The Crown Jewels

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Reunion Itinerary of Events

1ST DAY-Friday Evening Presents a choice:

Hotel accommodations call:

Ramada Inn 7624 Hwy 1 Bypass

Telephone: (318) 357-8281 Toll Free: (888) 252-8281

Contact: Greg Friedman

request: "Balthazar Family Reunion"

room rate $48.00

  • For the wild child- gaming venues in Shreveport
  • For the pampered celebrities- private screening of Steel Magnolias
  • For any and all- a presentation of The History of Cane River (this includes a guest speaker at the hotel)

2ND DAY-Saturday Evening (start the party):

  • 6:00-7:00pm- dinner at Ryan's Steak House
  • 7:00-7:45pm-acknowledgements & toast: Jesse & Vernice Balthazar's 64th Wedding Anniversary
  • 7:45pm-until-Our Family History 102-presentation, discussion and slide show (this part of the reunion will cover WHEN, THEN & NOW

3rd DAY-Sunday Morning:

  • 10:15am-Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church
  • Grave yard tour-immediately following mass, cemetary located behind the church
  • 40 minutes tour: There will be a guided tour of National Heritage Area. We will visist 3-4 of these historic sites. (you may want to bring comfortable walking shoes to wear after mass.
  • 1:00pm-We will gather at the home of Maria Roque 1514 Highway 484, Cane River, Louisiana for dinner, farewells and departure

Proposals for you considertion for Planning Future Balthazar Family Reunions:

  1. The Balthazar Family Reunion should be held annually for the next 10 years
  2. The Balthazar Family Reunion should be held at Cane River
  3. The Balthazar Family Reunion should be held at the same time next year in honor of Jessie and Verna's anniversary

IF WE ARE ABLE TO DO THIS OUR NUMBERS WILL GROW AND WE WILL ROCK THIS CITY! For any questions, please email: or call (281)448-0327

Friday, July 22, 2005

Queen Creole Family Photos-3

April Theresa Hall, Christmas 2004. I am the grand daughter of Hugh LaCour Sr & Melba Balthazar; the great-grand daughter of Ernestine (Toog) Prudomme & Ernest (Nay Nay) LaCour. My son, Jason Renard Hall & his daughter Jaicy
My grandson, Jason Tyler Hall
My grand daughter Amaya, my son Olen's daughter
My grand daughter Jaicy

Queen Creole Family Photos-2

(top left) My son Olen Batiste III, my neice Carissa Raney-seated left(Deidra's daughter) & my neice Carmen Comacho-seated right(Juan's daughter)

(top right) My sister Mary Joan

Nweke, her daughter Stacey(seated), & her daughter Nancy

Carmen Comacho's 1st Holy Communion-St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church, my mother Mercedes and my brother Juan

Matthew "Machie" Mullone, my sister Joanie-behind the flowers, and my sister Deidra far right

My youngest brother, Carlos and my mother Mercedes at her 77th birthday bash!

QueenCreole's Family Photos

(top left) My sister Melba Martin & her husband Joe (top right) My daughter-in-law Khristen, Kohbie Walker, Jason Tyler and Jaycy Krystyne Hall

My son Jason and his son Jason Tyler

(top left)My sister Deidra, husband Michael Raney,their grandson Christopher

(bottom right)My youngest son Jason & my first grandchild Jason Tyler

(bottom left)My sister in law Yolanda, my youngest brother Carlos

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

How It All Began

Portrait of a Slave

On December 26, 1735 Francois was baptized as an adult African male slave owned by Commandant St. Denis. He was married to Maria Francoise, also a slave of St. Denis, on January 8, 1736. It is believed that these slaves were from the coastal region of Togo located on the Gold Coast of Africa.

Eleven children were born to the couple.
Maria Thereze Coincoin was the second born daughter. Ko Kwe is the name reserved for the second born daughter by the Glidzi dialect of the Ewe Linguistic group that occupied Togo. The offspring were taught the African language and three of the children were given African names. Respect for their African heritage was instilled the family.

French Louisiana law in 1724 stated that husbands and wives could not be seized and sold separately when belonging to the same master. This law also stated that children born into the marriage under 14 years old should not be separated for their parents. Any such seizures and sales would be null and void. In early Natchitoches this regulation was usually respected.

