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St. Mary Parish - Images of America

  • Along the bayous of south Louisiana, with its majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss, open prairies teeming with wildlife, and lush primeval forest, the Chitimacha lived long before the first white settlers arrived in the Attakapas District around 1746. The newcomers would travel by oxcart and boat along waterways lined in flowering magnolias, pecan trees, and grapevines to establish new homesteads. In April 1811, a territorial act that divided Attakapas County created St. Mary Parish. Sugarcane plantations with idyllic names such as Idlewild and Shady Side were established, and timber, trapping, fishing, and agriculture prospered. Later, oil and gas with its many support industries became part of the rich heritage of south Louisiana. The first settlers endured many hardships: floods, storms, outbreaks of yellow fever, and the challenges of the Civil War. St. Mary Parish has seen its share of changes over the centuries, but the tenacity, resourcefulness, and pride of the people remain as constant and endless as the slowly flowing waters of the bayous to the Gulf of Mexico.

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