Pointe Coupée Live Oak Tour
The Pointe Coupée Historical Society invites you to Explore Pointe Coupee History Down to the Roots with us on Saturday, June 9th. The tour will begin at Poydras Museum, where the public is invited to start anytime between 8:30 and 9:30am to check in and enjoy light morning refreshments at the Lejuene House, where the Francois Samson Oak is located. Participants will continue to navigate around False River, onto the Island and view another 9 named trees, where you may stop and take pictures, ask questions to hosts of the tour, or simply drive by and admire the beauty of the oaks. The final destination will be at the home of Greg Eaton, where you will find the Smithhaven Oak and enjoy refreshments and cocktails. Tickets can be purchased online or at the start of the tour.
Ellet Jewell Oak | 500 W Main St., New Roads, LA
Ellet Benjamin Jewell (1888-1962) was a native of Pointe Coupee and a graduate of Poydras Academy in 1907. He graduated from LSU in 1910 and was honored with a teaching fellowship from LSU while working to receive his Master’s Degree. Following graduation, he taught one year in Webster Parish and was then appointed principal of the Poydras Academy from 1912 to 1924, when he became principal of the new Poydras High School. He was principal at Poydras until his retirement in 1945. Over his period as principal for 33 years, he also taught French and Mathematics. He was known by many as “Prof”.
Provosty Oak | 500 W Main St., New Roads, LA
The Provosty Oak is located on what was formally the home of Augusta Provosty who was a member of the Louisiana Legislature during the secession convention. His son, Oliver O. Provosty (1852-1924), lived on the property after his father passed away. Oliver was also a Louisiana Legislature, District Attorney and Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Oliver received his primary education at Poydras Academy located next door. Then he attended Georgetown University for his undergrad work. He then came back to Louisiana to attain his law degree at LSU. Almost upon the day of receiving his law degree, Oliver was appointed the District Attorney position which included Pointe Coupee. He also represented Avoyelles Parish as their State Senator.
Francois Samson Oak | 507 East Main St., New Roads, LA
January 01, 2020
The live oak behind the LeJeune House was already a grand old tree when the house was built about 200 years ago. Almost 29-feet in circumference, the tree is a member of the Live Oak Society and was named for the plantation’s first owner Francois Samson.
Samson was born in St. Malo, France, but served at the poste of Pointe Coupee by 1772. In 1779 colonial governor of Spanish Louisiana Bernardo de Galvez led a march to rout the British in West Florida. Samson fought with Galvez in the Battle of Fort New Richmond (now Baton Rouge), one of the only battles of the American Revolution fought outside the original thirteen colonies.
The LeJeune House is the primary house of a working plantation that measured 14-arpents on False River - from the New Road to the west to oak Street to the east - and 40-arpents back to the portage canal. The plantation covered about 500 acres which is now populated by a large number of New Roads’s citizens.
Samson was the first of a long line of interrelated Samsons, Cheneverts and LeJeunes to occupy the house which has never been abandoned or unoccupied for any of its 200-year-long standing.
The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The Francois Samson Oak was the 527th tree listed on the register of the Live Oak Society, added in the 1970s.
Two significant southern magnolia trees (Magnolia grandiflora) grow in the front yard of the house, along with two very old sago palms (Cycas revoluta). Most of the garden plants - species grown in Louisiana before 1860 - have been planted by the current owners, Randy Harelson and Richard Gibbs.
Gaston Langlois Oak | 1105 E Main St., Ventress, LA
Zenon Langlois OAK, on the eastern limit of New Roads, is familiar for the deeply draped limbs which surround its trunk. It is located on what was a four by 40-aprent tract purchased by Zenon Langlois I from Benjamin Poydras in 1825, and successive members of the Langlois family built homes on site and to the east. The old house directly behind the tree was home to Octave and Blanche Saizan Langlois and children, and later to their son Gaston Langlois, wife Cora Pourciau Langlois, and children. Oral history recounts the outdoor dances held around the oak, with Japanese lanterns hung from its bows, at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries..
Bondy Oak | 1209 E Main St., New Roads, LA
During the national bicentennial celebration of 1976 it was determined that the Bondy Oak was over 200 years old and therefore it was designated as a bicentennial live oak tree. It was at that time that it was given the name “The Bondy Oak” and it now stands at 22' in circumference.
The property has been in the Bondy family for generations. When David and Adelaide Bondy got ready to build their home on this site in 1957 (the home that sits there now) there was already a old Creole cottage on the site. David & Adelaide had the cottage moved away in order to construct their new home. The old creole cottage actually still stands, but is in a different location on the Bondy property. It was estimated that the old cottage had been built in the 1800’s by a previous landowner and it is believed that he constructed it there because the live oak tree was there.
Generations have enjoyed the tree through reunions, gatherings, and more. Mrs. Auguste Bondy, grandmother of the current property owner, David Bondy Sr., lived to be 99 years old and had 10 children. Mr. and Mrs. Auguste Bondy had 35 grandchildren, making for many memories of tremendous family reunions under this Oak tree.
