Faith, Families & Friends: 150 Years of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and Montegut Louisiana by Laura A. Browning by Laura A. Browning - Read Online

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Faith,

Families

&

Friends

150 Years of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and Montegut Louisiana

LAURA A. BROWNING

Copyright © 2016 Laura A. Browning.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

ISBN: 978-1-4834-5927-1 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-5928-8 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 11/15/2016

Contents

Foreword

Preface

Gabriel Montegut and How Montegut got its Name

Chapter 1 Prior to 1860: Our History, Our Faith

Background

Landowners

Development of other faiths

Chapter 2 Shaping the New Parish

The Rev. Jean-Marie Dénécé, 1864-1890

The Rev. Peter (Pierre) Celestin Paquet, 1890-1895

The Rev. Charles Richard, 1895-1910

The Rhodes Family

The Bisland’s in Terrebonne

Marguerite Johnson, F.W.C.

Sandersville & Crochetville

Chapter 3 Facing the challenges of a Changing World

The Rev. Joseph (Jean) Quenouillere, 1910-1920

The Rev. Ferdinand Joseph Pierre, 1920-1922

The Rev. Joseph M. Coulombe, 1922-1937

Chapter 4 Expanding the Faith

The Rev. Charles Frejus Beauvais, 1937-1944

The Rev. Marcel J. Fourcade, 1943-1948

The Rev. Gerard J. Pelletier, 1948-1952

Obituary for Monsignor Charles Beauvais

Chapter 5 Facing Challenges Near and Far

The Rev. Bernard P. Mistretta, 1952-1962

The Stained Glass Windows

The Rev. Winus Joseph Roeten, June 1963-June 1966

The Rev. Ivern M. Bordelon, 1966-1976

The Rev. George A. Landry, 1976-1986

Obituary for The Rev. Winus J. Roeten

Obituary for Monsignor George Abraham Abe Landry

Chapter 6 Facing a new community and century

The Rev. Malachy McCool, 1986- 1992

The Rev. Lawrence Larry A. Cavell, 1992- 1997

The Rev. Robert C. Rogers, 1997- 2004

The Rev. Caesar A. Silva, 2004- 2011

The Rev. Thankachan John Nambusseril, C.M.I, 2011- 2015

Chapter 7 Anniversary Celebration

From the event program

Reception: Montegut Recreation Center

Chapter 8 Cemeteries and graveyards

Bisland Cemetery

Butler Cemetery

Dugas Cemetery

Hermit of Terrebonne

Elpege Picou Cemetery

Ile a Jean Charles Cemetery

St. Elie Cemetery

St. Ann Graveyard

St. Charles Borromeo Graveyard

St. Joseph # 1 and #2 (also called the Chauvin Cemetery)

St. Joseph # 2 or Chauvin Cemetery

Sacred Heart Montegut

Appendix

Chronology of Sacred Heart Parish, Church, and community

Variations on local names

Marriages from Sacred Heart 1864-1871 (Researcher Unknown) Code: YR Groom Date Bride

Property Descriptions for Early Settlers on Bayou Terrebonne

Post offices and Postmasters of Montegut, Bourg and Little Caillou

1965 Confirmation Class of Sacred Heart

Deceased Veterans from Montegut (Looper)

Construction Summary of Sacred Heart Parish 1859-2014

Donations for St. Isaac Jogues in Pointe-aux-Chênes

Donations for restoration of the Sacred Heart, 1954

Sacred Heart Parish Volunteers

Montegut Homemaker’s Club

French Market Fair

I worked in Montegut

Bibliography

Resources: General

Books

Resources on graveyards and cemeteries

End Notes

About the Author

for

My mom, her mom and my angel

Foreword

Recorded history of Terrebonne Parish began when LaSalle claimed in 1682 the Louisiana Territory for France. By 1700, French Catholic Missionaries were working among the Native Americans of lower Louisiana. The Acadians, steadfast Catholics, arrived beginning in 1765 and continued settling locally through the early 1800’s as a result of le Grand Derangement.

