Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

A Cajun Jed Clampett

The Harry Bourg family in Dulac: Bertha Luke (a cousin), Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bourg, Lena (sitting on the table), Dorothy, Mildred, Evelina, Gertie, Nora and Albert.

“The Houma Daily Courier” told many interesting stories for a special edition in 1972. One of them concerned the late Harry Bourg, who was a Cajun Jed Clampett of sorts.

Harry grew up working in a shrimping camp. He didn’t speak English until he married at age 20 and his wife taught him another language besides French.

Harry Bourg (left) in the late 1920s.

What’s interesting about Harry is that he died a millionaire. That’s unusual for someone living on the bayou who makes his living off the land and water.

Harry had an inquisitive mind. He wondered why he caught more shrimp on some days than others. After thinking about it, he fashioned a piece of wood into an airplane propeller with a weight and net. The contraption would go to the bottom of the water and stir up the shrimp, guaranteeing a full net.

His invention was so successful that he had to build another invention. He created a drying platform for the shrimp.

Harry also was a collector. He snapped up land – a little plot here and a little plot there. By 1928, he owned 12,000 acres. Some of that land held oil, turning Harry into a millionaire.

In 1963, Harry died. He fathered seven children (I’ll put husbands in parentheses): Norah (Hughes Breaux), Mildred (Russell Voisin), Gertie (Cyrus Theriot), Dorothy (Lawrence Bergeron), Lena (Bob Martin), Evelina (Eli Gallier) and Albert.

Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

The early days of Bayou Black

The Pierre Trahan family in 1900 (left to right): Mrs. Joseph Trahan holding son Harris, Mr. Trahan, Lillian, Annie, Agnes, J.P., Laura, Pierre, Mrs. P. Trahan, Louise, Leo, Mrs. Leo Trahan holding daughter Eunice, Levi and Clay. Back row: Mary, Elodie and Dennis. A grapevine winds its way along the front porch of the family home. 

In 1972, “The Houma Daily Courier” traced the early days of Bayou Black in Terrebonne Parish. It’s an interesting read about dance halls, large families and 5 cent sandwiches.

Founders: The first settlers included Maximan Hebert, Bannon Bonvillain, Harris Bergeron, William “Billy” Antill, Armond “Tema” Thibodaux, Ωzema Blanchard, Pierro (sic) Hebert, Delmar and Emile Breaux and Claiborne Daspit.

Sugar mills: Sugar mills were located at Greenwood, Orange Grove and Argile. Superintendents were Tucker Boudreaux at Greenwood, Clay Jolet at Orange Grove (daughter Minnie became the first lady sugar boiler) and Felix Bonvillain at Argile (where the Ramada Inn is – or was as of 1972).

Syrup mills: Dalmar Breaux operated a mill with his sons in the early 1900s. Belonie Blanchard also owned a mill that he operated with his own sons on his property. Belonie’s son Ellis worked alongside his father until he bought property from Oscar Daspit at Flora plantation and built a home and syrup mill. That mill operated until 1941, when a worker shortage because of the war forced its closure. A third mill was owned by Jules Breaux.

Blacksmiths: Plantations used to have their own blacksmiths who shoed the horses, kept the plows sharp and made sure the tools were in working order. Local blacksmiths included Leo Trahan, Allen Arceneaux and Felix Giroir. Arceneaux also worked with his father as a carpenter building houses, wagons and coffins.

Getting to Gibson: At one time, Bayou Black was just a narrow stream which ended at Magnolia Plantation. A narrow trail through the woods led to Gibson, where folks would get their mail, groceries and freight at the depot.

Dance halls: The oldest dance hall belonged to Rene Hebert. On Saturdays, a rider would mount a horse and ride up and down the bayou inviting people to dance at the hall that night. The hall also hosted weddings, including the marriages of Clay Thibodaux and Volcair Hebert. Rene Hebert and his wife had twin boys: Ramie and Rene. Rene Sr. died in 1916, leaving the running of the dance hall to his wife, who operated it until 1926 or 1927.

Polly: A large boat named Polly visited every year. It was owned by a couple from New York who would throw peppermints and baseballs to people on the banks.

Shopping in Houma: David Giroir piloted a boat that took people to Houma for shopping trips. There was a landing at the foot of Main Street. Sandwiches in town cost five or 10 cents.



Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Teles Babin

Teles Babin watering his flowers with a water sprinkler that he invented.

Teles Babin was four years younger than Henry Ford, just as an inventive but not quite as rich.

Mr. Babin told his story to the “Houma Courier” in 1934.

Teles’ son Joseph also liked to invent.