St. Denis died on June 11, 1744 and Francois and Marie Francois were inherited by his widow. An epidemic struck in 1758. Widow St. Denis died April 16 and on April 19 Francois and Maria Francois died. The children became separated at this time to the St. Denis heirs. Maria Thereze Coincoin and her brother, Jean Baptiste, were inherited by Pierre Antoine St. Denis, the youngest son.

In 1759 Coincoin had her first child, a daughter, Maria Louise. She was described by Colonial records as being full Negro. In 1761 Coincoin gave birth to a second daughter, Thereze, also full Negro.

Between 1761 and 1766
Coincoin became the property of her master’s youngest sister, Maria St.Denis, wife of Antoine Desoto. During this time her third child Francois, was born and baptized. In 1766 Coincoin had a son, Jean Joseph.

On March 12, 1744
Chaude Tomas Pierre Metoyer was born in LaRochelle, France. His parents, Baptiste Nicholas Francois Metoyer and Maria Ann Drapon, were merchants with some affluence. Claude Metoyer was serving in the reserve militia and established himself as a merchant in Natchitoches. He appeared at the Natchitoches post in 1767. Louisiana was owned by the Spanish at the time.

Marie Thereze Coincoin was a slave of MME Desoto and was the mother of six children. Coincoin was loaned out to a later bought by Thomas Metoyer for whom she had ten children. She was released from slavery in 1778 by Metoyer when he chose to marry. All of the children born after Metoyer bought Coincoin were free-born. Metoyer promised at his death to free the children born earlier, but only the Franco-African children were promised their freedom.

Coincoin and Metoyer ended their relationship in 1786 and she was given the land promised in his will to their children. Coincoin petitioned and obtained full title on January 18, 1787. Metoyer stipulated that on Maria Thereze’s death the land would be divided among their children. The African offspring would not be considered in this inheritance.

Metoyer married a white woman, Marie Thereze Buard, in October 1788 clearly stating in his will that the Franco-African children of he and Coincoin would not be included as community property although they were in his possession. He also reserved the right to free then at his discretion.

Coincoin took to the fields in her middle fifties. She had been freed for eight years. Coincoin settled in a small cabin on sixty-eight acres given to her by Metoyer and cultivated tobacco, a most difficult crop. It was used for the Havana cigars. In 1792 Coincoin sent a shipment of two barrels of bear grease and three hundred bear hides. Another source of income for Coincoin was medicinal plants.

Marie Thereze Coincoin petitioned for an additional land grant in 1793 and it was granted May 14, 1794 with MME. St. Denis assistance. Land grants were given with the following stipulations to be met: Within three years of possession land had to be clear in front with two acres deep
Front of land had to be enclosed Construction of roads as needed with repairs.
Bridges and embankments must be constructed where necessary. If land was used for grazing all cattle had to be branded. Failure to meet the above conditions resulted in forfeiture of the entire grant.

At first Coincoin used the land for cattle grazing. In 1797, approximately three years, the improvements required had been made and she hired a Spaniard, Jose Mare, to oversee her cattle. He worked for ten years as overseer and cultivated the land in corn and other crops. In 1807 he left. He either died or wandered to another location. Coincoin wanted her children’s freedom. She had sixteen (16) children. (Child no.1)-Pierre Toussaint and (child no.2)-Francois were born free. (Child no.3)-Marie Francois died during infancy and (child-no.4 )-Marie Eulalie died in their teens. (Child no.5)-Antoine Joseph had been bought and freed by his father when he was a baby. Five of her children remained the property of their father: (child no.6)-Nicolas Augustin, (child no.7)-Marie Suzanne,(child no.8)-Louis, (child no.9)-Pierre and (child no.10) Dominique.

In 1786 Marie Thereze Coincoin made arrangements to purchase, from Sieur Pierre Dolet, (child no.11)-Marie Louise for a total of three hundred (300) piaster (Spanish dollars). Marie Louis was 27 years old and crippled from a gun accident. One hundred (100) piaster were to be paid for each year for three years but something apparently arose because it was nine years before Marie Louise was freed and moved to Isle Brevelle Community with her mother.

In 1790 Coincoin went to Opelousas with $50 dollars to began purchase of (child no.12)-Thereze and her grandson. Thereze was 30 years old with one son. MME. De Soto accepted the down payment and agreed to $700 for Thereze and her son-Joseph Mauricio, age 9. MME. De Soto helped Coincoin by allowing Thereze to raise cattle in partnership with another person. Thereze would be released on MME. De Soto’s death.

