The information regarding the route from Cade to the north turn into St.Martinville was wrong. I have produced a corrected entry in this history hunt ride. The Cade Depot was in Cade and the rails shot due east over the university's farm and then turned north to enter St.Martinville. The farmer I talked to must have been speaking of another set of rails or flat having fun with me. If so, he was the best liar I've ever met and I bought the Brooklyn Bridge from him while I was there.
I undid the incorrect information verified by a map Mark gave me after a visit to Patoutville. I ran back out to Cade and followed the correct route.
The Southern Pacific, Cade to Port Barre
Here we go: Note all pictures have been enlarged to original size so if you see "click the pic",
don't, it's already been enlarged.I was never quite comfortable with the way I had said the Cade, La. to St.Martinville, La. branch of the Southern Pacific had run. A farmer had described a trestle along Lady of the Lake Road which crosses the northern edge of Spanish Lake above New Iberia and beneath Cade, La. He had said his mom had to fight the railroad to get her land title straight. His description was why I put the rails on Lady of the Lake Road just north of Spanish Lake and southwest of St.Martinville. The 1939 map differs. The possibility of there being two routes for this branch at different times now looms large as I know the guy did not make up all of that in the few minutes we visited. I could, but it's a gift. Alas, there are about 50 miles of hard railroading before we get to Port Barre we will not linger on that possibility.
First, below you see a map. . It has red numbers on it which will be invaluable during the upcoming explanation.
It's a piece of a 1939 map Mark found down at Patoutville.
This won't take long. You see the "1" above the "X" in De Lacroix?.
That's where I took the picture below.
It is looking eastward toward St.Martinville. The road
was muddy. My original route included this muddy section
which is correct. I often will my way into places and back out.
This was one of those times. That is looking straight toward
La.31, the St.Martinville to New Iberia east Bayou Teche road.
It was softer than it looks and I didn't have the dirt bike yet.
Here is looking the west in line with what is above.
Here is where the "No Treaspassing" signs were. This place
is mentioned later.
This road goes on the later mentioned "crawfish eating place".
It is so clear now that I've seen this route on the map.
In the previous search I'd gotten this far and assumed
the route to bend south (left) before the UL farm hill and cross
the bayou where the GPS said Delacroix was. Look way
down the Right Of Way. We'll be to there is a second.
Delacroix was up the hill, not on Lady of the Lake Rd.
Who would put a town in a swamp? Iberville?
I rode south to "7", the Lady of the Lake Road, and moved
west toward the UL Farm. I turned north on Begnaud Rd.
where you see the strangely written "De lacroix". Of course
that is French, "de", meaning "of". "Lacroix" sounds like a
town in Indiana. La Croix is "the cross" so it woud be "of the cross"
My GPS had put the settlement of Delacroix south of Lady
of the Lake in the marsh. I also think that Garmin copied the
US Geological Survey and takes the government word for
where places are or were.
I rode on up into the farm. It's a public road and not much seems
to be happening there, anyway.
I thought this was the ROW but it isn't. This is at number "2".
Actually I had skipped from "1" to "3" and had forgotten to put a "2".
Nice road, I guess.
Next, if you go down the hill you will see a sign at "3" stating
"Crawfish......". At the end of that stretch is where I was
at the "No Trespassing" signs.
There were no "No Treaspassing:" signs on this end so I just rode on in.
I went all the way to the other end where all that mud was. It was all in-line.
There was a house there. It looked like a "camp" where
crawfish boiling parties were held.
I turned around and rode back out the road I'd come in on,
"Back on Track", so to speak.
Arriving back at Begnaud Rd., the main road through UL. I looked across
the road and saw the ROW heading off toward Cade to the west.
I decided it wasn't time for a stroll and I wasn't taking the
bike back into that since everything was mush. It was January
and with no sun, south Louisiana is like a wet sponge. I will return
on the DR and check it out since there were no fearsome
signs. Nothing was really definitive. It will take a more finely
tuned attempt. I did come back and again, I thought I was
"hooked up", but the gps tracks were not right. The actual crossing
point at the bayou is still vague.
I suspect they keep it manicured because it is a free road
being elevated above the surrounding ground. It was
lining itself up to cross Bayou Tortouise, west of "3".
I was again disappointed with the next look back there.
I headed north on Begnauc to La.92 and then west on it into
Cade. There are no more public access points to the ROW
between the UL farm and town. Notice, I said "public".
Update. It seems a subdivision is being put in. That road will
cross the ROW. I need to get there before the land is torn up.
It is probably too late as that was farm land.
I've looked at Mark's map and my maps until I'm blue in the
face. I've compared new roads with old roads and I'm sure
that the rails came into Cade just north of Honey Comb Dr.
That was absolutely proved later.
The proof follows.
Across this road, Old US 90, now La.182, is the BNSF main line.
Oh my goodness, do you see all the clouds pointing at the
Honey Comb street sign? I'm not superstitious, but that
is way too coincidental. There were probably trumpets
blaring but my hearing stinks and I had that newer helmet on.
That's why I immediately look at my pictures. I always miss
stuff on site because I'm too busy trying to figure out the
obvious. If you get lost trying to find Honey Comb, just look
up and go to where the clouds are pointing!!
I rode to the east on Honey Comb (Number 4) and parked about 500 feet
from the end house. The dogs began to bark, the hounds began
to howl, cause they knew some strange cat, was on the prowl.
