Le bon Voisin'age (Neighborliness / Connection) between Bayou Pigeon, La. & Pierre Part LA.
Even though Bayou Pigeon is in Iberville parish, most everyone knows the Cajun residents of Bayou Pigeon came here from Pierre Part, La. Thus Bayou Pigeon has more in common with Pierre Part than with any other community in our home Iberville Parish.
Since most people know the Cajuns are descendants of Acadians from Nova Scotia, and the story of the 'Grand Derangement'. But that does not answer the questions of the inquiring mind, How did the Cajuns get to Pierre Part?
The rest of the story:
The very first Acadians to arrive in the Louisiana territory consisted of 21 people in 4 families.
They came in 1763, and settled on the west bank of the Mississippi in "the area of the vacant lands between [Nicolas] Verret's Plantation and [Jacques] Jacquelin's Cow Ranch," near the present site of Lagan, St. James Parish.. Here they created a little Nouvelle-Acadie of their own called The First Acadian Coast. This settlement preceded the Bayou Teche Cajun settlement by at least one year.
More Acadians arrived in the immediate area in 1765 /1766, and settled above the First Acadian Coast at present day Donaldsonville, on Bayou Lafourche, in Ascension Parish.. This was called the "Second Acadian Coast". A third Acadian coast was “The Maryland Acadians,” who settled at St.. Gabriel, Iberville Parish..
The Acadian Coasts are not "coasts" as one would think of the term today as land along the seashore of an ocean. A coast by definition is "the land near the shore“ but in this case, the shore is the land along the Mississippi River.. During the 18th and 19th centuries the term coast was used to describe the distinct settlements situated just above New Orleans along the Mississippi River's edge.. There are naturally two coasts. The left coast or left bank, was the land located on your left-hand side if traveling down river, the east bank, and the right coast or right bank was the land located on your right-hand side if traveling down river , the west bank. “ The Coasts,” in this context are named for the first settlers to establish along their shores.
These new settlers were called 'Les petits habitants' French for Small Farmers.
In August 1770, a Spanish census …of the Acadian settlers in the district, (1 st & 2 nd) Acadian Coast) and counted 84 families.
In 1777… the Spanish governor counted… 61 men, 67 women, 128 boys… 92 girls, 1,178 horned cattle, 158 horses, 80 sheep, 882 swine, 130 arms, 1 free savage, 12 goats, and 3 kid
Explanatory note: A pieux is a board. The earliest were hand rived were of cypress. The Cajuns brought with them to Louisiana many skills, incluing all aspects of farming. Carpentry was one of them, fencing for the farm was important. The cajuns had two kinds of pieux fences, and both are depicted in the sketch. One was of vertical boards, and it could be a small picket fence around the house, are a very tall one around a vegetable garden (to keep out chickens). The other pieux fence had pieux boards driven into the ground, and holes were dug into them (often with a special froe). Then horizontal pieux were placed in the holes, as seen around the field near the house.
After the new USA completed the Louisiana Purchase, new American immigrants, began to move into the area. These Americans had money to spend on land, and they began to push / buy out the small and poor Acadian farmers, “Les petits habitants" from the good front lands along the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche.
The Bayou Lafourche Acadians did not to resist these new immigrants too much, the Americans were willing to pay a good price to the Acadians for their small farms and they distrusted the new Anglo goverment. After Grand derangment they distrusted any goverment! Instead of taking the money and moving or looking for better ground to the north or to the Bayou Teche area , the Lafourche Basin Acadians would fall back closer to the east edge of the Atchafalaya Swamp,
This was documentd by Pitot, James (Pacques-françois), Spanish Cabildo Ward Commissioner of New Orleans; 1802 -1804. He wrote a critique of Spanish rule of Louisiana colony - 1796 to 1802 for the French who had taken over from the Spanish. This was before the Louisiana Purchase He observed that La-fourche Parish was alreadying enjoying an increased rate of growth. His description of the region reveals the changing complexion of Acadian coast settlement along Bayou Lafourche ,as English speaking planters began to move into the region the 'Les petits habitants' withdrew into the further reaches of the swamps”. The Les petits habitants recognized there was some opportunity for agriculture in the Pierre Part area, ie., along the narrow strips of ridge lands along the Bayous.
The Lower Lafourche Valley , to Paincourtville, Napolenville, Houma, Raceland area.
The route to Pierre Part;
At the Village of Port Barrow on the banks of Bayou Lafourche slightly below Donalsonville, there was a cordelle road / path, it was either along a bayou or small slough , likely to the source of Grand Bayou, which led to Lake Verret.
By 1815 a small settlement of families, existed on the west banks of Lake Verret, where Bayou Pierre Part flows into the Lake Verret. These first settlements were placed on the *brules, surrounded by swamp. Brules’ were high natural ridge cleared and burned… ‘brules” French ‘for burnt’.
Between 1780 and 1803 the Attakapas Canal (pronounced tuck-a-paw) was completed, ie., a man made canal made by extending a natural bayou was connected Lake Verret with Bayou Lafourche. This route also provided a shorter route to the lower Atchafalaya Basin ( Morgan City and the area of Bayou Teche to the west than Bayou Plaquemine.