Delacroix, Louisiana

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Delacroix
La Isla (Spanish)
Fire Station #12 and Delacroix water tower
Fire Station #12 and Delacroix water tower
Delacroix is located in Louisiana
Delacroix
Delacroix
Delacroix is located in the United States
Delacroix
Delacroix
Coordinates: 29°46′07″N 89°47′20″W / 29.76861°N 89.78889°W / 29.76861; -89.78889Coordinates: 29°46′07″N 89°47′20″W / 29.76861°N 89.78889°W / 29.76861; -89.78889
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana
ParishFlag of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.gif St. Bernard Parish
MCDParish Governing Authority District E
Historic coloniesLouisiana (New Spain)
Louisiana (New France)
Established1783
Named forCountess Pauline Stéphanie de Livaudais du Suan de la Croix
Area
 • Total0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2)
 • Land0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
Elevation
3 ft (0.9 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total48
 • Density217.19/sq mi (83.78/km2)
Demonym(s)islero, -ra
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (Central)
ZIP code
70085
Area code504
FIPS code22-20050
GNIS feature ID560617

Delacroix (/ˈdə.lə.krɔɪ/, /ˈdə.lə.krɒ/; Spanish: La Isla [la ˈih.la]; French: L'île de la Croix) is an Isleño fishing community and census-designated place (CDP) located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.[2][3][4] It was first listed as a CDP in the 2020 census with a population of 48.[5] The community is also popularly known as Delacroix Island. The community was established in 1783 with the settlement of Canary Islanders along Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs.[3][6]

Etymology and usage[edit]

The community was originally established by Canary Islander colonists during the late 18th century.[3] The area was named La Isla (The Island) and continues to be known as such by many Isleños, particularly those who know Spanish as a first language.[3]

On July 3, 1894, the community was renamed to L'île de la Croix after its landowner the Countess Pauline Stéphanie de Livaudais du Suan de la Croix.[4] This name was adjusted later into the English name for the community Delacroix or Delacroix Island. In St. Bernard Parish, the community often is referred to informally as "the Island".[3][7]

History[edit]

Beginning in 1779, the Spanish government began settling Canary Islanders along Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs and throughout the state of Louisiana to defend New Orleans and the territory against Great Britain. This original settlement was known as the Población de San Bernardo (St. Bernard Population) and was composed of smaller establecimientos (establishments) or puestos (posts).[6] Delacroix represented the final community in a long chain leading all the way to the western limit of Saint Bernard.[6]

Following the American Civil War, many Isleños moved to the easternmost portions of St. Bernard Parish in order to fish, trap, hunt, and gather Spanish moss.[6][8] During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the seafood from Delacroix and other Isleño fishing communities supplied many restaurants in New Orleans.[6] Not only this, families dedicated themselves to trapping fur-bearing animals in the marshlands of St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes.[6][8]

Like other Isleño communities of eastern St. Bernard Parish, the residents of Delacroix have faced a series of challenges. In 1915, the New Orleans hurricane left many dead and destroyed nearly every building in the community.[9] Two years later, over one thousand people, mostly Isleños, perished from the Spanish flu pandemic and were buried at a mass burial site in the St. Bernard Catholic Cemetery.[10] The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and dynamiting of the Mississippi River levee at Caernarvon left the community completely flooded.[11]

Isleño trappers from Delacroix drinking after the sale of animal pelts.

Due in large measure to the isolation of Delacroix, many Isleño customs and traditions were preserved by community members into the later half of the twentieth century.[8][7] During this period, various academics visited Delacroix to study the Isleño identity and culture, namely the unique dialect of Spanish used by the community. Some of the academics that visited Delacroix include John M. Lipski, Samuel G. Armistead, and Alcée Fortier.[3][12][13] Also of note, the former Prime Minister of Spain Adolfo Suárez visited the community.[14]

In 1965, Hurricane Betsy leveled much of the community once again.[15] Following this, the visibility and practice of Isleño culture diminished substantially.[7] In 2005, Hurricane Katrina completely devastated the region and reshaped the community entirely. Only a small number of the original inhabitants of Delacroix returned to the community.[16][17]

Geography[edit]

Delacroix is located in southeastern Louisiana on the Mississippi River Delta. The community lies on top of a thin strip of sandy meander belt deposits from the Plaquemines and Balize delta lobes which formed over the last 1,500 years.[18][19] These deposits are built upon alluvium from the St. Bernard delta lobe which dates to between 4,000 and 2,000 years ago.[18] This material contains clay, mud, sand, peat, and silt.[19]

Although the community is popularly referred to as "Delacroix Island", or simply "the Island", the community is not an island at all.[3][13] Delacroix is located southeast of Lake Lery and along Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs which is divided between St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish. Bayou Lery also bisects Delacroix and joins Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs from the northwest.

Elevated, post-Hurricane Katrina construction.