[Paraphrasing Mr. Willie Dixon's famous blues song, "Little Red Rooster".]
I walked out to where I saw a rise in the pasture. Yes, indeed!
Damn, it feels good to be right once in a while.
Then back the other way looking for a sign of a little trestle but there was none.
The telephone/power line poles are always a good hint.
Look, I think I see a clearing up there. Was there a station
there? I had thought there was one on the west side of the
main line. Maybe two structures since this was the end of
a major branch? No, read what I added tonight.
I think I had become delirious writing this correction report.
The rails did lie in the field north of Honey Comb.The PR-272
road is laid adjacent the exit of a long spur that ran out to a plantation
where the Episcopal school is now. That short unnamed part of the Y is
called "Tracks" or something similar because they were the tracks.
The depot was above where yousee "R. Babineaux". They were in plain sight.
I should and will add the pictures of the original find here since
all that has been torn up. Well, most has. There was enough evidence to where
you knew where the depot was and the side tracks.
Back up on La.182, I looked for the legs of the "Y" that
had connected the Cade to Port Barre to the main line.
I told old Cade adios and went back east on La.92 to where
the bayou was crossed. I decided to take a couple of shots
just in case there was an old trestle laying up in there somewhere.
I twisted the zoom for all she'd do.
No, it's out of sight.
Below is the rest of that page on Cade. Since I found a spur to the north I included it though it is in no part included in the Cade to Port Barre route of the Southern Pacific.
This will be your first look at the 1926 schedule. Notice that Delacroix is a stop on it. Delacroix is where the USL Farm is today, or UL Farm as it is called, lately.
The 1935 schedule does not mention Delacroix.
The original write picks up back at Cade.
Let's start in the sleepy little village of Cade which sits on what
was US 90 before the slab, which is new US 90, was built to
the west. It is at the intersection of La.92 and La.182 (Old 90).
This section covers the rails out to the school/plantation.
The spur to the plantation:
This is redundant but easy for me.
While looking for the depot location in Cade, I found a spur
or possibly another branch.
There had been a wye connection. Update: no, there wasn't a wye
just the southwesterly curving exit from the mainline.
If you look in the upper left corner of the picture above, you'll
see a young man coming down the road. He started yelling at
me that I was on private property, which I wasn't. Long story short,
he apologized after I told him I was with the newspaper and
asked him how to spell his name. He said that, yes indeed,
there had been a branch here and it had gone right in front
of his house and continued out into the field toward the
At the school I could trace it no further. It could have joined
La.92 headed toward Youngsville or other points west.
I was later told that it served a plantation where the school is now.
From there I went to the local Stop and Run. I asked a
young woman at the checkout if she knew anything
about an old railroad that went from Cade to St.Martinville.
She said that she was too young and for me to ask "that old
woman" in the back corner. The scorned older woman snorted
twice, a sign of an impending charge, and I left, knowing
I was in the wrong arena.
I'd had it with Cade. I punted and went home. I would return to
the area the next day.
At this point I'll admit I totally missed the Cade Depot area. It
was on the west side of the tracks, a place I still frequent for great
train shots. I will insert the Cade Depot write here in the future
when I write my book.
St.Martinville is next. The rail maps from
here on out are dead on correct.
The naming of a street, "Railroad", helped.
Here the rails come from Cade, La.92 and the
university farm and turn north paralleling
La.31 into St.Martinville's west side.
Right up Railroad Street she went. Off to the right (east),
you can see "Main Highway". That is La.31 south of St.Martinville.
The rails continue up Railroad St. and cross La.96,
the Terrace Highway, which connects St.Martinville
with Broussard. "Terrace" is pronounced "tay-ras".
I believe that the terrace it refers to is the Coteau Ridge.
Or, possibly it refers to the first high ground south of
the Lake Martin basin.
Below you can see where the rails crossed the La.96.
After La.96, the tracks bent toward St.Martinville Junction.
There the train would go down a dead end track towards Bayou
Teche where the depot was. It would have to back up to the
junction to go north.
Below, the rails leave the junction and go to the depot.
I believe that there was a spur off the south that serviced a
feed store and maybe other businesses.
The humps from the old route are still easily seen and experienced
in St.Martinville. See and experience them before they are gone.
But, be careful, that area harbors some shady appearing characters
which could be experienced, also.
Here are a few of the railroad related pictures I have of St.Martinville.
This is one I took of the GPS screen. The black triangle was
my location. You can see the junction and the tracks going
north to Parks and east to the depot area. The line going to
the south was what got me started on this project. I wouldn't
have begun it without some kind of "tangible" asset. The dark
red line to the south is Terrace Road, mentioned above.
This is the view of the bed headed north to the junction from the above location (black triangle).
There were humps in the road I wanted to show you but
there were audiences everywhere and I didn't feel like stopping.
It must have been a holiday, no one was working.
Here's the sign down by the depot, east of La.31, just north
of where La. 92 crosses the bayou. South of La.92, and east
of La.31, is the historical downtown. The depot's location
could have been associated with water born commerce or
simply the fact that it was a downtown location. The businesses
there using that spur were another reason. Why were the
businesses there? Possibly because they had previously used
Large semis were parked all over this open area. This had to
be the location of the depot. I didn't look close enough at
the cement to try to figure out what was its purpose.