In 1965 before schools had kindergartens, Mrs. Adelaide Cazayoux Bondy open up a kindergarten in the large den of her house. She operated the kindergarten from 1965 until 1980 when the area schools began having kindergartens. Many, many people still living in the New Roads area, as well as those visiting from out of town, pass by and recall attending “Mrs. Bondy‘s kindergarten” and playing under the big oak tree. The front yard was set up like a playground, with a slide, a whirly-gig and various other playground equipment.
Mrs. Adelaide Cazayoux Bondy also came from a large family and every Easter Sunday for decades she and and David Sr. would host a great big Easter gathering for all of the Cazayoux side of the family. David Sr. passed away in 1993 and Mrs. Bondy just recently left the family December 2017; however, the family still plans to carry the tradition of the annual Easter Cazayoux gathering under the branches of the Bondy Oak.
At one time there was a big wooden swing with enough room for at least seven people to sit on, or even more children. It hung by chains from a great big limb on the tree. The swing had to be replaced a couple of times, but there was one hanging there from probably 1957 to 2007, when finally the large limb began rotting, causing the limb to be removed along with the swing.
Mr. and Mrs. Bondy's children are David Jr, Jim, Nancy, Susan, Matt and Emily. The children can recall playing countless hours under the oak tree, attracting many neighborhood friends. Today, the grandchildren keep the tree occupied, climbing on the branches, which have increased in size over the years.
Conrad Oak | 12815 Patin Dyke Rd., Ventress, LA
The Conrad Langlois Oak is located at the home of Malyia __ and currently has a girth of __ feet. Conrad Joseph Langlois, born in 1889, was one of Pointe Coupee's most creative entrepreneurs. During his lifetime, Mr. Conrad Langlois sold fish on a commercial scale, owned a cotton gin, a syrup mill a store and a sawmill. His most innovative creation was a floating movie theater on False River that he operated from 1914-1915.
Mr. Langlois was one of seven children born into the family of Paul Otto and Elodie Olinde Langlois. He served in the US Army, but did not serve overseas, and received an honorable discharge in January 1919. Mr. Langlois' first venture into the cotton ginning business began in 1924, when he joined two partners in forming "The Pointe Coupee Cotton Gin Inc." He also started his own gin at Patin Dyke, named "Langlois Farmer's Gin."
Mr. Langlois tried his hand at politics in 1927 by running for the 9th Ward seat on the Police Jury, but was defeated by Humphrey T. Olinde, Sr. Today the decendents of Mr. Conrad Langlois' six children live together in a family neighborhood on the land purchased by their grandfather. This settlement of close-knit relatives constitutes what could be called "Langloisville." The Fairbanks-Mores Model "Y" diesel engine which once powered Mr. Langlois' cotton gin has stood silent on the gin site since 1948, when the gin closed. The old engine is across the road from the magnificent Conrad Langlois Oak tree.
Jane Pittman Oak | LA 416
The 1971 novel, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," by Ernest Gaines, depicts the struggles of African Americans as seen through the eyes of the narrator, a woman named Jane Pittman. She tells of the major events of her life from the time she was a young slave girl in the American South at the end of the Civil War. When talking about the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, Miss Jane Pittman begins to talk about Native Americans and their respect for nature and its strength. In the middle of this discussion, she thinks about "an old oak tree up the quarters where Aunt Lou Bolin and them used to stay" (155). The old tree "up the quarters" became more than just another tree to Miss Jane. It became an avenue for her to communicate with the past and with nature itself.
The tree that Miss Jane talks to is based on an actual 400 year old oak tree that sits beside La. 416 in Pointe Coupee Parish. Gaines used to walk by the tree on his way to the grocery store, and it inspired him, partly, to write The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In 2008, a car ran into a limb that was twelve feet in circumference that fell from the tree. Because of this, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) considered cutting the tree down. The community, Gaines, and fellow professors at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette stepped in to protest the tree's imminent demise. DOTD then determined that the tree was healthy and the limb that fell had a defect. So, instead of removing the tree, they trimmed the branches that hung over the road.
Information and picture taken from: Ernest J. Gaines Center Blog
Jaques Fabre Oak | 8925 False River Rd., Oscar, LA
The Jacques Fabre sits at 19' 3" today and is named after its property owner, Jacques Fabre, at the time of the Louisiana Purchase. The property this oak is on has been in the same family since the 18th century until the 20th century.
Jacques Fabre is a native of Toulon, France, and the son of Pierre Fabre & Magdeleine Boulin. Jacques was married in Pointe Coupee on November 21, 1775 to Marguerite Moreau and had 6 children. He was an artillery soldier at the militia post at PC during the war in 1779. In 1803 he was issued a track of land on False River which contained 4 acres on front, bounded by P.Robillard & George Olivet.
Jacques granddaughter, Madeleine Fabre, married Manuel Britto in 1836. Manuel, a Cuban mullato, acquired Jacques’ tract of land in 1834. Manuel & Madeleine Fabre had 5 children. After the death of Manuel, Madeleine sold the estate in 1878 to her son-in-law Neville Jarreau.