The Anglo-Americans (les Americans) began to arrive in increasing numbers after the War of 1812. Generally Protestant in faith, they were from the East coast, Midwest, Southeast, and Mississippi Delta. Although not large in number, they became the dominant economic group because of their large land ownership by the 1850’s. Other Europeans, Germans, Irish, and Italians, and Islenos (Canary Islanders) along with descendants of the Haitian Revolution in Saint-Domingue (Haiti), free people of color and slaves all found their way to Terrebonne Parish via the Mississippi River and its three distributaries, Bayou Lafourche, Bayou Black, and Bayou Terrebonne before the 1850’s.

The earliest mission trips down Bayou Terrebonne began in September 1842 following the appointment of Father Jean-Marie Charles Menard as associate pastor of St. Joseph Church in Thibodaux founded in 1817 and became known as the Apostle of the Bayous. Father Jean-Marie Joseph Dénécé became the first resident pastor of lower Terrebonne in 1864 and served until 1890.

Despite the disruption of the Civil War, societal and religious differences, multiple ethnicities and accents, these people established and developed their communities and became proud Terrebonneans.

This book documents accurately and with great detail the progress of that part of our parish known as leTerrebonne from pioneer times to the present.

At this time in history when we are losing our land mass through coastal erosion and subsidence and our culture is fast disappearing with the end of each generation, this book preserves for all time an important part of Terrebonne past.

The author is a fifth generation descendant of Jean Baptiste Duplanty of Bordeaux, France who arrived in St. John Parish via the Port of New Orleans in 1780. His son by the same name settled on Bayou Little Caillou in 1808. Her efforts are to be commended.

Christopher E. Cenac, Sr., M.D., F.A.C.S.

Preface

The focus of the book is the history of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Parish and Sacred Heart Church in Montegut, Louisiana. The book follows the church-parish boundaries, including term of each priest, and with the creation of each new parish, St. Ann (1908), St. Joseph (1948), and St. Charles Borromeo (1971), out of Sacred Heart, the focus continues with the Priests of Sacred Heart. However, the book could not reflect Sacred Heart without writing about Montegut, Bourg, and Little Caillou. The Church has given us important roots, binding us as a church and community family, sticking us to this small place, Montegut.

Sacred Heart Parish pre-dates Sacred Heart Church by over thirty years. Pere Menard blessed the first dedicated chapel built on Dugas property, St. John the Baptist, in le Terrebonne, in November 1859. Sacred Heart of Jesus Church marks its founding as the creation of the parish by the Diocese of New Orleans, November 9, 1864.

Though we live in other places in the world, we identify Montegut and Sacred Heart as home and home to our grandparents, great grandparents, and great, great grandparents stretching back through the 150 years. Many of the names of Montegut today, were the names of le Terrebonne, our first name in French. Between 1864 and today, our names have include Authement, Belanger, Billiot, Chaisson, Courteaux, Dugas, Dupre, Ellender, Fields, Guidry, LeBouef, Pitre, Naquin, Robichaux, Sanders, Stoufflet, and Viguerie, among many others. The Church has given us important roots in binding us as a church and community family, sticking us to this small place, Montegut.

My goals in writing this history of the Sacred Heart Church and Montegut were two-fold. One was to reminisce about our church and its history. The second goal was to preserve the history of Montegut, its people who with affection, and love for such a place and its life that they want to continue to live here and preserve it. One of the struggles of the book was that as I finished a section more wonderful pieces of history appeared. It was as though they were waiting to be discovered.

I appreciated the opportunity to conduct research in the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese Archives supported by Kevin Allemand. Additionally, Dorenda Dupont, the Diocese of New Orleans, Archive office in developing this history, assisted us. Archivist Clifford Theriot, Nicholls State University, Ellender Library, Dr. T.I. St. Martin Collection for providing digital copies of key pictures. A special thanks to the Terrebonne Parish Conveyances Office for helping in the discovery of so much of our history. Dr. Christopher E. Cenac provided hours of guidance and conversation, shaping the book. Members of our community who graciously loaned us pictures, told us stories, and gave me clues to finding our history are numerous. A special thanks to Adam Pennison whose hours of incredible research helped to shape this book. I was assisted and guided by many, some of whom have since become our ancestors.