His inventions included a recording ballot box, which tallied up to 100 votes. A partner took the box to Washington to make Mr. Babin’s fortune. Unfortunately for Mr. Babin, the partner went out for a drink which turned into a number of drinks. He boasted and showed off the box. It disappeared before he could sober up. Before a new could be made, someone else produced the cash register.

Teles’ daughters Emily (left) and Daisy.

Mr. Babin turned his attention to inventing a coffee dripper. Then he made a gas tank, an oil pump and a metal kitchen sink. He seemed to always be tinkering.

The Courier: “Every morning, a silent benediction is breathed into the air by the lonely fisherman pumping gas into his boat; by the farm woman who no longer has to carry water from the well for the dish pan; by the mother dripping coffee for young sleepy heads; by the tottering aged grouped about a safety heater. Surely wealth does not mean an accumulation of silver coins.”


Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Ellendale plantation

Ellendale boasts 13 foot ceilings and a yard shaded by trees.

Once upon time, Ellendale plantation on Little Bayou Black was the Widow Tanner’s place.

Here’s the Widow Tanner’s place. It wasn’t too shabby.

Things changed in 1851 when Andrew and Eleanor Elizabeth Slattery McCollam bought the antebellum home. The McCollam family let the Widow Tanner’s home stand for 23 years before they pulled it down and replaced it with the current Ellendale plantation.

Andrew and Eleanor met in Donaldsonville. Andrew was in town with his brother John on a surveying trip. Eleanor was visiting her aunt, Mrs. Maurin. Andrew’s family came from Scotland. Eleanor’s family came from Ireland. Both Andrew and Eleanor lived in New York so it was natural that the two Northerners should meet.

The McCollam family: from left, Alexander, Edna, unknown, Mrs. William, Eleanor Elizabeth, unknown, Edmund, William and Andrew.

Together they had 11 children and renamed the Widow Tanner’s place Ellendale after Eleanor. They were a busy couple.

The surviving children were:

  1. Andrew
  2. Edmund, who went off to the Civil War at age 16.
  3. Henry who studied law at the University of Virginia
  4. Alexander who studied with Henry
  5. William
  6. Eleanor Elizabeth who was schooled at the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans.

By 1874, it was just Edmund and Alexander at the homeplace. Alexander would die in 1905 of yellow fever. Edmund lasted until 1921, caring for the wife and five children his brother William left behind upon his death in 1894.

William’s five children were:

  1. Katherine
  2. Ellen
  3. Edna
  4. Andrew married Esther Baskette and had Andrew and Eleanor Elizabeth
  5. William married Marie Mason and had William, John and Edmond

Source: Houma Daily Courier, Oct. 8, 1972

Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Joseph Jones Munson

MFw4UY+VT8CZg5nGwBK2pwThe Oct. 8, 1972, edition of the “Houma Daily Courier” tells the story of Joseph Jones Munson who ended the manual harvesting of sugarcane.

Munson was the son of Albert Galletin Munson and May Adele Lemon Munson. He was one of seven children who grew up on an East Feliciana Parish cotton farm. According to the newspaper, he studied at Millwood Institute, Centenary College, in Jackson and at LSU. He married Emma Lea Harvey. They had one child: a daughter named Genevieve.

What’s interesting about Munson is that he was an inventor. He held patents for 29 machines, including a cane loader, a sugar cane cleaner and a vacuum pan. He worked in the sugar industry for the South Coast Corporation.

His mechanical sugar harvester ended manual labor in the cane cutting process.


Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Early priests of Terrebonne Parish

Because they don’t leave behind children and grandchildren, priests are often forgotten over the years. I think this is sad since they played such a huge part in their parishioners’ lives, baptizing babies, uniting couples in marriage and burying the dead.

Here, cobbled together from newspaper articles, is a list of the early priests of Terrebonne Parish:

The original Sacred Heart burned to the ground in the 1950s and was replaced by a brick building. 


Jean Marie Joseph Denece arrived in 1863 from France aboard the St. Genevieve. He was among 51 priests and seminarians recruited by the archbishop of New Orleans. Father Denece traveled his parish by horseback and pirogue for 26 years. He died in 1890.


J. M. Evano became the church’s first pastor in 1911. He established St. Louis Chapel for the residents of Bayou Blue.

St. Bernadette


In 1958, George Herbert was appointed by the archbishop to create a parish in the Broadmoor section of Houma. Mass was said for the first time in Broadmoor School. Father Hebert moved into a small house on Collins Street while work began on an actual church. Initially, the parish served 43 families.

St. Lawrence.Church 4 of 4sm


Father Perreau was the first pastor when the church became a separate parish in 1858. Sadly, Father Perreau quickly died after falling from his horse while out visiting a sick parishioner. His successor was C. Urcun.

st ann
St. Ann in Bourg is pictured in an early photo.


