NEW ROADS, La. (WAFB) - Pointe Coupee is going into its third century of settlement. In fact, it’s older than the entire State of Louisiana. That’s a long time to put some roots down. So how did it all get started, and how can you walk through some of that history?
Whether you’re driving through fields of drops or over the newest bridge along the mighty Mississippi River leading into the parish, you always seem to be stepping through history.
Let’s start with that river. Did you know 44 percent of the water in the United States funnels down to a point in Pointe Coupee Parish?
Brian Costello is a noted historian and genealogist in the community.
Pointe Coupee was first settled in the 1720s. The first settlers arrived from a province of the Holy Roman Empire. By the 1730s, the French and Africans were here, along with Native Americans. Around 1780, things really changed when the big river had its first major flood.
The river would flood 18 times in total. The biggest? The flood of 1912.
“The 1912 flood was our Katrina,” Costello said. “The levee broke in the northern part of the parish and flooded Pointe Coupee and 11 or 12 other parishes to the south."
The oldest commercial building in townhouses one of Pointe Coupee’s finest dining establishments: Ma Mama’s Kitchen.
Pointe Coupee is also home to the LaCour House, one of the oldest buildings in the entire Mississippi River Valley. Leftover from the Spanish colonial days, it dates back to the early or mid-1700s. Peering through the windows, you feel like you can almost step back in time.
The St. Francis Chapel is now in its third incarnation after the first two, along with many other churches, were lost to the river before the levees were built.
“St. Mary Church in New Roads is probably one of the more familiar ones,” Costello said. “Designed by a German architect.”
The original design had a huge steeple, which would have added 60 feet to the church. It didn’t make the final cut.
From a street map of New Roads nearly 100 years old to the present day, the old tin mill is still standing, with a new lease on life these days.
“That would be the building where the market is held,” Costello said.
The first library was started by Mrs. Audrian Lawrence, the 1906 Queen of Rex. The original building is still there near Courthouse Square. Only now, it’s Raymond’s Pharmacy.
Across the road is False River, the area’s star attraction for decades.
“The triple arch was a restaurant and bar at the end of False River, where Ralph & Kacoo’s began,” Costello said.
History is around every corner or bend in the river. Maybe the best-kept in Louisiana, the secrets of Pointe Coupee, False River, and the City of New Roads are finally out.