Monday, October 27, 2014

the island

THE ISLAND was full of trees that needed to be cleared and there were no roads or bridges going to it. Catahoula Lake was the road.
     They traveled around by putt putt boat or pirogue. My father, Wilmer, also had un chaland — a flatboat — he used to cross his siblings for school. And a barge for moss picking. He didn’t have a horse or a wagon, so if they had to go further than Catahoula he would borrow a Model T truck from a friend.  The only time he used the truck was to go to St. Martinville for wood or to the doctor.
    I remember my father telling me what Catahoula was like when he first lived there. It had a big store along the water owned by William Talley — Waldo Borel’s house is there now. He had anything you needed in that store. Next door there was a fish dock where you could buy or sell fish. His dance hall and restaurant was next to that. Also along the lake was Mr. Albert Borel’s dance hall and restaurant.
     Ignace Doucet’s house and gambling room was in front of the rent houses near the road. He had an ice cream parlor too. The biggest inn in Louisiana was a restaurant with rooms you could rent. It burnt to the ground two years after it was built. There were rent houses where Harold’s grocery store is now. And there was a dock for a ferry boat because there wasn’t a bridge there yet.

Excerpt from “Family History of Camille & Lillian Blanchard”
by Geralyn Blanchard McNeese, 2011