This is looking west to La.31.
This was the St.Martinville depot. The foliage says
that it was on the south side of the tracks and the bayou
was straight ahead.
Below is from a parish promotional pamphlet written in the 1950's.
This is the old building in the distance.
Here is the old feed store that I mentioned that might have
been on a spur. You can see a semi parked to the right near
the location of the depot.
The signs on the front of the building are some of my favorites.
I've inquired about being a distributor for Rooster Booster,
a product that you can't have too much of.
Now, don't get spoiled with all those maps. So many were
included because there are no articles on the Cade to
St.Martinville Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad
anywhere in the world but here. (2012) After years of looking,
I feel that is still true. That is the reason I'm going back over
this write and fixing it up. As of 3/22/2012, this is stage 3.
There are so many pictures to add I 'll be a while longer.
Update: This is round 4, 1/2/2013 (the first time I've written that "13")
Next, I rode the rails north to Parks. I have connections
there and I expect some extremely interesting information
to flow. For instance, did you know that Parks
was serviced by two railroads, the other being the Missouri
Pacific (Iberia & Northern) which stopped at a lumber mill
near the intersection of La.347, Bridge Street Highway,
and La.3039, Nursery Hwy?
On with the ride:
Leaving St.Martinville, we head north to Parks,
riding the west side of the bayou on La.31.
Between St.Martinville and Parks, my old software
does show the SP route. It didn't from St.Martinville
to Cade, the last chapter which was such a mystery.
I don't think anyone knew about the route but me
and the few residents along its path.
I remember the rails between St.Martinville and Breaux
Bridge, and, I might actually remember seeing a train on
them. I've lived "out here" since 1975. A friend had a
girlfriend that lived near the road that goes to Lake Martin
and we crossed the tracks to get to her family's camp.
I do get ahead of myself. I'll show the camp's location
later. I think there was a golf driving range there for a while?
First, the all important map:
Points of interest on this map and a review:
Down in St.Martinville was the appropriately named,
"St.Martinville Junction". There the trains had to leave
the main line and go into town to the depot which was
near Bayou Teche. Again, my guess is that the trains
backed into town.
The second point of interest moving north is
Longfellow Evangeline St.Park. It is a must see.
Here's a link: Click Here. The park is much
improved since this visit. There is talk of a
campground. It is required since there is so much to see.
Next POI is the old bridge at Levert, home of St.John
Plantation and Mill. It is one of few still functioning
historic mills in Louisiana. This is a rare picture of
the bridge still in operating position crossing the bayou.
The trains crossed this bridge. The rails connected with
the Missouri Pacific rails on the east side, seen in orange.
Note the 1895 plaque on the bridge. This one needs preserving,
but it continues to rot.
The photo below is a rare one. The bridge
is now turned in line with the bayou.
You can see the cracks in the blacktop where the rails are.
From St.John/Levert, the rails shot north to parks.
The following are the exciting pictures taken from the imaginary
engine cab as it entered Parks.
The rails ran right behind what was named, "Wolf's Store", and the Water Dept. building.
I am thinking that the water department building was the train station.
The little road to the right of the building is the rail bed.
The train ran right behind the primary school. Its passing
must have been an exciting event for the kids.
Leaving Parks the rails bent westward. (Refer to the top map)
After Parks, the rails continued across what are now
sugarcane fields. Do not discount the possibility of cotton in the past.
Here's the 1935 schedule.
I think this list below may contain spurs to different
businesses. Shown is the Levert (St.Johns) Spur.
The only names I can find on this schedule
are Levert and Gauthier. I see no mention of Ruth.
Gauthier is south of Parks. La Frannier Road marks its location.
The map below is an old one. It is a piece of a 1935 map donated by E.Leuck.
The rails follow La.31 from St.Martinville and in and out of
Breaux Bridge. The rails I have colored red. The section where
they cross is near Brick Street. It was also appropriately called
"Breaux Bridge Junction". The rails we are following, Cade-Port
Barre, go northwest. The ones going northeast went across Bayou
Teche, crossed the Atchafalaya Basin, went through Grosse Tete
and crossed the Mississippi at Anchorage on ferry. That's a whole
nuther story. The ones going west are still used and go to Lafayette.
They are called, even today, the "BR Branch". "BR" stands
for "Baton Rouge".
For those not following along, the Southern Pacific branch
began in Cade, and rode their rails north on its main line into
Port Barre all the way to the shore of Bayou Courtableau where
the engine would be turned on a manually powered turntable
for the return trip. By the way, a complete investigation of
Port Barre will follow this edition.
I'm having a hard time placing a time period on these different
rail sections. I know some were ripped up before others. I do
know that in 1935 it was intact. Let's pretend it's 1935.
I just found this, "1895: A branch of the Southern Pacific
Railroad connects Cade to Port Barre, signaling the end of
the Steamboat Era on the upper Teche". So, 1895 was
starting date. The 1895 date on the St.John Mill bridge at
Levert fits perfectly.
This might interest some while we are dating stuff.
This is a list of SP "local" branches in existence as of 1920.
Lafayette Subdivision branches as of June, 1920:
Saint Martinville Branch - Cade to Saint Martinville Junction into Saint Martinville
Breaux Bridge Branch - Saint Martinville Junction to Breaux Bridge
Leonville Branch - Breaux Bridge to Leonville to Point Barre
The BR Branch crossed the Port Barre Branch in Breaux Bridge.