Finally, a special thanks to my mother, AnnaBelle S. Browning and her mother, Annette Duplantis Stoufflet, who without their stories and love of words the little kid sitting on the floor would have never absorbed the sounds of their voices and their stories of faith, families, and friends. I felt their presence and those who are held only in memories, as I researched and assembled the history.

If you are not a sticker to Sacred Heart and Montegut already, we would love to have you join us one Sunday for Mass, and you will find folks ready and looking forward to seeing you at Mass.

Laura A. Browning

Gabriel Montegut and How Montegut got its Name

Thousands of eighth-graders studying Louisiana History at Montegut Middle School have asked Gayle Westley the same question, why Montegut is named Montegut.

(Houma Courier- 1885) The people of Lower Terrebonne have long felt the need of better postal facilities, and have made repeated attempts to secure a post office in their locality, but always in vain. Business men have been compelled to send twenty miles to Houma for mail, while other neighborhoods in the parish have had a post office for the asking. After the election of a Democratic Congressman, these staunch defenders of the faith thought to make an another effort to secure their due in this respect. Enlisting the good offices of Mr. Gabriel Montegut, who zeal and energy in the service of Terrebonne’s people is never known to flag. Mr. Gay (edt. note Congressman Edward James Gay 1816–1889, Gay was married to the daughter of Andrew Price of Schriever) was appealed to and the post office as promptly secured. Desiring to testify his appreciation of Mr. Montegut’s worth as a man and as a worker in the good cause, Mr. Gay insisted that the new post office should receive the name of Montegut, a fitting exponent of the faith that prevails among the good people of Lower Terrebonne, and a deserved compliment to the gentleman who lends the name. The new post office will be located at Mr. Klingman’s, with Mr. Eugene Fields as postmaster, and a mail service twice a week established.

The 1885 newspaper article leaves no question as to how the town of Montegut got its name. From the earliest days, the area along the left and right descending banks of Bayou Terrebonne from, Klondyke to the Gulf of Mexico was called le Terrebonne translated to the Terrebonne. It was not until 1845, a post office was established as a money order registry office at Point Farm but it is unknown what name the station used other than Pointe Farm. Peter P. Flynn and Eugene A. Fields are listed as the postmasters. This post office closed on November 13, 1876. On July 22, 1885, a post office was re-established and carried the name of Montegut. The first postmaster was James D. Wilson, who was a staff member at Lower Terrebonne Refinery. Eugene Fields, in 1885, was named the first postmaster for the Montegut station in located at the Klingman Store. Henry Klingman was named postmaster in 1899..

Historically, local communities suggested the name for their Post Offices, subject to the approval of the Post Office Department. The sources of some Post Office names are lost to history; there are no postal records on name origins. Instructions in the 1880s addressed this problem, specifying short names for offices, which would not resemble the name of any other post office in the United States. In the 1890s, the instructions were relaxed, calling for names dissimilar to "any other post office in the State. Between 1850 and 1890, the number of Post Offices increased from 18,417 to 62,401. The actual documents for naming the post office after Gabriel Montegut are lost to history, as with many post offices across the country during that period.

So how did Montegut come to be named for a politician, C.S.A. veteran, and cashier of a bank?

The post office was named in honor of Gabriel Montegut in 1885. Montegut never owned property in le Terrebonne, did not work in the community nor had any relatives in the area. One story is that he was a good guy, very nice and helpful as a clerk/banker in Houma.

Montegut’s family was from New Orleans, the original house at 731 Royal Street was built in 1799, Montegut Street in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans is named for them, and their family portraits are displayed in the Cabildo. The designation of Colonel was attached to Gabriel Montegut during his service as Deputy Secretary of the Naval Reserve in New Orleans.

