Plantation life along the Vermilion

Prior to the Civil War, numerous plantations lined the Vermilion. Steamboat traffic along the Vermilion made a huge difference in getting their products to market. 

Izidor Broussard's plantation used slave labor to cultivate cotton in the area along the river near Pinhook Bridge, in the neighborhood along today’s East Bayou Parkway. Three miles further down the river, Honore Beraud had Long Plantation and a sawmill. Though Beraud died of yellow fever in the epidemic of 1858, his plantation home survived well into the twentieth century. 

The John Republican Creighton plantation, later called Myrtle Plantation, was situated above the Pinhook Bridge, upstream from Beraud and Broussard, along the east side of the bayou, just southwest of the present-day Lafayette Regional Airport. Creighton was married to Euphemie Mouton, niece of Governor Mouton. Along with the cotton grown on his plantation, Creighton also ran a sawmill near the Vermilion Bayou. Attached to this sawmill was a gristmill where he ground his neighbors' corn into meal and grits.

Just beyond the Creighton plantation, heading upriver, was the eastern portion of Governor and former U.S. Senator (1837-1842) Alexandre Mouton's large Ile Copal or Sweet Gum Grove Plantation. His plantation extended across both sides of Bayou Vermilion. Mouton used the Lake Martin side for its timber. After the logs were cut in the swamps, they were then floated downstream to the Creighton sawmill and processed into lumber. The Ile Copal Plantation the mansion, brick sugar mill and slave quarters, were on the west bank of Bayou Vermilion. Mouton's real estate, according to the 1860 federal census, was valued at $81,000 and included 2,100 improved acres and 18,140 unimproved acres. His personal property was even more significant and was valued at $120,000 — which included 120 slaves. While the rest of his neighbors grew cotton, Mouton planted sugar cane. In 1860, he harvested 180 hogsheads (1,000 pounds each) of cane sugar, 12,000 gallons of molasses, 4,000 bushels of Indian corn, 60 bushels of peas and beans, 30 bushels of Irish potatoes and 900 bushels of sweet potatoes. His livestock included 20 horses, 50 mules, 12 milk cows, 16 working oxen, 70 sheep (yielding 140 pounds of wool) and 15 swine. Mouton assigned garden plots to his slaves, who also were permitted to raise chickens and gather Spanish moss for sale in Vermilionville.

Jean Sosthene Mouton’s Walnut Grove Plantation was located a few hundred yards below the Pinhook Bridge, on a high bank overlooking the Vermilion River (on its right descending side) and included most of today’s Bendel Garden Subdivision. When Sosthene Mouton married his cousin, Charlotte Mouton, daughter of Governor Alexandre Mouton (1843-1846), the property was given to the couple as a wedding gift. In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, Sosthene Mouton owned 56 slaves. He produced cotton on his 900-acre plantation. He owned 20 horses, 20 mules, 26 sheep (yielding 60 pounds of wool), 25 swine, 25 milk cows, 15 working oxen and 20 other cattle. In 1860, his plantation produced 180 bales of cotton (each bale weighing 400 pounds), 3,000 bushels of Indian corn and 180 bushels of sweet potatoes. The plantation house at Walnut Grove was burned by Federal troops during the Civil War.

Civil War
Antebellum and Post-Bellum Vermilion
Effect of the Railroad and Congressional help
Hidden Treasure?
Ecological threats of 1911
Connecting with the Intercoastal Canal
No good deed goes unpunished: The consequences of the 1927 flood