Neville Jarreau was married to Madeleine’s daughter Ophelia. Neville & Ophelia Jarreau had 3 children. Neville died in 1891 & widow Ophelia sold the tract of land to Laforest Plainville, who was from New Orleans and purchased the land in 1898. Laforest Plainville built a school house, which he occupied for 2 years before his assassination in 1904. The house on the property now was originally the school house and his quarters.
The land was then transferred to Leon Trepagnier whose wife Rita Britto was the sister of Ophelia. They had 3 children. Leon Trepagnier died in 1911.
Vaccination Oak | 9475 False River Dr., Oscar, LA
The lovely centuries-old oak on the front lawn of Dr. Bobby Fulmer at 9475 False River Rd., four miles downriver of downtown New Roads, is self-identified by neighboring historian and author Brian J. Costello, OT, Kt HRE, OLJ, as the "Vaccination Oak" owing to the oral histories of his late grandmother Severine Inez Aguillard Costello (1913-2010) and contemporaries. This property was owned in the 19th century subsequently by Francois LeBeau, Dr. Honore Manne, Thomas Mix (for whom the downriver community of Mix was named in 1904); and in the 20th century by Paulin Pourciau (during whose ownership rice was grown on the property), Mrs. Enomie "Madame NoNo" Pourciau, Hewitt Fontaine, and ultimately by Dr. and Mrs. Bobby Fulmer.
Pointe Coupee Parish experienced its last epidemic of typhoid fever in 1925, with a number of False River residents contracting the illness, including Severine Inez Aguillard, then aged 11 years and who lived with her family next door and upriver of the oak. She was confined to bed for six weeks and recalled that medics set up a station beneath the oak and provided vaccinations to community members lest they fall ill as well.
Among happier memories, Mrs. Costello stated that a well was located near the oak, from which her family drew their water and that geese sheltered under the boughs of the stately tree.
The postbellum home near the oak, dismantled at the time the Fulmers built their modern home to the rear, was last home to the Dunbar Magruder and Aurelie "GiDi" Jarreau families.
Randall Oak | 9789 False River Dr., New Roads
Along Louisiana state Highway 1 traveling toward New Roads, not far from the west bank of False River, the alert driver can spot one of the largest and most beautiful live oaks in the state, the Randall Oak. Located in the front yard of the home of David and Madeline Breidenbach, this massive species of Quercus virginiana has a circumference of approximately 35 feet, eight inches, a height of 68 feet, and a crown spread of 156 feet.
The oak was already a notable presence on the landscape in 1861 when its current namesake, James Ryder Randall, wrote one of the Civil War’s most famous anti-Union songs titled “Maryland, My Maryland.” He supposedly wrote the verses while sitting under the tree’s sheltering limbs. The oak’s role in local history is noted on a stone monument placed next to the tree by the Pointe Coupee Book Club.
Previously, the old oak was known as the Poydras Oak, after Julien Poydras, a wealthy area planter who also served as a delegate from the Territory of Orleans to the U.S. House of Representatives and was instrumental in Louisiana becoming a state. After his death in 1824, Poydras provided in his will an endowment for a public academy for higher education that was named Poydras College.
The college was opened in 1836 and was built behind the ancient live oak. In 1860, James Randall—a 22-year-old Baltimore, Maryland, native, was hired as a professor of literature and the classics at the College.
On Apr. 12, 1861, the Civil War began with the battle at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. A week later, Union troops passing through Randall’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, clashed violently with local citizens, resulting in the war’s first civilian casualties. According to one source, Randall was so greatly disturbed by the rumored death of a dear friend, that he was moved to write a poem that focused on the themes of oppression, slavery, and the secession of the Confederacy.
The poem was published in a New Orleans newspaper and quickly was turned into a song (to the tune of “Oh Tannebaum” or “Oh Christmas Tree”). It immediately became popular in Maryland and throughout the South.
Picture by: William Guion
Smithhaven Oak | 608 W Main St., New Roads, LA
The Smithhaven Oak is also known as Papa's Oak. This tree has been a land mark in Pointe Coupee Parish since there was an America. The land where the Oak tree thrives was originally farm land, and was later sold to build a school house. Brigadier General Francis T. Nicholls held a political rally where we stand now for governor. 1876-1880 and 1888-1892, 28th governor of Louisiana.
Lt. Governor, Hewitt Bouanchaud and his wife purchased the school house around the turn of the century and transformed the school into their family home. He died in 1950 and then Pointe Coupee Sherif (foster) F.A. Smith and wife Gena Kearney Smith (niece of Hewitt) purchased the home in 1952. They had a special love for the hoe since they had both attended elementary school there. The Smiths lived here until 2002 when Sheriff Smith passed away. At this time Greg Eaton of Baton Rouge purchased the home from the Smith family as a "Man Cave."
The "Old Sheriff," as he is referred to here in New Roads, had a deep admiration for the Oak. Since he was educated in forestry he knew the best care for a Live Oak is to be left alone. He is one of the reasons this tree is still here. Mr. Eaton has been told by many New Roadians to follow the "old sheriffs" mandate.