The first priest was Adrian van der Brook (Broek?), who served from 1908 to 1922. Poor health caused him to return to Holland.







Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Pictures from the past

Francois and Cecile Gouaux with their children: Leon, Celine (from left), Louise, Emma and Victoire.

Old newspapers are a treasure trove!

My grandmother saved a bunch of Houma newspapers that had genealogy articles and family photos. I’m dumping them on my blog in the hopes that they’ll be useful to someone.

Most of these concern the Gouaux family.

Francois Gouaux was a druggist who grew up near Bordeaux in southern France. He left his native country for Louisiana, where he married Cecile Folse in Thibodaux. The couple settled in Houma around the 1850s and opened a drug store on Main Street.

They had five children, mostly girls:

  1. Victoire married Louis J. Menville.
  2. Celine married Odressis J. Theriot and became the mother of Zoe and Judith.
  3. Emma married Camille St. Martin.
  4. Louise married Dr. Leon Tarleton.
  5. Leon.

Francois owned the whole square between School and Belanger in Block 600 at one time. He built a home on School Street and built a laboratory in the back to brew his own remedies. He sold a colon cure, anti-asthma medicine and ringworm ointment across Louisiana and in other states.

Next door to his home was the Menville home.

Here are Mrs. Odressis J. Theriot and her friend and neighbor Mrs. R. L. Zelenka sipping cafe noir beneath their patio oak in Houma.
Sisters Judith (left) and Zoe Tberiot planted a flower garden in the stump of a gigantic live oak that once stood at the back door of their grandfather Francois Gouaux’s laboratory in Houma.


This live oak was planted by Francois Gouaux on Belanger. At the time this photo was taken, it had stood for nearly a century.
The Louis J. Menville home on School street in 1972.
Francois Gouaux’s old laboratory forms part of the home where his granddaughters, Judith and Zoe Theriot, reside.
The Gouaux grandchildren went to France with their grandparents in 1906. Back row, from left: Gaston Theriot, Cecile Menvile holding Vital St. Martin on her knee, Lucille St. Martin with the bow in her hair, Leonie Theriot holding Zoe in her arms, Paul Menville, Judith Theriot holding Yvonne Gouaux. Middle row, from left: Adolphe Menville, Louise Menville, Odette St. Martin, Yvette St. Martin and Frank Tarleton. Bottom row, from left: Leona Gouaux and Camille St. Martin.
Francois Gouaux and his wife Cecile with their children: Emma (Mrs. Camille St. Martin), from left, Louise (Mrs. M. B. Tarleton), Leon, Celine (Mrs. Odressie J. Theriot) and Victoire (Mrs. Louis J. Minville).
Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

The last of the Houmas Indians

Sambo Finch

According to old version of a Houma newspaper, the man above was the last of the Houmas Indians.

Francois “Sambo” Finch supposedly lived 105 years. He farmed near Pointe-aux-Chenes and knelt down to work the fields when he got too old to stand. His prized possession was a buffalo rifle. He died in the 1940s and migrated to Houma from Donaldsonville with other Indians. He lost his right leg at the knee “running from the (Civil) war” because he didn’t want to be part of that.

All of this was according to his grandson, Panchio Billiot, who was pushing for federal recognition of the Houmas Indians when he spoke to the “Houma Daily Courier.”

Billiot said his grandfather was a medicine man who treated whites and Indians alike. His remedy for a cut to avoid tetanus was to apply a mush of big, red roaches to it.

Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

Hotard Home in Bourg

Another from the newspaper archives:

“At Bourg stands a picturesque homestead of hand-built cypress timber, pasted with adobe and decorated with white plaster and a cool, comfortable sixty-five foot front porch.

This landmark, one of the oldest in the parish, will disappear when Mr. Joseph Lecompte, present owner tears down the old Euprhosin Hotard residence in order to replace it with a new modernly equipped home.

The exact date of the erection of the original east wing of the home has become lost in the cloudy pages of the past. It has been definitely established, however, that the house was purchased and a west wing added by Euphrosin Hotard in 1832, two years before the founding of the city of Houma.

The old home has seen a “heap of living.” Mr. Hotard, a widower whose children numbered 13 moved from St. James Parish to Lafourche and thence to Terrebonne in 1832 and married the widow of Hubert Madison Belanger, nee Celine Mars, the mother of five.

Cypress timber, the wood eternal, was hand-hewn and sawed on the water wheel mill owned and operated by Mr. Hotard himself. As testimonial of its endurance, Mr. Lecompte plans to use in the erection of his new home many of the 12-inch cypress beams and much of the original timber, which has withstood perfectly the test of nearly a century and a half of service.

