Foundations of Spanish Colonial Pointe Coupee: 1760s - 1800

STEP BACK IN TIME TO THE SPANISH COLONIAL ERA IN POINTE COUPÉE

June 6, 2009   New Roads, LA

 

The importance of Pointe Coupée is not only its initial impact on the early settlement of Louisiana during the formative years, but its prominence later in the 18th century as a carrefour for traffic and commerce. After the massacre in 1729 [of the colonists by the Natchez], it became a refuge for settlers not only from Fort Rosalie, but from Ouachita, Yazoo, and Arkansas as well. Descendants of the early families of the area, when land became scarce, helped populate and establish the posts at Opelousas and, later, at Avoyelles. As the mother of these posts, the study of Pointe Coupée history is essential to a thorough understanding of a very large portion of the entire state.    Winston Deville, FASG - 1978

(De Ville—descendant of early Louisiana families—is an acclaimed historian, genealogist, scholar, author and publisher)

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 More is yet to be known about Pointe Coupée Parish history.  Records are scattered throughout archives in the United States, France and Spain.  Louisiana archives have made major strides in the past decades to acquire microfilm copies for research.  These original records are scribed in French, Spanish and English, awaiting translations and transcriptions. The parish courthouse records today are inaccessible due to their deteriorated condition. Currently stored in safekeeping, their words lie in a deafening silence waiting funding for conservation. Much is left to tie the threads of history together for Pointe Coupée.    As each generation passes, the history continues to be lost to the sands of time.

The Foundations of Pointe Coupée Community Series board members—a group of experts who are also descendants—decided to change that.  They created the Foundations of Community Series to host annual forums to liberate the foundations of Pointe Coupée’s rich history and culture.  Inspired by the elders and their front porch stories, the stories are stitched together with meticulous research and shared with a public audience.   The first two forums featuring the French colonial era brought participants from the community, throughout Louisiana, California, Texas, Mexico, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey!  

Those with deep roots in Louisiana attended the third annual forum. The event was devoted to the second half of the colonial period, when Anglo-Americans began to arrive, and the French population continued to thrive. Experts offered a variety of programs on genealogy and history—in  English and Creole.   Documents from Spanish archives that have never been seen in modern times were highlighted. Special guest speaker, Fr. LaVerne “Pike” Thomas III shared his encyclopedic knowledge about Pointe Coupée colonial families & his much sought after reprint of LeDoux. Fr. Pike also discussed what he’s learned since 1982 and selections from his abstracts of Pointe Coupée records 1770-1786 (first printing was available for this forum by Provincial Press).

Forum included interactive conversations about Pointe Coupée during the Spanish era, Creole lunch, program & vendors—including Provincial Press.  The day ended with a Colonial Family Reception to extend family ties, & share research, oral histories & photographs Special recognition was extended to Winston DeVille -historian, genealogist and publisher - extending our sincerest gratitude for his invaluable lifetime works on Louisiana presenting him a framed sketch of the 2nd St. Francis Catholic Church.