What he did have were great connections, a desire to create a parish that could expand and have places for families, and some degree of influence over business leaders like Jastremski, A.M. Dupont, A. Blum, Picou, and sugar planters A.R. and A.C. Viguerie, Wallis, and Shaffer. All the names cross at one spot- The People’s Bank of Houma. The bank and its leadership apparently were all deeply involved in democratic politics of the period, lasting until the failure of the bank in January 1927. The crash of the bank foreshadowed the crash of the sugar industry in Terrebonne Parish, in part because of the failure of The People’s Bank planters no longer had access to planting or crop loans to be hedged against a good crop.

Gabriel Montegut, born July 30, 1839, was the great-grandson of Dr. Gabriel Montegut, who came to Louisiana from France in 1760. Dr. Montegut held a military commission as a surgeon under Spanish rule, and was the first resident surgeon of the Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Dr. Montegut’s wife was Francoise Delisle Dupart, whose family came to Louisiana with Bienville. One of their sons and grandfather of Gabriel, Edgar Montegut was the mayor of New Orleans in 1844 and established St. Sophie Plantation in Plaquemine Parish. His son, Louis Gabriel Montegut, married Marie Odile Desmare, granddaughter of James Pitot, the first American mayor of New Orleans. Montegut was a prominent merchant and philanthropist who died in 1855. A brother, Raymond, served as Lieutenant of the Marines at the Battle of New Orleans. A record of the family history, The LaGardeur-Montegut papers are part of the special collections held at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library of Tulane University in New Orleans.

Gabriel born Joseph Nicolas Gabriel Montegut, in New Orleans, was educated at the Sewickley Academy, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. The Academy was a private boys-only school established in 1838. Montegut returned to New Orleans, working with his father’s family, as a clerk at 16 years old, in the mercantile business.

On March 7, 1862, 22-year-old Montegut joined the Orleans Guard Battery, Company A as a private. This company, part of the Grivot Guard, was tasked as an artillery battery and Montegut served from 1862 to 1865 in several key heavy and light artillery batteries from the early Battle of Corinth, Mississippi to Charleston, S.C. to the last stand of the South against General Sherman. The last battle, he participated in was March 15, 1865, Battle of Averasboro, South Carolina.

Between April 1862 and June 1862, Private Montegut participated in the artillery battery, in the Corinth Campaign, and the Battle of Shiloh. Beginning in July 1863, Private Montegut served with Capt. Gustave LeGardeur, Jr.’s Company of Light Artillery and Robertson’s Battalion of Reserve Artillery., as a part of the Army of Tennessee. On July 19, 1864, Montegut was named Guidon for Capt. Gustave LeGardeur. The guidon was the personal flag of Capt. LeGardeur, Montegut’s cousin. On August 5, 1863, Montegut was transferred to Dreux’s Cavalry of Louisiana, and this service was under Generals. P. G. T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and Joseph E. Johnston. Dreux’s Cavalry Company was part of the personal escort of General Bragg and later, General Joseph E. Johnson. Private Montegut, as a light artillery member, was in some of the violent engagements of the war: Chickamauga, Murfreesboro, siege of Charleston and Battle of Averasboro, N.C. He also fought in the Battle of Farmington, and Corinth Campaign, Mississippi.

Later he served under Capt. Gustave LeGardeur, in the defense of Charleston, South Carolina. The Battle of Averasboro and the loss of the battery, on March 18, 1865, were called a perfect hell storm of fighting, a tornado of shells and smoke. The Confederate guns being short of men, Montegut volunteered his services to act as No. 3 to one of the Confederate guns. He served at the 12-pounder Napoleon gun, in a duel with three Parrott guns, for several hours, several caissons exploded, nine horses killed, and every man at the gun killed or wounded, except himself and Sgt. Duren. (Clement Anselm Evans) The battery was abandoned after the death of all the horses and all but two individuals, Montegut and Duren. Later in the day, the position was overrun and used against the confederate soldiers. Over 1100 men were killed in the Battle of Averasboro. The Civil War ended less than three weeks later. Private Montegut, listed as a guidon, appeared on a paroled muster roll dated April 26, 1865. The Civil war ended April 26, 1865, and Montegut mustered out as a Private. It is possible that it was during the Civil War Montegut served alongside residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, and was introduced to stories of the simple joys of bayou country life. He also served under former Thibodaux resident, General Braxton Bragg as part of his escort. Terrebonne and Lafourche young men, scions of plantations Red Star, Hope Farm, Aragon, with family names of Belanger, Bonvillain, Boudreaux, Daspit, Dugas, Duplantis, Duval (Claiborne Alexander), Guidry, LeCompte Lirette, Robichaux, Shaffer, and Thibodaux served in the same units at the same time as Montegut. However we have no definitive proof how or why he came to Montegut. After the war, he returned to New Orleans. Family correspondence reflects upon how changed he was after the war. ¹