That the 150 acres of fertile farmland surrounding the old homestead have remained in possession of the Hotard family for nearly a century is a matter of exact record in the parish courthouse. The site upon which the ancient home is located was originally a part of an Indian grant to Etienne Billiot from the Spanish government. It was sold to J. B. Duplantis and later purchased from him by a Mr. Folse, an uncle of Euphrosin Hotard’s first wife.

The marriage of Celine Mars and Euphrosin Hotard was blessed with three offspring, the youngest of whom, Olympe, married Teles Blanchard. Mr. and Mrs. Teles Blanchard, now residents of Houma and celebrating their 64th year of married life, were the parents of 11 children. Their grandchildren number over 30, according to Mrs. Blanchard, who has lost count of the exact number and they boast of two great-grandchildren.

Teles Blanchard purchased the old homestead and farmed on it successfully until 1920, when he sold it to Joseph Lecompte. He also maintained a 30 acre orchard and neither he nor his wife were ever too busy with the farm of their children to keep growing a beautiful flower garden, which still remains fresh in their memory. Their orchard, when they sold the place in 1920, had 26 bearing pecan trees and as well as many pear and other fruit-bearing trees.

According to Mrs. Blanchard, her father, Euphrosin Hotard, in addition to his water wheel mill, owned a line of boats which operated through Bayou Lafourche to New Orleans to buy and sell cotton. He was also employed in hauling sugar through Canal Belanger to Lockport.

Mrs. Blanchard also recalls that one room of her father’s house was dedicated entirely to religious purposes. Several times during the year, the Catholic priest drove down from Thibodaux in his horse-drawn surrey to administer to the spiritual needs of his parishioners.

On the occasions of the priest’s visits any babies born since his last visit were baptized and all couples desiring to wed awaited his appearance to bless their nuptials.

obituaries, terrebonne parish

Obits from Gibson, La.

An assortment of deaths in Gibson, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, from early newspapers:

The Times-Democrat: Sept. 20, 1895

Thomas Bloomfield, colored, while attempting to get on a moving train yesterday at Gibson, La. had both legs cut off. He was brought to this city and taken to the hospital, where he died at 7:30.

The Times-Democrat: March 1, 1898

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 4.48.54 PM.pngInformation reached this city last night of the death at Gibson, La., of Mrs. Annie E. Knight, one of the oldest and most lovable residents of Terrebonne parish. Mrs. Knight was the widow of the late James McClellan Knight of Terrebonne, whom she married in 1844. She was born in Henderson, Union county, Ky., and was the daughter of James Alexander Jarvis, who emigrated from Kentucky to Louisiana in 1837. Mr. Jarvis soon acquired the Jarvis plantation on Bayou Black, near Gibson, which still remains in possession of the family.

When Mr. Jarvis left Kentucky his daughter was a student at St. Vincent Convent, near Henderson, where she remained until 1841. When her education was completed, she removed to Terrebonne parish, where she has resided continuously since.

Mrs. Knight was the mother of 10 children, seven of whom survive her, two grown sons having died recently. Seven years ago she was attacked by an incurable disease and has since been a confirmed invalid, tenderly nursed by her youngest daughter, Miss Laura, and other children. Throughout her long illness Mrs. Knight bore her sufferings without complaint, always interesting herself in the affairs and comfort of those around her and showing a rare example of Christian fortitude and resignation.

The Times-Democrat: Feb. 27, 1899

L. Lacassagne was drowned in Bayou Black near Gibson, La., yesterday.

The Times-Picayune: Jan. 28, 1900

Gibson, La. – Mrs. James Canning, a highly respected resident of this neighborhood, died yesterday at her late home on Hope farm, and was buried from the Roman Catholic church this evening. The deceased, who was a native of Ireland, was 56 years of age and leaves a husband and six children to mourn her loss.

The Semi-Weekly Times-Democrat: July 9, 1901

Gibson, La. – Your correspondent was misinformed last night as to the party who killed young Ed Thibodeaux last evening. The gun and hat of Gilbert Dedrick Jr., colored, were found this morning where the killing occurred and as Dedrick is missing, it is supposed he is the guilty party. Hounds from Lafourche were put on the trail this morning and tracked the murderer for several miles through the swamp until a heavy rain caused them to lose the trail. The killing is shrouded in mystery. The remains of young Thibodeaux were taken to Thibodaux for burial this afternoon.

