Along the bayous of south Louisiana, with its majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss, open prairies teeming with wildlife, and lush primeval forest, the Chitimacha lived long before the first white settlers arrived in the Attakapas District around 1746. The newcomers would travel by oxcart and boat along waterways lined in flowering magnolias, pecan trees, and grapevines to establish new homesteads.
In April 1811, a territorial act that divided Attakapas County created St. Mary Parish. Sugarcane plantations with idyllic names such as Idlewild and Shady Side were established, and timber, trapping, fishing, and agriculture prospered. Later, oil and gas with its many support industries became part of the rich heritage of south Louisiana.
The first settlers endured many hardships: floods, storms, outbreaks of yellow fever, and the challenges of the Civil War. St. Mary Parish has seen its share of changes over the centuries, but the tenacity, resourcefulness, and pride of the people remain as constant and endless as the slowly flowing waters of the bayous to the Gulf of Mexico.
Highlight of St. Mary Parish:
• Charenton and Avery Island
• Baldwin, Franklin and Garden City
• Centerville and Bayou sale
• Morgan City, Patterson and Berwick
Longtime resident of St. Mary Parish, Julana M. Senette is an active board member of the Techeland Arts Council, an organization committed to gathering, archiving, and creating musical folklore with new productions of No Hitchin’ in October and March of each year.
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.