Home Is Where The Heart
In lighter moments during the research and writing and promoting the Bayou Pigeon book…our team, would joke with me, you’re not from Pigeon , you’re from Baton Rouge, ie., that I was not native born.
That thought is somewhat the genesis of writing this Blog posting, not the only reason, but one of them.
I will try to add some clarity for thought ; Of when can someone could / should claim… "I’m from Bayou Pigeon" !
For the record…
From the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary… Native means "one born or reared in a particular place" . You're a "native" of a place when you're born or reared there.
You're "from" a place when you live there.
With that said…
Sometimes, I receive questions from folks that are too young to remember the End of the World Bar and Restaurant at Bayou Pigeon...
What was the ‘End of the World’? What happen to it ? Who were / are the LeGranges ? There are no LeGranges actually living at what is recognized as Bayou Pigeon proper today. When did they leave? If LeGranges were not native to Bayou Pigeon, How did they get to Bayou Pigeon” ? Where are the LeGrange's originally from?
The LeGrange (LaGrange, lah-GRONJH) Family - Creole / Cajun is our Heritage
It is generally believed the LeGrange family are descendants Jean Jason de LA GRANGE who left LaRochelle, France, on May 28, 1719 landed on the Gulf Coast of America, near Mobile, Alabama and made his way to Louisiana. Thus the LaGrange’s are descendants of French Creoles and not direct descendants of the Acadians. However, the LaGrange's settled in the Attakapas District of Louisiana, ie., today's Atchafalaya Heritage Area.
A French Creole family is one that came to Louisiana directly from France or from the West Indies, Alabama, or other French possessions in the Gulf/Caribbean region before 1803, the year Louisiana ceased to be a colony and became a territory of the United States. The term "Creole" used here is a generic one (Spanish, criollo; French, créole), meaning someone "of Old World parents born upon New World soils, with no first-hand knowledge of the mother country."
An Acadian family, is one that lived in greater Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island, and parts of Newfoundland) before or during Le Grand Dérangement of the 1750s and whose members found their way to Louisiana as exiles from Nova Scotia, the English colonies of North America, or from France or the West Indies. The first of them reached New Orleans from Georgia via Mobile in February 1764. Explanatory note; More came from Nova Scotia and Maryland in 1765, 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769. A substantial number of them did not reach Spanish-controlled Louisiana until 1785. Their years in France did not make these late comers any less Acadian than their cousins who had reached the colony 20 years before. (My wife, Diane Solar, a natural born native of Bayou Pigeon, her mother is a Gaudet, one of the first documented cajun families to arrive in LA. in 1764!)
The LaGrange's came from New Orleans to Opelousas, and settled down the Bayou Teche corridor, Arnaudville, St Martinsville, Morgan City. E.g.., Dorothée, daughter of French Creole Jean-Baptiste Lagrange was born on Bayou Black in July 1848, (source; Acadians in Gray website) and is definitely the matriarch of the modern Clifford LeGrange family.
The LaGrange's are considered Cajuns, but not pure Acadians. The Acadians frequently intermarried with the French Creole’s and other nationalities in the area. However, the French language and the Acadian culture quickly became dominate culture in the Bayou Teche Corridor / Atchafalaya Heritage Area. The folks that spoke the language and developed the traditions of the Acadians became known as 'Cajuns'.
The LaGrange’s settled in the inside the black dotted line, ie., The Bayou Teche Corridor. There are many LaGrange's from Arnaudville, LA. to Patterson, LA.
Where do the Clifford LaGrange's come from?
A modern search of Ancestry. Com data… The Patriarch of our Clifford LeGrange family was Treville LaGrange , Source; 1880 US Census Data - Trivil and Elvina LaGrange.
He was Born in 1830… and lived in the Bayou Black / Gibson La. area of Terrebonne parish. He was a veteran of the Civil war, a member of the 1st Regiment Heavy Artillery (Regulars): Cos. A, B, C, D, G, I
"Acadians in Gray '
Significantly Cajun Units in the Armies of the Confederacy:
1st Regiment Heavy Artillery (Regulars): Cos. A, B, C, D, G, I
Pointe Coupee Battalion Artillery
Siege Train Battalion Heavy Artillery: Co. D
1st Battery (St. Mary Cannoneers, Cornay’s, Gordy’s)
2nd Battery (Boone’s, Thomas’s)
5th Battery (Pelican Artillery, Faries’s, Winchester’s)
5th Company, Washington Battalion Artillery (Hodgson's, Slocum's)
6th Battery (Grosse Tete Flying Artillery, West's, Yoist's)
Donaldsonville Artillery (Maurin’s, Landry’s)
King’s Battery (St. Martin Rangers, Fuller’s)
Orleans Guard Battery (Ducatel's, LeGardeur's)
Watson Battery (Beltzhoover's, Bursley's, Toledano's)
"Most of the Acadians in Gray in the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery were conscripts who were assigned to the regiment in the Fall of 1862.