In 1797 MME. DeSoto died and Thereze and her son were given to Coincoin with a balance owed of $490. MME. DeSoto’s heirs accepted 6 heads of cattle as payment and Thereze and her son were given their freedom one month after MME. De Soto’s death. They did not return to Isle Brevelle but remained in Opelousas.

In late 1794 Coincoin purchased and freed a grandchild, ‘Catiche’ or Catherine, age 5, for $150. Catiche had been in her grandmother’s care since she was two years old. Her father, Louis, was still enslaved by Metoyer.

(Child no.13)-Francoise, born 1763, was sold at age 9 by MME. De Soto despite specific regulations that no under 14 years old should be sold. No recorded proof has been found concerning Francoises freedom.

(Child no.14)-Jean Joseph died in 1850 in
Cloutierville. No records were found of his freedom but the burial record does not indicate him as being owned. Since Coincoin and several of her children conscientiously bought and freed family members, it has to be assumed that Jean Joseph died a free man.

The children Metoyer held were slaves but were never treated as such by him and were recognized as free within the community. On August 1, 1792 the eldest Metoyer son, Augustine, was freed and married three weeks later to Marie Agnes Poissot.

In January, 1795 the fourth Metoyer son, Dominique, was freed and married January 19th to
Marguerite LeCompte, age 14.

On April 27, 1801 Thomas Pierre Metoyer drew up his last will and testament stating that the remaining three children, Louis, Pierre and Marie Suzanne would be free when Coincoin annulled the contract for stipend given annually. Pierre and Louis would be freed but Marie Suzanne would obtain conditional freedom along with her children, Florentin, Marie Suzette and Marie Aspasie, upon Metoyer’s death. Marie Suzette was a mid wife on the plantation.

(child no.15)-Francois Benjamin, the youngest son, was entrusted to Marie Suzanne’s care. Metoyer also stated that Honore, son of slave Salie, would not be sold to anyone other than Dominique and freed. If this request was refused Honore would return to Metoyer’s estate and inherit with the legitimate heirs.

In the spring of 1802 Marie Thereze Coincoin released Metoyer of his annual payments and was given $1,200 payment.

At age 45 Marie Suzane was freed. Thomas Pierre Metoyer died in 1815, his wife died in 1813. Burial was on the grounds of the parish church.

In 1807 Coincoin bought a plantation on Red River for $500 located near her original tract. Now in her middle 60’s she began turning over her land to Pierre. In 1814 Pierre Toussaint officially purchased the land.

Marie Thereze Coincoin volunteered many times both service and money to the church. She also served as godmother to many of her grandchildren.

On March 9, 1816 Coincoin sold her first home place to
Jean Baptiste Ailhaud. The exact date of her death is unknown but Coincoin died between April, 1816 and December, 1817. Coincoin was buried in Natchitoches in the cemetery in where her parents, two of her children, several of her grandchildren and Metoyer were buried.

Coincoin left a comfortable estate of 1,000 arpents(1 acre) of land and sixteen slaves. Marie Thereze Coincoin left to her children the example of determination, loyalty, industry, frugality, mutual assistance and the emphasis of working with rather than against the dominate race in order to achieve goals.

Three years after
Augustin Metoyer received his freedom from his father, having a wife and two children with no formal education he petitioned and received his grant on May 6, 1796. The tract of land was surveyed and contained 395 acres.

In December, 1795 Louis Metoyer, followed in his brother’s footsteps and also petitioned for a tract of land on the Isle that had been abandoned. He received his land in May, 1796. It contained 912 acres. The grant was apparently requested by his mother because Louis did not obtain his freedom from his father until 1802.

On May 18, 1796 Dominique petitioned for a survey and settlement a few miles down the river from his brothers. The tract contained 904 arpents and was filed April 15, 1799.

The fourth Metoyer son, Pierre, received 128 acres from the Spanish Crown on March 5, 1798. Pierre was 26 and was not freed by his father until 1802.

In December of 1803 the American government obtained Louisiana and began review of the claims.

Marie Thereze Coincoin and her family filed nineteen claims and was awarded seventeen of them. Eleven of the claims had been received from Spanish grants: seven from purchases: one from a donation of Metoyer of 68 acres.

