fifteen years; school board member for twenty-five years; first railroad engineer through German Coast for the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad; and delegate to 1898 State Constitutional Convention. Youngs School in Paradis was named after him.Hicks Lewis Youngs was the Boutte postmaster for sixteen years; police jury president for fifteen years; school board member for twenty-five years; first railroad engineer through German Coast for the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad; and delegate to 1898 State Constitutional Convention. Youngs School in Paradis was named after him.

Ellington Plantation

Ellington Plantation
Ellington Plantation was also called Witherspoon. Francis Mayronne commissioned Charles Gallier to design the Classical Revival house, which was built in the late 1850s in present-day Luling at the River Road Monsanto Park site. Florenz Albrect Luling, for whom the town of Luling was named, (formerly known as St. Denis, named by a Civil War railroad owner; when the Acadians arrived in the area it became popularly known as “Cajun Town”), purchased the plantation on August 6, 1868. Luling sold Ellington Plantation on May 1, 1882, and a succession of owners followed. It was purchased in 1952 by the Lion Oil Company, which later became Monsanto. The main house was demolished in the early 1960s. Some of the smaller houses from the plantation were moved from the site to Sugarhouse Road and remain in place today. Top photo shows the front elevation with the bottom photo showing the back of the plantation house. (Photo courtesy of JoAnn and Kearney Mongrue)

“How much pepper! What highly seasoned food! But especially how much pepper! Real fire, this food of Louisiana.” —Pierre Clement de Laussat, French Colonial Prefect, 1803

Gumbo

GalettesGumbo is one of the best examples of creolization or cultural blending in Louisiana. It embodies the true essence and flavor of Louisiana’s unique Creole heritage. The imprint of many cultures made possible this favorite and renowned Louisiana dish.

The word gumbo, a roux-based soup, derived its name from the Bantu word, nkombo (okra). Some cooks enjoy using it as a thickening agent, along with filé made from sassafras leaves. The German Coast families enjoyed an abundance of wildlife and seafood in addition to the standard chicken so often used. To the roux-based “soup” some added rabbit, squirrel, alligator, duck, and other indigenous animal meats, as well as shrimp, crabmeat, oysters, and fish. As if this weren’t enough, they also added smoked meats, sausage, and a locally created pork sausage named andouille, in addition to generous measurements of red pepper.

The culinary evolution also produced dishes such as jambalaya, crawfish bisque, courtbuillon, etouffé, beans and rice, pain perdue, galettes, pralines, and more. The meals were usually followed by lots of coffee. The mild climate offered German Coast residents a great advantage in producing crops and helped to provide a broader range of vegetables and fruit than most Americans were able to enjoy. Other supplies were brought in from other states and finer products were imported from Europe. Cistern water was used for cooking. Yes, Prefect Laussat was correct. This assimilation of the many ethnic groups resulted in a fascinating cultural landscape and the cuisine was one of the most interesting outcomes.

Boucherie
The first cold spell of autumn to hit the river parishes was quickly followed by the culinary ritual of a boucherie. The slaughtering of a pig and serving it, as a local delicacy, was a favorite event for many. Entire families and their friends would gather for the three-day ritual, which included the process of slaughtering and slow- roasting the animal; cleaning the intestines for sausage casing and making the “gratons” or crackling (rendering the fat); making sausage, preparing the organs, and other meats; and making hogshead cheese. The food prepared was usually shared by many and in early days used up gradually to provide as many meals as possible. (Sketch courtesy of Lorraine Gendron)

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

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