Summary of The 1st Regiment Heavy Artillery (Regulars): Companies B, C, D, E, F, H, and KOrganized in militia service on February 5, 1861. Transferred to Confederate service on March 13, 1861 Throughout the fall and winter of 1861, Companies B, C, D, E, F, H, and K served in Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip below New Orleans. The companies at Jackson and St. Philip fought well against Union admiral David G. Farragut’s fleet during the bombardment and passage of the forts. The unit was included in the surrender and parole of the garrisons on April 26, 1862. The officers and men captured at Jackson and St. Philip received their exchanges in the fall . A significant number of original volunteers did not rejoin the unit after the fall of New Orleans; First Commander: Paul O. HÉBERT, COL [promoted BG August 14, 1861]. After the Civil war, in 1880 Treville was raising his family and working as a farmer on a Plantation in the Gibson / Bayou Black , La. area in Terrebonne Parish.
Delma LaGrange, son of Treville LaGrange and father of Clifford LaGrange Sr.
Lived in Terrebonne parish as his father… Note: Delma LaGrange was originally spelled with prefix La not Le, as were all his children in 1910. Explanatory Note: Misspelling of names was quite common in Census records, until about 1940 especially in French South Louisiana as the Cajuns pronounced names totally different than ‘English’ speakers and were misundersood a lot, by Anglo American census workers… eg., Selma versus Delma…
Why do the Clifford LeGranges spell there name Le…LeGrange versus traditional La... prefix....ie., LaGrange
It may have started by accident with 1920 US Census. Note: the misspelling of the surname, Le… versus La… excerpt above. There seems to be some confusion / misunderstanding, ie, where does Lespance come from? Anglo speaking Census worker ?
Delma and his wife, Ella LeGrange are buried at St Patrick Catholic cemetery in Gibson, LA. After Delma's Death most of his children had made their way from the Bayou Black / Gibson LA. area to Baton Rouge, LA. Ella joined them Baton Rouge in the mid 1930’s.
Sons of Delma and Ella LaGrange / LeGrange
L-R: Dennis, Clarence, Louis, Clifford, Treville, Lester & Ella LeGrange
L-R: Dennis, Clarence, Louis, Clifford, Treville, Lester & Ella LeGrange
Photo courtesy of A V Horne
As noted…the LaGrange’s settled in the Bayou Teche corridor…in the picture below, note the similarities between Emile LaGrange from Arnaudville, LA. , especially the forehead and Clifford LeGrange Sr., pretty sure they have same ancestors…
How did the Clifford LeGrange's get to Bayou Pigeon…
Places People Remember :
“The End of the World “ Grocery Store, Bar, Dancehall & Restaurant
In 1958 , after being caught up in a ‘reduction in force’ from the Ethyl Corp. Clifford Jr. decided to make a career and life changing event. The purchase of the the Indigo Inn Bar and Dance hall ( aka., the End of the World) at Bayou Pigeon, La. At the time the combination, Grocery Store, Bar, Dancehall was quite common at Bayou Pigeon.
The original Indigo Inn; Grocery Store, Bar and Dancehall ...c 1956
LeGrange's Camp - End of the World Bar & Restaurant
Clifford Jr. and spouse (Joy Vicknair LeGrange) remodeled the old Indigo Inn in stages. The last addition added another combination, to the ‘Grocery Store, Bar and Dancehall’ concept. The seafood restaurant business, selling what we call today ‘Swamp Seafood’. Fried catfish, frog legs, Boiled Crawfish, Crabs and Shrimp, crawfish bisque, and crawfish etoufee. They developed a facility for private parties on a covered outside pavilion.
Clifford LeGrange Sr. retired in 1960 from the ESSO refinery in Baton Rouge and promptly moved to Bayou Pigeon to help in the business.
In the inserts, Clifford & Joy, with Carlton LeGrange on bike, 5 years old and Paw paw LeGrange
To remove any doubt of whether I was reared at Bayou Pigeon.
Indigo Bayou Kids, 1962 !
After the flood of 1973 and the death of a favorite son…The End of the World Bar and Restaurant was closed down. Clifford Jr. built it himself , board by board and as it was on leased property he tore it down board by board. Was not able to sell it…
I was too young and immature to realize that the End of the World Bar and Restaurant at Bayou Pigeon was a rich story of family that embodies the Spirit of the Atchafalaya and Cajun Culture. As the oldest son, I should have carried the business on… I don’t know what I was thinking .