Boundary lines were relocated by the American surveyors and land holders found themselves with less land than they thought the owned. (ie, Augustin Metoyer surveyed at 395 acres by the Spanish government but was surveyed by the Americans as 157 acres.)

The land claims adjustments allowed 5,753 acres to Coincoin and her family. The family continued to work and purchase land. By 1817 when Coincoin died the family’s total acreage was 10,210; not counting 4 tracts of undetermined size.

Marie Thereze Coincoin started along in a “litty corner in the forest” and labored diligently to acquire holdings and secure her children.

Augustin was the first to acquire land and the first to acquire slaves. He lived frugally in a small cabin for two years and acquired enough capital to buy help in 1797. In 1798 he bought his wife’s sister, an 8 year old, out of slavery and freed her immediately.

In 1800 Augustin paid $300 for his third slave, a child of his still enslaved younger brother, Louis, and freed her.

In 1801 Augustin paid $600 for Marie Perine who Pierre, his brother, married shortly afterwards.

In 1802, five years after his first slave was purchased for labor, he bought another one for labor.

He purchased his wife’s brother, Remy, out of slavery for a $1,000 in 1809 and freed him.

The Yucca, said to be Marie Thereze Coincoin’s building stands now on
Isle Brevelle. It was built of logs placed upright in the ground for the frame. A mixture of mud, deer hair and moss was used to fill the spaces in between the wall. It was built long with several room divisions. A spacious veranda graced the front and back extending the full length of the house. It is thought to have been built between 1796 and 1800. Coincoin’s son, Louis, settled at the Yucca with his wife.

By 1817 free land was no longer available so, as the youths married, parents gave donations of land or money to give them a start in life and a measure of security but none were given too great of an amount or handout to weaken his initiative or ambitions.

In early
Natchitoches the forbidden degrees of kinship marriages did not apply to non-whites therefore group intermarriages were frequent. As the status of the Metoyers improved within their community and they became recognized as worthy citizens a priest explained to Augustin the church’s view on family intermarriage. Marriages were then made with males from New Orleans who had settled on Isle Brevelle and Natchitoches citizens.

Hatti refugees appeared on the Isle and some immigrants from France settled there and married into the Metoyer family.

Marie Suzanne, eldest Metoyer daughter and still I her father’s custody was apparently loaned at age 26 to a doctor form New Orleans who moved to the Isle in 1794. In 1795 Marie gave birth to a son, Florentin Conan. She remained in her father’s custody and later had four daughters fathered by a planter named Jean Baptiste Anty.

Dominique, Augustin and Antoine Joseph all married women purchased from widow LeCompte.
Louis was the first to marry an Indian descendent, Marie Thereze LeCompte, of the Cancey Nation. The Cancey Nation was a small family of Western Indians known as the Kiowa Apache. Louis’ wife was born as a slave to Sr.LeCourt in 1783.

The peak period of the Metoyer influence occurred between 1830 and 1840. Indications of land holdings: Pierre Metoyer, one of the less prosperous brothers, died in 1834 leaving 677 acres of land after giving each of his seven children plantations at the time of their marriages.

The eldest brother, Agustin, gave sizable plantations to six of his eight children as wedding presents and divided the remaining of his holdings among them in 1840, maintaining possession of two plantations with total acres at 2,134. In 1840 the plantations owned by Augustin had three cotton gins, one grain mill and a pounds mill. Marie Suzanne owned a cotton gin and one grain mill.

Trades practiced on Cane River besides that of merchants were; carpenters, blacksmithing, tailoring, shoemaker, dressmaker, ceramics, pottery and surveying.

Louis Monette operated the forty mile ferry. Several members of the community operated the twenty-four mile ferry at different times.

Some of Coincoin’s children left sizable estates to their heirs. Pierre Metoyer died in 1834 leaving $19,969. His sister, Marie Suzanne was worth $61,600 upon her death in 1838 and her nephew, Jean Baptiste Louis died the same year leaving $112,761. Dominique, who had supported seventeen children and generously assisted them before his death in 1839, left $42,405. Augustin, the eldest, died in 1840 leaving an estate worth $140,405, the wealthiest of the Cane River Colony. Total assessment of the colony was $770,545 in 1860.

The Cane River Colony worked hard and with determination to make the most of whatever they acquired. Perceptive planning, cooperative effort and unrelenting pursuit of common goals to maintain themselves without dependence upon the increasingly restrictive white society set them apart.

