In 1862, Thomas J. Sellers (middle, back row) joined the Confederacy to serve with Ogden’s Calvary Regiment and returned to the German Coast after the war. The Sellers family moved to New Orleans around 1882 and returned to the West Bank of the German Coast to the Lone Star Plantation in 1889. The Davis Crevasse forced another move to Alice Plantation (named after his daughter) in Ama in 1893. “Colonel” Sellers died in 1915 and was buried in the family plot at St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery in Destrehan. (Photo courtesy of St. Charles Herald)
Fashion Plantation was located in Hahnville and was owned by former U.S. President Zachary Taylor, although he never resided there. It was inherited by his son Lieutenant General Richard Taylor in 1851. General Taylor served with distinction in St. Charles Parish and throughout the south in the Confederate Army. Fashion Plantation was plundered and destroyed by Union troops. Personal accounts attest that it had been one of the most splendid in the area. The Mississippi River claimed the original site. Fashion Plantation residential developments are now located on the remaining portions of the plantation.
The showboats began in 1831 and brought much excitement to all living along the Mississippi River. They were traveling theatres with stages lit by candles or oil-burning lamps; hand-painted scenery; and curtains, which were lowered and raised. Some were very lavish and some very crude. The actors and actresses lived onboard. At night torches burned brightly on the levee to guide people to the showboat. Tickets were usually about twenty-five cents. Most had to save their pennies and some paid with sacks of potatoes, sides of bacon, honey, and the like. Most farming families had precious little money to spare. By the 1850s many showboats were present up and down the river. They would stop at each town going downstream, doing the same on the opposite bank when returning upstream. Showboats continued to entertain those living along the river for one hundred years into the twentieth century.
The Ormond Plantation is one of the few houses that escaped fires, floods, and the Civil War. It was originally built in 1790 by Pierre Trépagnier on land granted to him by Spanish Governor Bernardo deGalvez for his service during the time of the American Revolution. In 1805, the property was acquired by Richard Butler, who named the plantation Ormond after an Irish ancestor, the Duke d’Ormonde. Upon his death, Ormond was deeded to Butler’s sister whose husband was naval officer Samuel McCutchon (Fr. Paret spelled it McCutcheon). Ormond Plantation adjoined the Little Red Church property, housed a post office, and had a large boat landing. Ormond is the only plantation included in Fr. Paret’s series of watercolors that survives into the twenty-first century.
A view from the levee shows completed piers and the upper part of the Bonnet Carré Spillway weir section, which was taken on March 19, 1930. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Yoes)
A photo taken on March 19, 1930, near the center line of the spillway weir section shows the Stephens Brothers and Miller Hutchinson Construction Company at work. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Yoes)
A view from the levee shows the Sellers neighborhood affected by spillway construction. The upper end of the weir section is seen in the extreme left over the housetops. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Yoes)
In 1912, the Mississippi River burst through the levee at what Lena B. Lacroix remembers as the Hymelia Crevasse. The floodwaters from the river went to the “back” into the swamp near Killona and built up until it began moving back toward River Road. A photographer standing on the Luling Railroad Depot on Railroad Avenue (now called Luling Avenue) took this picture of the Bushalacchi Grocery and Bar as the muddy Mississippi reaches for the porch. A wooden plank walkway extends from the depot to the store and members of the family and customers watch the photographer. (Photo from Le Meschacebe.)
Area men work trying to stop the crevasse with cribbing, which would later wash away. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
A sugar cane field is covered with water following the Hymelia Crevasse break. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
An old sugarhouse and residential quarters are surrounded by water from the Hymelia Crevasse. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
The Hymelia Crevasse of 1912. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
An oil rig stands tall in the waters of Bayou Gauche. (Source: St. Charles Parish Resources and Facilities publication, 1947)
The levee is being repaired at New Sarpy in late 1927. 1927, East Bank / Good Hope / New Sarpy area. (Photo courtesy of Joan Weaver Becnel)
A levee near Good Hope is shored up as a protective measure. 1927, East Bank / Good Hope / New Sarpy area. (Photo courtesy of Joan Weaver Becnel)
Workers try to protect threatened levees before the 1927 flood. 1927, East Bank / Good Hope / New Sarpy area. (Photo courtesy of Joan Weaver Becnel)
The Hermitage Plantation was owned by Judge Pierre Adolphe Rost and was located at the center of the present Bonnet Carré Spillway. Judge Rost was married to Louise Odile Destrehan and also owned the former Destrehan Plantation. He was considered one of the most significant and wealthy plantation owners along the German Coast. The Hermitage was seized by the federal government after the Civil War and later returned to Judge Rost. George Frederick Kugler served as overseer for Judge Rost and later acquired Hermitage Plantation. The property was subsequently sold to the United States government to be used as the site for the spillway project. Lumber from demolition of the Hermitage Plantation was used to build houses on Apple Street in Norco. Another African American cemetery known as the Kugler Cemetery is located at this site. Legend lends an interesting story that George Kugler planted many of the oak trees along the River Road.
A picture from a 1930s Shell Bulletin shows the crowds waiting on the levee for the president.
Between 1849 and 1882, the Bonnet Carré Crevasse left a large, fan-shaped imprint on the landscape. (Map from the New Orleans District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brochure on the Bonnet Carré Spillway)
Father Paret’s watercolor painting depicts the Little Red Church and its surroundings in the heart of St. Charles Parish. The area displays present-day locations of Dufresne (Esperanza) and Hahnville on the west bank, across the river from Destrehan and New Sarpy on the east bank. The east bank Little Red Church, its cemetery, and the presbytery are surrounded by several dependency buildings. A visual of pre-Civil War St. Charles Parish. (Watercolor by Fr. Joseph M. Paret, Plantations by the River by Marcel Boyer, Edited by J.D. Edwards, Published by LSU Press)
Workers rebuild the Hymelia levee. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
Pile drivers move into place to fix the Hymelia break after the river waters go down. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
A control channel helps to handle the Hymelia Crevasse. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
Mrs. Patterson’s store in Killona shows the first signs of flooding as the levee breaks. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
Hymelia water covers a cane field in Star Plantation. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
Crevasse water takes over a store in Taft. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
The lower end of the Hymelia Crevasse is filled with bags of dirt to prevent breakage. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
The Hymelia Crevasse cribbing washes away in 1912. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)
Convicts fill sandbags at the Hymelia Crevasse site. 1912, Hahnville Killona area. (Photo courtesy of the George Lorio family)