Baton Rouge Branch - Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, Anchorage, Baton Rouge The branch was cut in the 1927 flood. The bridge at Atchafalaya was never replaced.
The route north from Leonville to Port Barre is not mentioned. I'm betting it was the first stretch to go. The mainline connector at Port Barre was the competition. The MP connected to the south from Port Barre. Traffic from the area on the SP would go south to its main line at Cade.
The Southern Pacific had competition on the east side of Bayou Teche from the Iberia & Northern, later known as the Missouri Pacific. That line linked Garden City to Irish Bend, Catahoula, Jenerette, New Iberia, the east side of St.John (Levert), Cecelia, Arnaudville, Pecaniere, and Frisco, the southern part of Port Barre on the Missouri Pacific, the mother company of the branch. I had maps of its entire route, the upper portion of the Southern Pacific was another story.
New Orleans, Algiers, Raceland Junction, Schriever, Morgan City, Bayou Sale, Baldwin, New Iberia, Lafayette, Midland, Lake Charles, Echo, are other SP Branches, most of which I have explored.
Lock Port Branch - Raceland Junction to Lock Port Napleonville Branch - Thibodaux Junction to Napoleonville, Salt Mine Branch - I & V Junction to Salt Mine (Avery Island) South Bend Branch - Bayou Sale to South Bend (La.317 south of Centerville) Youngsville Branch - Davids to Youngsville (This was the old Franklin and Abbeville Branch west of La.329 and the Port of Iberia) Weeks Island Branch - F & A Junction, Cypemort, Weeks Island (This branch served the salt mine at Weeks Island, La.83 connecting Baldwin with New Iberia)
Cheneyville Branch - Lafayette to Cheneyville This was the route through Opelousas and Ville Platte. DeRidder Branch - Lake Charles to DeRidder Previously this was the Louisiana and Pacific and Lake Charles and Northern. Gueydon Branch - Midland, Abbeville, I & V Junction, New Iberia
Eunice Branch - Midland, Eunice, Mamou This branch was in essence a continuation of the Gueydon Branch. Houma Branch - Schriever to Houma Lake Arthur Branch - Mallard Junction to Lake Arthur
The picture below is the SP entering Breaux Bridge from the south.
It angles west away from La.31.
Here's looking back south from Veteran Drive. The ROW
seems to be some perpetual neutral ground. Fine with me,
that makes it easy to follow. A large area might also mean
a small yard or storage area, possibly with buildings.
The breaks in the concret are telltale.
Here's looking toward where the station was. A horse lives
there now. Taken from Webb Street.
I think this is an appropriate place to post the map.
Click and download it. It is pure history.
On the map you can see (rails in heavy black) that there is
a crossing further north. There, two branches of the
Southern Pacific crossed. One from Lafayette was headed
to Baton Rouge on a very interesting route, straight across
the Atchafalaya Basin (The BR mentioned above). It
conquered the Basin long before I-10 did. You can still see
what is left of the bed from that super slab. The floods of
1927 wiped out the swing bridge at the settlement of
Atchafalaya, eventually condemning the route. Atchafalaya
was where the Basin Welcome Center is today. That story later.
Our route, the Cade-Port Barre continued northeast. I was
going to get started on this write earlier but started
rummaging around and found some ancient ICC, or
other governing body, probably the La.Public Service
Commission, records. It seems that the SP, then known
as Morgan's Louisiana and Texas.... wanted to move
the depot down to the cross tracks. That would make
sense to me but the people of Breaux Bridge objected.
That story below.
You'll have to click on it to expand it. I couldn't copy
the text so I took a picture of it.
And finally a decision: NO!!
You cannot move your depot 300 yards up the tracks.
Someone had pull on the commission and it wasn't Morgan.
This is where the depot was:
This is probably what it looked like. This is the
Mansura Southern Pacific Depot. Mansura and
Breaux Bridge were probably similar in size.
It will have to do. I have no picture of the BB Depot.
I've been in one exactly like this one. I'll go out on a
limb and suggest that the small town depots were
pretty much alike.
I now have a picture of the BB Depot.
It was a prettier little building than Mansura's
It is a shame the city fathers did not save it. I think it is missed
by today's tourist hungry entrepreneurs.
But, Lafayette did worse in scrapping two historic engines.
Just to the south of it I saw these two cement blocks
preserved by trees. Careful examination reveals that
threaded studs were sticking out of the top of the one
examined. I suggest that there were at least 2 more
which formed a square or rectangle and supported
something. I would say it was a water tower or oil tank.
Things are getting ready to get complicated and I think we
need another map. They can help. Open it in a new window.
Now we will approach the cross tracks mentioned above.
These are a progression of shots taken at each road that crossed
the SP on its way to the X track
I aligned myself with the right of way, zoomed toward the
junction and saw this. Those rails were on the Cade to Port Barre bed!!!
I looked over my shoulder toward where the station had been.
I swore I heard a whistle. I'll admit it, the
picture below is actually the SP depot at Washington, La.
Someone had put some shell there to make crossing it easier.
The L&D RR probably put the shell there so that the landowner
could cross the tracks.
Standing on the cross track, I zoomed in on the old old rail
bed ahead. It is still in use as part of the switching arrangement
for the petroleum based business which is on the north side
of. La.94, Mills Avenue.