They were Roman Catholics, devout in their faith. Led by Augustin, they built what may be the oldest church built by people of color in the United States. Augustin was strict but kind. Others of the community would seek his advice and guidance. No hint of scandal or indiscretion is attached to his name. Augustin was godfather the first time at the age of nine and in his lifetime he served as godfather to more children than any other man in the parish.

In 1801 Augustin was taken to France by his father and was struck by the organization of the French villages whose community life was centered about the church. On July 19, 1829 the church was blessed. It was built by the Augustin and his brother, Louis, and Augustin’s plantation. The furnishings were provided by the entire community. It is said that priest from many different places said mass at St. Augustin as their travels took them through the area. They were reimbursed by Augustin.

On March 11, 1856 the Mission of St. Augustin was decreed to be a parish in its own right and the first priest was assigned there.

The youths of Cane River were expected to marry in the church and pattern their behavior after the strict dictates of their faith. Courting was chaperoned and marriages were frequently arranged by the parents with references of the young usually considered. Instances of divorces or legal separations did not exist in the colony.

The Rosary was said at home every night with the children being led by an adult who knelt with them. The Angelus was ringed by the church bell every morning at 6:00am for mass and again at 6:00pm. Men stopped and doffed their hats at the sound while women made the sign of the cross: this ended the work day.

Each home had an alter which below hung a crucifix on the living room wall. All ‘holydays’ were observed with special attention to the Easter season. No living thing was killed on ‘Holy Thursday’ and ‘Good Friday’. No meat was eaten between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. On Good Friday confessions were heard and afterwards the cemetery behind the church was cleaned and decorated as they had been on ‘All Saints Day’. Vases of flowers were placed on each grave. On Easter Sunday, after mass, coffee was made on small fires at the edge of the cemetery where people gathered to socialize and celebrate the end of the ‘Lent’ season. A dance would follow that night.

Affectionately called Grandpere Augustin by the community, the eldest Metoyer brother was acknowledged patriarch of the colony. After the death of Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer and Marie Thereze Coincoin, Augustin became head of the family assuming responsibility for the welfare of all “his people”. His word was law; his person respected. No matter how hot the dispute when Augustin gave his decision no one dared to question it.

Augustin was fond of sitting on his front porch. They youth were inclined to gallop down the road but once in sight of Augustin’s house, they would slow the horses to a walk, tip their hats as they greeted him, await his reply, slowly walk out of sight then whip their horses to full speed again.

Francois, the youngest brother, was the free spirit: The hero. He acquired little in the way of material good, an unpretentious man. If he was without a horse and wanted to go to town he would tie his shoes about his neck, walk the twenty-five miles then replace his shoes when he got to the bridge at the lower edge of Natchitoches.

The people of Cane River were cultured, well built and respectful to the elders of the community.

Pastimes available on Cane River were dog fighting cock fighting, checkers, fishing and horse racing on Sunday afternoons at the twenty-four mile ferry.

Education of the first-generation Metoyers was poor; only one, Pierre, was able to sign his name. The original Metoyers recognized the importance of education. How and by whom the first children were educated is unknown but when they became adults around 1800, all but one male were literate. Still most of the females were unable to sign their names.

The community hired private tutors for their children and was almost totally French orientated-they could not read English. Their education consisted of: (1) Bookkeeping-this was the first and larger part with a manual beautifully written and illustrated. The rest of the manual titles were: (2) The Sphere-the general geography of the globe, the countries of Europe, particularly France and the USA; (3) Civics, (4) Astronomy, (5) Greek and Roman history. This was done in a question and answer series that covered information from the Great Wall of China to where sugar cane originated. Another text book studied was (6) Civil Code of the State of Louisiana-1838 and (7) English and French dictionary-published in Paris.

In 1856 the church took an interest in education and opened a mission school with ‘The Daughters of the Cross’ as instructors. The school opened in 1858 but in 1863 conditions from the Civil War brought about hardships and financial reverses which created a drastic drop in enrollment at the St. Joseph Convent. Federal troops were along the Red River and made communications even more difficult between the mother convent at Avoyelles and the mission in Isle Brevelle: The convent closed in December, 1863.

The Metoyers great respect for education is revealed in their private libraries with a large quantity of books. The people of Cane River kept abreast of legislation which affected them. They did not allow anyone to take advantage of them. Documents give details of suits filed with the assistance of counsel.

