Panel #14 Mississippi Riverwalk
A) Donaldsonville, Louisiana
Mile 175.0 AHP
A trading post was established where Bayou Lafourche met the river in 1750, and a small community grew up around it. Most of the settlers were French, but the town was named for William Donaldson, an Englishman, on whose land the town was laid out in 1806. During the U. S. Civil War, Union boats were fired on from the riverbank at Donaldsonville, and they retaliated by bombarding the town and burning many buildings. U.S. Admiral Farragut threatened to destroy every house there if his boats were bothered again. The local citizens made a public plea to Confederate sympathizers in the area, asking them to leave the Union boats along.
B) Bayou Lafourche
Mile 175.5 AHP
Bayou Lafourche, meaning The Fork, was a narrow outlet of the Mississippi River which carried flood waters into the Gulf. The 110-mile waterway was navigable by steamboats at high water but it also flooded plantations along its banks. In 1903, the mouth of Bayou Lafourche was damned to protect the local farms, and it was permanently closed by the levee system.
C) Geismar, Louisiana
Mile 185.1 AHP
Geismar was part of the "German Coast" on the river above New Orleans, LA. The German farmers who settled in the area were originally lured to Arkansas by promises of a paradise in the New World. When the promises proved empty they headed downriver to find passage home. The French governor, Bienville, persuaded them to settle in Louisiana instead. The Germans proved to be a source of stability in the hard-pressed colony, and the German Coast was widely known for its well organized and profitable small farms. The German people were eventually absorbed into the French population, but the communities kept their German names.
Photo credit: Louisiana Oak Tree with Moss, Louisiana Office of Tourism