In that picture you can see the rails coming at me (south)
and veering east toward the old train bridge across Bayou
Teche that serviced the Lafayette to Baton Rouge Branch (BR).
Without a doubt, this was part of the wye set up which connected
the BR to the Cade / PB.
If a train had come from Lafayette, it would come from my left (west). It would have to travel toward Berard Street and the old bridge, now not in use, then move backward into the depot yard or north on the rails I just mentioned going into the petroleum business.... then forward on the west arm of the wye back to Lafayette. BUT.... For a while after the Atchafalaya bridge was destroyed, a train from Lafayette would go to St.Martinville and then take the BR to Pelba out in the Basin where a moss industry was established.
In this one I was shooting to my left toward Lafayette. The rails are curving north toward the highway and will cross it. Then they will follow the highway and cross the Vermillion bridge at Long Bridge. Next, they make their way to the main line. Louisiana and Delta RR now services Breaux Bridge. It brings 2 engines, one on each end of the train since the wye is no longer there for revering the train.
Here the siding crosses La.94 and goes into Enterprise's location.
Hopping over the curved track and looking toward Lafayette.
Now to look toward the old bridge which was part of the Basin run to Baton Rouge.
Notice the houses along the rails as they head for the bridge.
They mark the northeast section of my guessed old wye.
Here are a series of old shots showing the rails crossing the
old rail/car bridge. The first one is on the east side near the
Breaux Bridge sugar mill.
Here's looking toward Baton Rouge. The rails would pass
the Breaux Bridge Sugarcane Mill. The mill was serviced
by the bridge up until the 80's, I remember seeing train cars
on it. Just recently I saw the old X warning sign lying on the
side of the road. I almost picked it up. I should have.
And as they head across Berard (La.31) to Breaux Bridge Junction.
This evidence is all gone now, including the bridge.
Back at the junction, the next shot is shifted a bit south of
looking toward the bridge.I saw what I believed to be another
siding. I'm not drawing anything, judge for yourself.
It definitely looked like an old rail bed headed toward Berard St.
Update: it was.
This was a spur to an industry. The road in the distance is named "Refinery"
Whether that means an oil or sugar refinery I just don't know.
The houses mark the rails that went to the BB depot from
the Baton Rouge branch. This is looking south . The telephone
poles mark the Cade to Port Barre right of way.
New satellite imagery proves it, but, seems to disprove my
full wye theory coming from the north. Instead, the wye was
from the east branching north and south to theCade / Port Barre branch.
Guidry St. is to the east and in line with the BR going east. Remember, the ease-west
trains on the BR had to leave the BR to go to the depot. That was accomplished
by the rails curving down from Refinery St. "Refinery" in those times meant "sugar
refinery". Refinery St. was the eastern extension of W.Refinery which crossed the
rail/car bridge. There was definitely a siding that curved toward Brick St. Careful
examination tells me it crossed the BR parallel to the Cade/Port Barre and was
a part of the small yard above Breaux Bridge Junction which is still there today.
In the foreground of the shot below are wye rails off the east BR going to the north
Cade/ Port Barre. The rails crossing the picture are the BR. That post is a mystery.
One more south shot and that's it. Notice the discarded ties on the right (west).
This is from the north side of the shell crossing on the BR looking south toward
the depot area and Cade. I may have to go check out those old ties. Could there
be some dating evidence there? Or snakes. Remember, the pond is right there.
Pond? Had there been a lumber mill there? More than likely it was a borrow pond,
one where dirt was taken for the railroad. All supposition.
I had to show you one more picture of the now deceased SP/BR
Bayou Teche rail bridge. The story of the BR is amazing.
Then I saw the train sitting on the old SP rails. I slid side
ways in a rush to get to it before it left. It was parked,
turned off and sitting.
Immediately, the question of how the train got back to Lafayette
was answered. An engine was on both ends. No problem, but it
seemed over kill for 2 tank cars.
A side view, almost.
I rode around to where the junction was for an opposite perspective.
I panned toward the Cade-Port Barre bed to show the trains
relationship with the junction.
I know some of you want a look at the engines.
I've seen 1850 down in New Iberia. And the railroad is the
Louisiana & Delta RR.
The next one belongs to L & D. They don't seem to repaint right away
when theypurchase used engines. Too costly. That is real cool since you
can trace where the engines come from easily. The railroad has quite a collection.
I next did a big loop out to the salt mine and back in on La.94
into Breaux Bridge. I wanted to get a shot of the old rails at the
highway, some looking toward where the old bed was going and
some, looking back at where it had come from.
This is looking south. The rails to the right are on the old bed.
The ones to the left may have been a continuation of that spur
we saw in the satellite shot. I'm sure of it.
This is looking north as the rails cross the highway and skirt
the east side of Enterprise's facility.
I zoomed way out to follow the rails. There is a permanent
turn installed into the rails directing traffic into Enterprise.
The abandoned rails continue north, how far, I can't quite say,
This shot is a far out zoomed shot looking from La.94. at Breaux Bridge.
On the last page, I had just cleared La.94/Mills Street/The
Lafayette Highway/The Breaux Bridge Highway, all the same road.
From here north this route is so old my GPS Topo doesn't show it.