By and large the Cane River Colony enjoyed a standard of living that certainly equaled that of the well-to-do middle class white planters of their era.

In 1795, when Augustin Metoyer began the Isle Brevelle Colony, he was a recently emancipated slave, a penniless 27 year old with a family to support. He had no education, no marketable trade, and no property except for the raw land that the Spanish Crown had recently given him. Inside of sixty-five years, less then one lifetime, his family completely vanquished the stigmas of slavery, illegitimacy, illiteracy, and poverty.

The fortunes they accumulated proved their astute business judgment and enabled them to build their own church, and brought them education and culture.

In general, the decline which the colony experienced occurred mainly in two periods. The first was The Depression of 1830’s and early 1840’s. The second was the years of Civil War and Reconstruction. Both were eras of general destitution in which men of all races suffered economic disasters.

The Depression lasted almost ten years and in the drought of 1839 delayed the crops. In 1840 in the wake of a flood a drove of caterpillars ate half the crops. In 1841 cotton prices dropped to nine cents a pound. Mercantile houses were falling all over the state. By May, 1842 all but four banks in the state had gone broke. The ‘Bud worm’ destroyed cotton crops and by the summer of 1843 cotton was selling at four cents a pound.

Suits were filed against borrowers and land was sold at depression prices in an attempt to play off depts. Some people, poor and wealthy, planter and tradesmen, were wiped out, but the majority managed to survive and began rebuilding. Most of the Colony managed to survive the crisis without losing all they owned but none escaped without significant reduction in their estates or money.

Major factors that prevented the Colony from economic expansion were population increases and geographical confinement. As new generations’ matured and older members died the holdings escaped were divided and sub-divided among many decreasing land holdings.

The opportunity for the young to buy land was slim. By 1830 all worthwhile land was privately owned. The only vacant land for sale by the government was swamp and hill lands.
As Colony members fell into debt their land was seized and sold at the sheriff’s auctions falling into the hands of creditors who held mortgages.

The whites survived better because they had fewer children and the wealthy families intermarried to consolidate their wealth and strengthen their families’ fortunes. And because the Metoyers had no financial peers to marry, their spouses were usually on a lower economic standing.

When Louisiana was transferred to American authority the ‘Black Code’ was revised to meet he American concept resulting in less freedom and less opportunity; economically, socially and politically. Because France had given Louisiana up to Spain and took it back again, the people of Louisiana did not believe the USA would have possession the land permanently and therefore maintained the French culture. By the latter part of the century the younger members of the Colony began to learn English but their common language remained French.

The Colony developed distrust for the American white. They learned too late, it is thought, that the American white was interested in friendship as long as they could profit from it. For example, in a friendly game of cards the American whites would insist in high stakes. The colony was eager, but not skilled at Poker. They found that property was lost instead of a few dollars.

As conflict increased some migrated mostly to France with a few to Canada, Mexico and the island of Martinque.

The New Orleans port was closed to both exports and imports creating a decrease in income and food. Food shortages made it necessary for the farmers to be self-sufficient and grow their own food. It was also demanded that they feed the troops. The drought of 1862 increased food shortages but the Confederate troops continued to draw their food from the colony. When the Union government gained control, reimbursements were promised but only six members of the colony applied.

The recovery of losses was virtually impossible for the Cane River Colony. A Confederate general wrote: “The destruction of the country by the enemy exceeds anything in history. For many miles every dwelling-house, cabin, every cotton gin, every corn crib and even chicken houses have been burned to the ground.”

The Confederate solders, in order to prevent the Union from obtaining cotton stored, set fire brigades to work burning all the cotton on every Natchitoches plantation with sparks frequently burning homes down as well.

The Union army followed closely burning homes, cotton gins, corn cribs, chicken houses and cabins, tearing down fences and destroying fields. Livestock was stolen and household utensils were either broken or stolen along with wagons, harness, etc.

Losses were tremendous and the passing of years brought a steady decrease in holdings as new generations divided the property until some owned no more than a narrow strip of land. Homes were torn down and the bricks and lumber sold. Some were lost along with the land.

The expensive furniture and other inherited heirlooms were held as long as possible. Eager collectors waited and clamored for the large four-posted beds and the ceiling high armoires. Some were finally sold.

By the turn of the 20th century the younger members began to move in hopes of a better life.

In 1974 the Melrose Plantation buildings were opened as a Historic Landmark. The chapel of St. Augustin Catholic Church still serves the community.