Why Does remembering Old Places Matter? It’s simple, Because they help us remember!
Memories survive even when places disappear… The old place is gone, but the memories we can keep for our lives… Home is where your heart is…means that the place that you most fondly remember, no matter where you are, will always have your heart.
The End of the World - Bar and Restaurant is gone… My parents are gone, my siblings now live in the city and most of our old neighbors have passed or moved.
My ‘mother in law’ 93 years young, this day, has lived at Bayou Pigeon for 83 years and owns house and property there. She and my Father in Law, Laury Solar (1924-1993) raised their family there. Thus my wife is natural born native of there. Most of my lifelong friends came from there. Thus I have I still have a family connection there. I have a Camp Boat, a Bateau, 3 Skiff ‘s and a Pirogue… the Sounds and ways of the Atchafalaya still lure me in … I live 20 miles away…
Bayou Pigeon, LA. is where my heart is…
The LeGrange Family - Brand
From the days of the “End of the world’ , Clifford LeGrange Jr. (1923-1995) and son after son have embraced the Swamp Seafood business; from catching crawfish, selling them live , catering large crawfish boils, processing crawfish tail meat and selling them boiled in a restaurant setting.
From the 1970’s , until today, all of his sons , and numerous grandsons at one time or another have carried on in the Swamp seafood lifeways and culture. From Commercial fishing, to various business ventures, eg., Cajun Boilers, Café LeGrange, Carlton’s Seafood, Crawfish City, Boiling Boys, Capital City Crawfish and Atchafalaya Crawfish Processing.
Cafe LeGrange - 1980"s Acadian Thru way Baton Rouge, La.
2015 - Chachie and Carlton...Carrying on the Brand
Clifford J. LeGrange Sr. (Pal) hailed from the Bayou Black / Gibson Louisiana area. His father was Delma LeGrange a descendant of Jean Baptiste LaGrange. Clifford Sr. made it to Baton Rouge, after service in WWI in the Marine Corps. Where he married Margie Hicks from Iberville Parish and raised his family. He retired from Esso, the Standard Oil Co. In 1960 as a / process operator / pump mechanic. After retirement, Clifford Sr. and his spouse Margie Hicks LeGrange soon followed their son to Bayou Pigeon and helped run the Family business. By virtue of his cajun roots “Pal” quickly became the favorite LeGrange of the cajun folks at Bayou Pigeon.
Clifford J LeGrange, Jr. grew up in Baton Rouge and after service in WW II married Joy Vicknair of Iberville Parish and settled in Baton Rouge. He worked in the Petro-Chemical industry in Baton Rouge. In 1958 he decided to make a career change and purchased the Indigo Inn Bar and Dance hall ( aka., the End of the World) at Bayou Pigeon, La. where he had a hunting / fishing Camp. Bayou Pigeon was a cajun fishing community on east side of the Atchafalaya Basin. Clifford converted the Bar and Dance hall to a combination ; Bar, dancehall, grocery store and seafood restaurant, with a covered Pavilion and picnic grounds. There they raised there children at Bayou Pigeon. They were Clifford III ( Chachie), Cindy, Carey, Curtiss ( Rucky) , Cherie, Clint ,Carlton , Chad (Aka Charlie). Clifford and Joy introduced a new concept to the seafood restaurant business, ie., selling Boiled Crawfish in a restaurant setting. It was there at Bayou Pigeon, that the ‘Spirit of the Atchafalaya’ and the Swamp Seafood Restaurant business became a LeGrange family life long passion.
Clifford LeGrange, III, ( Chachie, the oldest) grew up at Bayou Pigeon, working in the family business. At 13 years old, he cleaned catfish, frogs and started boiling crawfish, crabs, shrimp in large batches for the restaurant. He married his Cajun bride from Bayou Pigeon, Diane Solar, in 1968 at St Joan of Arc Catholic in Bayou Pigeon, LA .
About the Book … In 2008 , after retiring from the Dow Chemical Co., he was motivated by how much Bayou Pigeon had influenced the lives of the LeGrange's, to research, write and publish the book “Bayou Pigeon, LA. Spirit of the Atchafalaya ‘. It was published in 2012. The book has sold 3000 copies and won a national award from the Independent Publishers association in the pictorial / coffee table non fiction history book category
Home is Where the Heart Is ;
So for most of you on the 'Pigeon' Facebook page and who no longer live at Bayou Pigeon, I know where your heart is or you would not be in the Pigeon Facebook group !
Is there any doubt where my heart is...
Enjoy ! Chachie