The Times-Democrat: April 21, 1902

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 3.56.33 PM.pngGibson, La. – Judge F. R. Richard, aged 54 years, for many years a prominent businessman of this place, and for several years judge of the Eighth Judicial Court of Terrebonne parish, died here at 5 o’clock this evening of heart trouble. Interment will take place tomorrow evening in the Roman Catholic Cemetery.

The Times-Democrat: May 8, 1904

Richaud – At Gibson, on Tuesday, April 26, 1904, Burton Lawrence, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Richaud, aged 3 months and 4 days.

The Times-Democrat: Jan. 24, 1905

Gibson – A white man who worked for Clark’s show that left here this morning called a colored man’s house yesterday saying he was sick and wanted a bed, which was given him. He died today without disclosing his identity and will be buried tomorrow at the expense of the parish, in the Catholic cemetery. Inquest was held over the body and it was found that he came to his death by excessive drinking.

The Times-Democrat: Feb. 8, 1905

Mrs. John Walther died this morning, aged 34 years. She leaves seven children, ranging in age from 12 years to six days, besides mother, brother and sister.

The Times-Democrat: Sept. 5, 1905

Gibson – H. L. Soulis, a merchant of Gibson, died this morning after an illness of about one year. His remains were taken in charge by the Masons of Gibson and after services at the residence were sent to New Orleans by an evening train for burial in the Masonic Cemetery as he was a member of Ocean Lodge No. 144, A.F. and A.M., of New Orleans. He leaves a wife and one brother, as well as numerous friends to mourn his death.

The Times-Democrat: Jan. 13, 1906

WALTHER – At Touro Infirmary, in New Orleans, at 11 o’clock a.m., Philip Walther Sr. of Gibson, a native of Alsace, aged 83 years, 7 months and 20 days.

Funeral at Gibson, La., Saturday, Jan. 13, 1906, at 3:30 p.m.

He leaves to mourn his loss four sons, Henry, Charles, John and Phillip Walther Jr., all of Gibson, 32 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

The Town Talk – March 29, 1912

A deplorable accident occurred near here (Gibson). Two small boys were victims of the mishap. One was instantly killed and the other was fatally wounded.

Two sons of Albert Hebert were playing with a Winchester rifle, unaware of the fact that it was loaded. Suddenly the weapon was discharged. One boy was killed outright and the other received fatal wounds.

The Times-Democrat: July 24, 1913

Mrs. D.C. McIntire Sr. died in New Orleans at Hotel Dieu Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock after an illness of two weeks. Her remains were brought here Tuesday evening and interred in the local cemetery. Mrs. McIntire was 55 years of age and had been a lifelong resident of Gibson. She leaves the following relatives: Eight sons John D.C. Jr., James, Claude, Andrew, Fred and Dewey, and one daughter Mollie, also a sister Mrs. G.H. Penderavis of Houston.

The Times-Democrat: Aug. 10, 1913

Gibson, La. – Evalture Foucheaux, aged 78 years, a highly respected citizen of this place for the past 33 years, died Thursday at 5 o’clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. R. L. Carlin, after an illness of about two weeks. Mr. Foucheaux leaves the following children, besides a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren: Thomas, of this place, Joseph of Franklin, Richard of Houma, Ernest of Lockport, Mrs. Paul Larrieu of Rockdale, Tex., Mrs. Robert Larkin and Mrs. Robert Carlin of this place.

Weekly Town Talk: Aug. 19, 1916

Gibson, La. – The body of Henry J. King was found yesterday morning in the woods near his residence with a gunshot wound in his neck. His gun with one barrel discharged was found near him.

The verdict of the coroner’s jury impaneled by the acting coroner, Philip Walther, was King was killed accidentally. He leaves a wife and several children, besides two or three brothers. He will be buried in the Sycamore cemetery today, Rev. G. L. Tucker of Houma officiating, assisted by Oak Grove Camp 118 Woodmen of the World, of which he was a member.

The Daily Review: Jan. 21, 1925

Mrs. Louise Rose Roddy Picou, wife of Alfred Picou of Gibson, La., died there recently. Deceased was 77 years and two months of age. Her loss is mourned by a husband, seven daughters and three sons; the daughters Mrs. A. E. Bourgeois, Mrs. J. G. Roberts of Morgan City, Mrs. A. L. Chandalier, Liberty, Texas, Mrs. D.C. Shriner, Houston, Texas, Miss Grace Picou, Houston, Texas, Mrs. R.A. Veret, Gibson, La., Mrs. Alice Fandall, Gibson; the sons Mr. A. J. Picou, Donner, Mr. John Picou, Gibson, Robert Picou, Chicago.

The deceased had a sister in Lafayette, one in Homer and a brother in Homer. She had 34 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.