The tracks followed La.31, except where the road and Bayou Teche,
which it was following, went into a big meander. That big bend is
called Grand Point. The town of Cecelia was once known as Grand
Point, thus "Grand Point Road" (La.347) in Breaux Bridge. Mentioning
that gives me a chance to say that the mustard colored line is the other
railroad that followed the Teche, the Missouri Pacific, which like all
these other railroads had other names in earlier days, a few we'll learn
after arriving in Port Barre.
Have you ever been given something that you felt was so valuable
you didn't feel qualified to possess it? After leaving Port Barre, I
think that's the feeling I had or maybe it was just excitement.
Back to the mustard colored MP line. I have followed it, reported
on it, and was very aware of its route, well, up to the end when I
couldn't figure out if it went into Port Barre or not. Now, I now
understand it and the other 3 railroads that crossed or ended in Port Barre.
This next shot is taken from the first through road, Daugereaux Road,
after what is locally known as 4 corners , the intersection of La.31 and
La.94. It is looking back to where the existing rails at the Enterprise
location end. There was no place to park or I would have hiked to the
end of the rails for a shot of where "today" ended and "history" begins.
How is that for drama? We are in what was known as the Gecho-DeClouet
communities, Both had stops.
Next up is Gecko, seen on the map. Was there a station?
Here's a cutout from a SP Schedule Page that will keep you on board.
We, or course are going from the bottom to top or south to
north. After Ruth should come Breaux Bridge. Instead, you
see "Lafayette" which was a westward option. Above Breaux
Bridge you see Nina, Lenora, Achafalaya River, which were
eastward options at the depot right before Breaux Bridge
Junction. Notice, this schedule was done in 1935. The bridge
was gone at Atchafalaya. It was the end of the line unless a
ferry service was still there to carry passengers to the eastern
tracks into Anchorage and Baton Rouge. Next up the SP
would be Gecho and De Clouet.
Just follow the power lines. They are right on most of the time.
Looking back toward Breaux Bridge. That may be correct here
but further north, that theory did not play out.
I'm going to say that this is where the Gecko depot was.
At this point, the railroad cuts across the "point" and does
not visit Cecelia (Grand Point). I think as late as 1939 the
place was called Grand Point?
I want to get up some steam here so there will be few pictures
and less explanation. I don't see it on this 1935 schedule,
but I have seen McVeigh mentioned on others.
First is the Magnolia Plantation area. The road is called
DeClouet Road. it goes around and hooks up with La.354
that brings you back to La.31 The SP crossed this loop.
I just checked the schedule and the DeClouet and Gecko
stops were only .6 miles apart. Weird. Maybe they were
different plantations or there was something between
them that separated them, like a swamp?
I have just removed 4 pictures of an incorrectly assumed route.
FIND THE CORRECT PICTURES
A lot of sport bike riders trudge through all this crap and
even write to say what sludge I've imposed upon them and
that this surely can't be described as a motorcycle enthusiast's
website. I write back and tell them that it's really a search for
great opportunities to "get air" over those old railroad humps.
They write back and it usually goes like this, "Wow, man, you
the dude.[Or, "dude, you the man?] All the time I thought you
were just some old weirdo that liked wandering around wasting
your time". I thank them for their appreciation and move on.
This one's for you, Scott. It's like they are all named Scott or Ned?
For the railroad guys, this is a banked corner. You can ride faster around these. I know, banked rails are limited to roller coasters.
I need to add this as heath insurance for the fast and loud group:
Pissed off Cajuns have been known to blow "bikers" scaring their
dogs and endangering their kids right off their putters. They call it
"Practicing for Deer Season" or something like that . I'm not exactly
sure how it goes in French, but when someone says it, they all laugh.
I think I've heard "une biche defunt, hahahahahaha" at the end of
the bar at the corner of 354 and 31.
The picture below, if you look real close, shows the bed. it is near
where 352 comes in near Poche Bridge Fish and Camp.
I have this other schedule that mentions what I think are
spurs out here or stops. This was evidently a line that embraced
the neighborhoods or maybe, the neighborhoods embraced the
railroad as a means of travel and crop transport. I'm sure it
was a mutual thing.
Next up the line was McVeigh Rd. I've traveled this road
a million times. It's a little known shortcut. You turn in at one
of my favorite country churches.
Here's looking back at the church which is on 31.
Here's what I found and I now recognize it for what it was.
This is where the Model A's and T's, horse and wagons, tractors,
and all means of transportation had to stop and wait for the
train to pass. It is also a place where kids of all ages waved to
the train guys and, maybe, looked down the track as it
disappeared, thinking, "one day, one day".
Durio Road was next, but to be honest, the picture was worthless.
But, researching Durio Road, I found this. Here's to you Mr. Durio.
"Mr. Durio, a native of Arnaudville, died at 11:20 p.m. Monday,
March 9, 1998, at his residence. He was the son of the late
Angelas N. Durio and the former Euphrozine Clay. Mr. Durio
had been a resident of Lafayette since 1922 where he was a Car Inspector
for Southern Pacific Railroad. He was employed by Southern
Pacific for 47 years retiring in 1965".
I'm thinking, "Mr.Durio was a native of Arnaudville and we
are just about 2 miles south of that town. It is possible that
Durio Road led to or passed through Mr.Durio's family's land.
He might have caught Railroad Fever by seeing the trains come
through either here or town." That's what I'm thinking.