Summarized from the book entitled:
Author: Gary B. Mills
Summary by: Rosa Nowlin



arpents: any of various old French units of land area; especially : one used in French sections of Canada and the U.S. equal to about 0.85 acre (0.34 hectare)

Mme. Main Entry: MmeFunction: abbreviationEtymology: Frenchmadame or the head mistress of the home

doffer: Main Entry: doffPronunciation: 'däf, 'dofFunction: transitive verbEtymology: Middle English, from don to do + of off1 a : to remove (an article of wear) from the body b : to take off (the hat) in greeting or as a sign of respect2 : to rid oneself of : put aside- doff one's hat to or doff one's cap to : to show respect to :

Just a little get-to-gether with this bunch, makes for a great Saturday Afternoon Brunch Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

Remembering Those Who Have Gone Before Us

My Uncle 'Beek' born:
Hugh LaCour, Jr.
May 9, 1929- Melrose, Louisiana
December 13, 2004- Shreveport, Louisiana

We will truely miss you at this year's reunion.
Beek always played a primary roll in organizing
our reunions. He never missed one opportunity
to join us in our gatherings because he loved the
concept of 'FAMILY'.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Cane River Reunion


To view photographs of our ancestors, click below and then click on 'Family Album'.

This is another relative's website. It is full of great information, links and photographs.

Explore Cane River/Natchitoches!

Louisiana Office of Tourism:

Official Online City Guide:

Christmas Festival:

Cane River Heritage Organization:

Juniors Juke Joint, down home music and lots of interesting links:

Roque’s Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Scenic Byways online:

Other Related Reference Books:
Creole : the history and legacy of Louisiana's free people of color / edited by Sybil Kein.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2000.

"In her introduction, Sybil Kein immediately addresses perhaps the book's most important - and controversial - question: who are the Creoles? The answer is not clear-cut. Of European, African, or Caribbean mixed descent, they are a people of color and Francophone dialect native to south Lousiana; and though their history dates from the late 1600s, they have been neglected in the literature. Creole is a project that both defines and celebrates this ethnic identity. In fifteen essays, writers intimately involved with their subject explore the vibrant yet marginalized culture of the Creole people across time - their language, literature, religion, art, food, music, folklore, professions, customs, and social barriers."--BOOK JACKET.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Balthazar Family Reunion

Many of you have asked about contributing to the costs of our reunion. In addition to your own personal expenses such as travel, hotel and activities "On Your Own", only two family events have been identified as needing your support. (1) Each attendant shall contribute $5 for the Saturday evening dinner at Ryan's Steak House. (2) An additional $5 for the farewell lunch at Maria Roque's home on Sunday afternoon. (3) We also need someone to bring a laptop computer with Windows XP and wireless access.(this will be used on to enhance our presentation of "Our Family History 102")

August 19-21, 2005
On Cane River
It's time to make your hotel reservations for the

Balthazar Family Reunion
Between Family Events you are "One Your Own"
don't be afraid, there are many activities and places to go. We have listed 23 ideas for your convenience, most are free! We invite you to add suggestions by joining our site or simply click on the 'post comments' section of this page
Natchitoches Historic Landmark District

Shopping, Guided Streetcar Tours, Natchitoches Meat Pies at area restaurants, St. Denis Walk of Honor*, Tour historic town homes, Old Court House State Museum, Two Historic Churches-built 1850's, Ft.St.Jean Baptiste SHS*, American Cemetery,est 1750's, Carriage rides in the historic district

Okay Here Are 10 Mores Things to Do

Cane River National Heritage Area, Oakland Plantation, circa 1821, Magnolia Plantation, Out Buildings, Melrose Plantation, circa 1796, Magnolia Plantation, circa late 1800's, Kate Choplin Home & Bayou Folk Museum circa early 1800's

Other Attractions of Special Interest........

Bayor Pierre Alligator Park & Show, Rebel State Historic Site & Louisiana Country Music Museum*, Los Adaes State Historic Site*(capital of Spanish Texas for 50 years), National Fish Hatchery & Aquarium, Sports Writer's Hall of Fame, Grand Ecore Vistor's Center & Red River Musuem, Adai Caddo Village & Cultural Center

*free for persons 62 & over!

Get to know your family....And much, much more!
Links that may interest you on this trip click on:
Cane River Reunion
For more information contact emails:

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