In 1868, he moved to Terrebonne Parish, making his home in Bayou Cane, just north of the City of Houma approximately at today’s 7318 Main, the site of Terrebonne High School. He worked as a clerk, bookkeeper, and insurance agent. He established the Montegut Insurance Agency in 1875 with E.C. Wurzlow. He established a notary practice with Aubin Bourg in the same period. On October 12, 1878, Gabriel Montegut married Miss Lizzie M. Willis in Houma². In 1879, Montegut served as chair of the Terrebonne Parish Democratic Committee. Montegut quickly became a leader in Terrebonne Parish, establishing business and personal relationships with political and community leaders. Felix Daspit, mayor 1871-1873 and contractor for Houma’s courthouse built in 1875, named one of his sons Gabriel Montegut Daspit. Montegut and his wife, Lizzie, are listed on the 1880 census along with his sister Marie, and mother Odella. On June 24, 1885, President Grover Cleveland appointed Montegut to serve as Superintendent of the United States Mint in New Orleans. In the media of the day, New York Times (4 July 1885) he was described as a native of this city, and of ancient creole lineage…Mr. Montegut is of bright intellect, untiring energy, and thorough and systematic business habits.

He remained in this position until 1891. It was during this period, the famous Morgan Silver Dollars were minted, and under Montegut’s leadership over 50,000 Morgan Silver Dollars were minted in New Orleans. He resigned his position in a letter to newly elected President Benjamin Harrison (edt.)

New Orleans,, La. March 20 1891

His Excellency Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States

Now that your administration is fairly started, and believing it to be the duty of every democrat who occupies a federal office (whether said office is with or without a fixed tenure) under a commission from President Cleveland, to place his resignation at your disposal, I, acting under such conviction, do hereby place into your hands this my resignation as superintendent of the United States mint at New Orleans, to be acted upon by you at such time as in your own good judgment you shall deem meet and proper with due regard to the welfare of the service. And true to our common government (the greatest in the world) now symbolized by a union of forty-two states, until you take such action, accept from me the assurance that I shall, like an American should, remain faithful to my duties.

I am with high consideration, yours very respectfully,

G. Montegut Superintendent United States Mint New Orleans

Shortly after in 1891, he began his service as a Chief Deputy Naval officer in New Orleans. He served in this position for three years.

He resigned that position to assume the role of a cashier at The People’s Bank of Houma in about 1895. At that time, the role of cashier had comparability of a bank manager, managing the bank and its daily operations. People’s Bank served the important role in Terrebonne Parish of lending to the sugar cane farmers loans based on the projected crop yield. Montegut remained with the bank for almost 20 years. Joseph A. Robichaux (Red Star Plantation) served as Assistant Cashier (1906-1927).The charter of People’s Bank of Houma listed 11 Board members and each share was valued at $100.

The original stockholders in the bank were as listed:³

Between its founding and 1926, The People’s Bank led by Montegut, was a key investor in many community projects, including the development of subdivisions carved from plantations creating affordable housing for families. In 1912, The People’s Bank was the construction agent for Montegut School. The bank struggled along with all the plantation owners between WWI, national financial crises, hurricanes, freezes, and legal battles. The failing bank was placed into state receivership on January