He worked for the SP since 1918. Did he commute for four
years from Arnaudville? I don't think so. That was a long distance
in those days. Still is. That is, of course assuming that he worked
in Lafayette. I think he worked in another location before moving
to Lafayette. Locally?
The railroad came into Arnaudville like this, right up Grain
Elevator Road to the Bayou Fuselier bridge.
Looking back across the bridge from the other side, here's looking south.
UPDATE: I must have been delirious as this is repeated, but better.
I've been tempted to add in some extra stuff here but I will
wait until Port Barre is a done deal. Then I can make you
read the whole thing again.
We are just south of Arnaudville, La.
Here's a map to get us started.
The red line is the SP, or close. It may have gone
to the right of that sewer pond.
The Southern Pacific came in from McVeigh, up La.31, remember?. The rails crossed La.93, the Grand Coteau Highway. Then it crossed Bayou Fuselier on what must have been a high trestle. A filled ramp was built to protrude out into the bayou to reduce the length of the bridge, or so it seems the reason would be. There is one on the opposite bank, also. This was a common practice. ,
Next, it crossed Fuselier St. and started its trip along W.Railroad Ave. This location is just to the west of downtown. My map doesn't show it, but I suspect that E.Railroad was a road that was parallel to W.Railroad and the median between the two streets was where the depot was. The map program finally gave up E.RR Ave. Look at the top of the next map. I approximated the rails. In another map. E.RR Ave goes all the way to Fuselier St. In all the drawings I've marked the Southern Pacific in red.
The orange line, top map, to the east is the route of the Missouri
Pacific originating in New Iberia.
Here's a pastoral scene south of Bayou Fuselier.
These are a couple of old warehouses associated, I think,
with the Singleton Lumber Yard or Plantation. My guess is
that a spur ran to them. That has been verified. They are on
La.93, just west of the SP rails before they cross the bayou.
Here's another building in that group. The high doors on
the left are suspicious. I just GE'd the Singleton's lumber
yard and I do think they had a siding, but not where I thought first.
Here's how they sit. They are pretty well lined up and the
doors of the steel building are on the back. I'd put a truck
door in the back also. Just a thought. I'm probably wrong
like I said above. But, maybe the spur split before crossing
This is a Google Earth view of the whole lumberyard complex.
The red line is my guessed at spur arrangement.
Next are all of the crossing pictures.
This is looking from La.93 toward town. Notice the cracks
in the road. Those could either be an influence of the old rails
or just more Louisiana cracks in the road?
Not getting a good picture of the fill where the rails rode,
I walked across La.93.
I know, I forgot to sign it. There goes its value.
That's a picture of Fuselier Street. I found this cement curb
with "1934" on it. Any significance to the RR? Who knows.
I think it probably refers to a bridge that was there.
OK, we are back at ........
There are hidden treasures throughout Arnaudville. I need
to spend a day there. Here is an old building on W.RR Ave.
It's on the corner of Jaycees and W.RR. I think it's a "hall"
of some kind. Possibly a hotel? It had side by side front doors.
It was something. It won't be there long.
West RR Ave. meets La.347 as that highway heads for Leonville.
As best I can tell, it skirted the sewer pond just to the west of it
and did not go through it as pictured in the top map. If there are
two guesses, I split the difference. Otherwise, I could sit here forever.
West of the sewer pond? East of the sewer pond? West of......? East of......?
So I ran the damn thing through it. I enjoyed that.
Following the rails up 347, these shots were taken down
the few cuts into the lowlands which the rails ran.
There is a little coulee or stream in there. That might
have provided a higher ground on the natural levee or
a lot of fill was used. Or, the stream I'm seeing was
used to drain water away from the bed?
Looking from La.347 back to the grade.
You can see two of the black, not rusted at all, rails back in there.
Here, near Garland Road the rails turned away from La.347
Now the fun is starting to begin. Leonville had a SP Depot.
I pulled a cop stop on an old man riding his bicycle in town.
I asked if he knew anything about the railroad that came
through. He said he did and offered to lead me to the station.
That scene would have been funny and it would have lasted
a while. Just in time, some one pulled up to talk to him.
He told me that people used the train to go to Port Barre and
that there was a station there. I could have spent an afternoon
with this guy, us just riding around and talking about the
dense history of the place. I always look for him when I
go through there.
I'm not going to post any pictures of Leonville here. They are
throughout the website, already. I will show you the shots of
where the SP crossed Bayou Teche. This will be the first time
it will be on the east side of the bayou.I didn't have a map at
the time and my GPS didn't show the route. Here's pretty close.
Click the map to enlarge.
The Bayou Teche trestle was off of La.31, very near the city limits sign.
Notice the very old water pump by the bayou. I wonder?
Steam engines needed water? Port Barre was very close and
the depot was on Bayou Courtableu.
Looking to the other side:
Here's looking north across La.31:
The SP had another low land problem. I'm posting this map
to show the intermittent steams which the rails crossed.
The heavy blue course at the top is Bayou Courtableu at
Port Barre. The one branching off of it is Bayou Teche.
Both have natural levees. If water was coming from the
east, it would be trapped in that "corner" formed by the two bayous.
There was a flood which began at Torras in 1912.
That water made its way to the low area between
Port Barre and Leonville.
This is pretty good stuff. It is from the Railway Gazette, 1912.
Check the Torras ride for the New York Times account
of this flood. Torras was no more after that high water.