The buildings and residences of Delacroix are situated on the eastern bank of Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs which is backed by a levee.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
202048
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
2020[21]
Racial composition as of 2020
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2020[21] % 2020
White alone (NH) 30 62.50%
Black or African American alone (NH) 0 0.00%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 0 0.00%
Asian alone (NH) 0 0.00%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 0 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 0 0.00%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 1 2.08%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 17 35.42%
Total 48 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

Economy[edit]

The local economy is largely dependent upon recreational fishermen and hunters as well as ecotourism.[22][23] This being said, some measure of professional fishing still remains in Delacroix.[23]

In 2018, the first St. Bernard Parish-owned boat lift and shipyard in the eastern portion of the Parish was installed in Delacroix.[24]

Culture and contemporary life[edit]

Today, only a small handful of the original inhabitants of Delacroix reside in the community.[23] As such, Isleño culture has all but disappeared in the community.[16][23] Even so, much of daily life is centered upon fishing, hunting, and recreation as it historically has been.[8][22]

The Blessing of the Fleet is an annual event where the fishing fleet of Delacroix is blessed by a Catholic priest before the start of the fishing season.[25][26] Large processions of highly decorated boats can be seen traveling along Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs during the event.[25]

Marker at the End of the World

To the original Isleño inhabitants of Delacroix, the dead end of Louisiana Highway 300 (LA 300) was locally known as El fin del Mundo (The end of the World).[7] Various markers have been installed at the "End of the World" as well as other signage using this phrase but these signs have been consistently replaced due to storm damage or vandalism.[23][22] An annual cycling event known as the Tour da Parish takes off from Los Isleños Museum and Historic Village in Saint Bernard and ends at "The End of the World" in Delacroix.[22][27]

In popular culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  2. ^ "Delacroix". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Armistead, Samuel G. (1992). The Spanish Tradition in Louisiana. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta. ISBN 0-936388-48-X.
  4. ^ a b Rouge, François (5 January 1895). "Bénédiction d'une chapelle a L'ile de la Croix". L'Observateur Louisianais. 4: 414–420.
  5. ^ "Delacroix CDP, Louisiana". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hyland, William de Marigny. "Los Isleños – A Historic Overview". Los Isleños Heritage and Cultural Society of St. Bernard. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  7. ^ a b c d Harris, Sara-Ann. "The Evolution of the Isleño Identity". Folklife in Louisiana. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  8. ^ a b c d Din, Gilbert C. (1 August 1999). The Canary Islanders of Louisiana. United States of America: Louisiana State University Press. pp. 51–52, 114–115, 123, 125, 196. ISBN 978-0-8071-2437-6.
  9. ^ Roy, William F., ed. (1915-10-02). "Severe storm destroys life and property". The St. Bernard Voice. Vol. XXVI, no. 39.
  10. ^ Hyland, William de Marigny (2020-04-23). "Louis Alfred Ducros M.D.: Biographical Sketch". Los Isleños Heritage and Cultural Society of St. Bernard Newsletter: 3.
  11. ^ "Through the Eye of Katrina: The Past as Prologue". Journal of American History. 94: 693–876. December 2007. doi:10.2307/25095129. JSTOR 25095129.
  12. ^ Lipski, John M. (July 1, 1990). The Language of the Isleños: Vestigial Spanish in Louisiana. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0807115347.
  13. ^ a b Fortier, Alcée (1894). Louisiana Studies: Literature, Customs and Dialects, History and Education. New Orleans: F.F. Hansell & Bro.
  14. ^ Kolker, Andy; Alvarez, Louis (1983). "Mosquitoes and High Water | Folkstreams". Folkstreams. Center for New American Media. Retrieved 2021-09-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Ouchley, Kelby. "Hurricane Betsy". 64 Parishes. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  16. ^ a b Miloshoff, Andrew (2020-05-26). "The Last Echoes of Spanish Louisiana: Observations of the Isleño Spanish Dialect of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana". 2020 JHU Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium.
  17. ^ Laviolette, Julie Landry (2015-08-28). "Hell & High Water: How Hurricane Katrina transformed St. Bernard". Miami Herald.
  18. ^ a b Blum, M.D.; Roberts, H.H. (2012). "The Mississippi Delta Region: Past, Present, and Future". Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 40 (1): 655–683. Bibcode:2012AREPS..40..655B. doi:10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105248.
  19. ^ a b Heinrich, Paul; Peele, R Hampton; Massom, Marcus B; Renken, Katherine A; Paulsell, Robert L; Pond, Lisa G (2014). Black Bay 30 x 60 Geologic Quadrangle (PDF). Louisiana Geological Survey.
  20. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  21. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Delacroix CDP, Louisiana". United States Census Bureau.
  22. ^ a b c d Sneath, Sarah (2020-12-17). "Pedal through Da Parish and learn about Louisiana's coast". Restore the Mississippi River Delta. Retrieved 2021-09-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ a b c d e Barker, Kim. "Gulf's Delacroix Islanders Watch As Their World Disappears". ProPublica. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  24. ^ "Delacroix Island Shipyard Opens". The St. Bernard News. 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2021-09-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ a b Kolker, Andrew; Alvarez, Louis (1983). "Mosquitoes and High Water". Folkstreams. Armistead, Samuel G.; Guillotte, Joseph. Center for New American Media. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  26. ^ Reuther, Dustin (19 February 2021). "Blessings of the Fleet". 64 Parishes. Retrieved 2021-09-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "Tour da Parish 2021". St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2021-09-01.