St. Charles Parish, ‘Parish of Plenty’

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  • Third oldest settlement in Louisiana (after Natchitoches and New Orleans), 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 of 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!

Parish of Plenty
“Parish of Plenty” created in 1807 from the County of the German Coast. Sketch by Janis Blair.

OUR HISTORY is the story of those first families, the pioneers — those courageous men, women, and children who left their countries in search of a better life, overcame profound suffering and unbelievable hardships, and persevered and prospered in a short period of time.

IT IS A STORY OF THE SETTLEMENT OF THE GERMAN COAST, referred to early in the eighteenth century colonial period as la Côté des Allemands, and their beloved leader and commandant for over forty-eight years, Karl Fredrick Darensbourg.

FROM THE GERMAN COAST TO THE GOLD COAST, OUR HISTORY peers into the majestic and fleeting era of the plantations with all of their grandeur. From the pain and sorrow of slavery, we move into the Civil War years, with their grief and tragedy, then Reconstruction and chaos as the 19th Century ends… then to the twentieth century as we move from an agricultural to an industrial society and how our culture begins to change! Read about two significant historical finds of the 20th Century — Hanno Deiler’s exciting discovery about our German heritage and Father Paret’s 1850s journal, with accompanying watercolors.

OUR HISTORY is the story of over 150 years of Catholic Church dominance, beginning with the founding of St. Jean des Allemands Catholic Church by the Capuchin Missionaries, as set out in the Articles of John Law’s Company Charter, which provided for the building of churches and assignment of Catholic priests to serve the spiritual needs of the inhabitants, reinforced by Bienville in the colony’s Code Noir permitting the “exercises of the Roman Catholic creed only.”

THE POETRY AND ROMANCE OF OUR LEGACY LIVES ON TODAY IN OUR PARISH IN THE “MILE OF HISTORY” and beyond, where symbols of our remarkable heritage remain. We are the beneficiaries of a very unique culture evolving over nearly three centuries. This virtual museum is an intriguing journey through the history of St. Charles Parish, the “Parish of Plenty.”