The records of the Clerk of Civil District Court’s Office, which date back to the 1700s, represent the rich history of New Orleans including its surrounding parishes. Our archives can be used for property, family history, architectural, and landscaping research.
Consisting of over 5,000 Plan Book Plans and numerous attached plans, the majority of these documents depict properties found in Orleans Parish. It is not uncommon to discover acts relating to out-of-parish properties passed before notaries residing in Orleans Parish. A section of the Research Center is devoted to out-of-parish volumes ranging from 1918 to 1970.
There are many reasons why out-of-parish documents are maintained by the Orleans Parish Clerk of Civil District Court’s Office. In most cases, a party to an act was a resident of Orleans Parish. Since the early history of the country, New Orleans has served as a central hub of business and commerce.
For these out-of-parish vignettes, we showcase documents related to Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes. The reader should keep in mind that these are just three of the parishes that are represented in the archives. Other parishes and states include but are not limited to: East Baton Rouge Parish, Livingston Parish, St. Landry Parish, St. Tammany Parish, Mississippi, and Texas.
While we recognize there are many areas and events pertaining to the parish of Plaquemines, the focal points of this post will involve Jesuit Bend, Bayhi Cemetery, the railways systems throughout the parish, and oyster farming on Dymond Island.
Plaquemines Parish was established in 1807. Its name derived from the Atakapa tribal word, Piakimin, which translates to persimmon, a native fruit to the area.1
In 1699, French explorer D’Iberville’s first point of contact with Louisiana was through the mouth of the Mississippi River, about sixty miles south of New Orleans, in what would become Plaquemines Parish.2
In the early 1700s, French Jesuits began evangelizing and exploring the Mississippi from the mouth of the river. For a time, they settled in a bend that is still known as Jesuit Bend today. 3
According to Alcee Fortier’s A History of Louisiana, Jesuit Bend had a station on the New Orleans, Fort Jackson, and Grand Isle Railroad line. Throughout this narrative, it will become evident that railways helped shape the Louisiana economy.
The plan of land below was drawn up by Alexandre Trouard, a deputy surveyor of Bartholomy Lafon, a surveyor deputy himself. Lafon was appointed by Isaac Briggs, Surveyor General of the Territory of Orleans. The plan dated February 28, 1812, depicts a section of Jesuit Bend.
The property, once acquired by the widow [Bayhi], was located in Jesuit Bend. It was bounded by the property of Jean Nivet to the north, the Latour sons to the south, and the Mississippi River to the East.
In French, this sale of ground is from the heirs of the widow of Bonaventure Bayhi, Marie Joseph Carel, who died intestate, or without a valid will. The property was sold to Mr. Jean Baptiste Blanche. The veuve (French) or widow, Bayhi, acquired the land in two pieces from Mr. Barthelemy Barroy and Mr. Jean Voisin. Both acts were passed before Charles Latour, a judge for the Parish of Plaquemines, on February 22, 1808. Both men previously acquired the land from Mr. Pierre Barroy. The plan indicates a cemetery on the Bayhi property and is enlarged below the act for closer detail.
Bayhi Cemetery is roughly five miles away from where Jesuit Bend is and still exists today.
Dymond Island and the Oyster Farming Industry
Plaquemines Parish has had a long history of exporting citrus and seafood, namely oysters.4
One example of cultivating and producing oysters for export was the Dymond Island Oyster Company, Limited. The company chartered on January 30, 1904, before Alvin E. Herbert for the purposes of acquiring “oyster lands or bottoms in the water of the State of Louisiana and to bed, plants, fish, raise, and cultivate oysters and other shell fish thereon.”
The charter shows John Dymond, Jr. as president with ownership of 50 shares in the company.
Alvin E. Hebert notarized the charter. He was named vice president and was issued one share in the oyster company.
John Dymond, Jr. served as the attorney for the Oyster Commission in Louisiana for two years, published The Oyster in Louisiana in March 1904, and was generally thought of as the authority in the oyster industry.5
In an act of sale on September 17, 1904, John Dymond, Jr. acquired Sea Marsh Island, from the Louisiana Navigation and Fisheries Company, Limited. Sea Marsh Island was located in Bay Adam in Plaquemines Parish. The property was previously acquired from the Board of Commissioners for the Buras Levee District.
On November 10, 1904, John Dymond sold Sea Marsh Island to the Dymond Island Oyster Company along with “Gasoline launches: Sultan and Tempest, the barge Dymond Island, the boat house on the Southern bank of Bay Adam Canal… otherwise known as Doullut’s Canal, the skiffs, household and kitchen furniture and utensils, crockery, tools, and emplements acquired and owned by John Dymond, Jr…” Sea Marsh Island would be renamed Dymond Island. According to Dymond’s obituary, he had a residence on the island.7
Dymond Island is located within Bay Adam, and the boat house known as Doullut’s Canal is located between Bay Adam and the Mississippi River as indicated on the survey below.
Dymond Island can be found on Google Maps in Bay Adam on the western side of the Mississippi near the community of Empire.
A large blueprint of oyster bedding grounds and their respective owners were included in an act of sale of oyster beds from Nita Antoinette Shakespeare Dymond to Reginald Dykers. Nita Shakespeare Dymond was the wife of John Dymond and the daughter of Joseph Shakespeare5, the late mayor of New Orleans from 1880 to 1882 and 1888 to 1892.6
Nita Dymond sold twenty superficial acres of oyster beds, denoted as section no. 5 on the survey below, which was created by C. Uncas Lewis, the surveyor for the Oyster Commission of Louisiana.
Section no. 5 was located between bedding grounds belonging to Reginald Dykers (no. 4) and Alvin Herbert (no. 6). Mrs. Dymond previously acquired the bedding grounds by lease from the Oyster Commission of Louisiana.
In addition to the many positions held by Mr. Dymond, the following act notes that he was the president of the Board of Commissioners for the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District.
In addition to imports and exports of goods via the Mississippi River, railways were another important means of transportation, not only in Plaquemines but in St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes as depicted by dotted lines in the plan below.4
In the survey below, land in St. Bernard and Plaquemines was acquired by the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District from the State of Louisiana. The land would later be sold to Mr. George H. Randolph from the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District Board of Commissioners, as represented by John Dymond, Jr. In the resolution attached to the act, the purchaser was forbidden to interfere with the oyster industry in the waters adjacent to the property.
The survey indicates railways running through Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes in 1906.
Discussion of the railways and the expansion of communities and industries will continue in the next post featuring St. Bernard Parish.
The Clerk’s Office has a rich amount of history pertaining to Plaquemines Parish. If there are any particular interests in Plaquemines that you would like to learn more about, please contact the Clerk’s Office. We are happy to assist.
7. Times-Picayune, 13 Nov. 1932, p. 1. NewsBank: America’s News – Historical and Current.