Next stop: Frisbee.
The area was indeed flat. It is as flat as a pancake. I've
looked out there for Frisbee.
I think there is actually something on that location but
it is way up on private property. It had to have been a
plantation stop. Port Barre is going to be intense.
Four railroads serviced the little town and they
gave me the book on it.
This afternoon I went back to Port Barre to follow a few leads in order to finish this, the last segment of tracing the extinct Southern Pacific branch tracks between Cade and Port Barre, Louisiana. I have used these old routes as tour guides. At first I saw them as fun because they were illusive and mystical. I've tried to include interesting stuff I see but following the rails has not been that fruitful. I just looked over the last section write, Arnaudville to Leonville. It seems I focused only on the railroad bed. It is time to give the railroad sleuthing up. No one is interested in it. Not even me.
I found that statement to be false (2012)
But, first, Port Barre:
The last time I was in town I was looking for the location of one depot I guessed had been there. I'd gotten that idea from something I'd read or seen. I stopped some old black woman on the street figuring she might remember a station. She called her grandson who was also pretty old, but neither could put their finger on it. I asked where the city hall was. They directed me to it and told me to hurry. I hurried. I came in the door and asked the lady at the window if there was anyone around that could tell me about the history of Port Barre. At best I hoped for an old white haired person to limp out and mumble a list of disconnected recollections. No, out came a very business like....., whoa, I have to tell you, and I'll try to be professional doing it. Out came this extremely "attractive" young lady, I'd say she was about six feet tall. She asked me what I was interested in. I managed to spit out, "railroads". She said, "Just a minute". I figured she'd gone to fetch Security to show me out. She returned, saying she was in a hurry to get out of there, but she had a book. The book she was holding was The History of Port Barre. She also said that there was only one. She showed me into a conference room and handed it over. Then she turned and came back in mysteriously interested in railroad history. She took the book from me and opened it up. As she flipped the first few pages I saw "RAILROADS" as she continued looking. I yelled, "I saw it". Cautiously, she handed the book back over to me and said I could copy the pages I wanted. She showed me to the machine. I offered to pay for the copies and she refused. She flew out of the office, me thanking her profusely as she left. Below is what she gave me and I'm giving you. Sorry, your source is not as "attractive" as mine.
I think I'll present it to you in the order in which I got it. This information was copied, rearranged, outlined, augmented and degraded by me. Basically, it's hers, the author's. It will be torn apart and repeated later. So, don't try to commit it to memory right now. You'll never finish this article.
"The History of PORT BARRE (1765-1950)" by Cheryl Bihm Myers.
In the early 1900’s, railroad right of ways were secured in the Port Barre area.
In December, 1905, the Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. purchased a right of way through the property of Valerian Langlois. It was 100 feet wide and 500 feet in distance on the west bank of Bayou Courtableau. It is now known as the “OG Track”.
I believe that was a mistake. What is locally called the "OG Track" is on the east side of the bayou. I did not see that name used on the west side though I did later find the bed and followed it west.
The following is pretty much a quote, "In June, 1906, J.O. LeBlanc sold a right of way through his property to the Opelousas, Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. The purchase price for this right of way was one dollar with the stipulation that the railway company locate, construct, and maintain a passenger and freight depot on part of his land. In the event the depot was not constructed, Mr. Leblanc would have the right to claim a compensation of fifty dollars per acre for the five and one tenth acres in question”.
Another stipulation of the sale was that within two years the railway company was to be instrumental in securing an industry or industries adjacent to the railroad employing 20 or more employees. Craighead Lumber was started in 1908.
June, 1906, Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Co secured right-of-ways through the property of Dr.J.P. Saizan and Mrs. David P. Saizan. It was on Mrs Saizan’s property that the LARGE TURNTABLE was constructed where the engine of the train was manually turned around as the tracks ended near Bayou Courtableau. This turntable and the depot were located along present day Railroad St. There was a service track that ran along the bayou for loading cotton from the gin and lumber from the saw mill.
Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad later evolved into the Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (the one we followed from Cade)
The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. purchased right of ways in April, 1906, from Mrs. D.P. Saizan. The agreement was that the railroad would maintain three crossings and construct a freight and passenger depot on this 5.17 acre tract of land. This depot eventually became known as the Frisco Depot.
The author says that no one can say for certain what Frisco stands for. She evidently did not have the internet at her fingertips like we do today. The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific RR Co. evolved into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.
Now my assumptions:
I've finally figured out how the St.Louis and San Francisco Railroad, commonly known as the "Frisco" in all the little communities it served, evolved into the Missouri Pacific. First, The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. was owned by the Frisco. The Frisco went into bankruptcy and the courts told the controllers it had to divest of its LA and TX holdings. Those holdings became the New Orleans and San Francisco, a part of The Gulf Coast Lines. The Missouri Pacific bought the Gulf Coast Lines, thus, old timers called the Missouri Pacific Stations, "The Frisco Station". The location of where the Port Barre Missouri Pacific station was on Frisco Street. Obviously, the author was a little weak on railroad history, like me.
Don't even try reading the Wiki explanation of the GCL.
UPDATE. I just read a good one and I'll share it later.
Here's more of her spiel:
In early 1909, the New Iberia, St. Martin & Northern RR Company purchased ROW’s through the lands of Mrs. D. F. Saizan. This railroad had to agree to construct crossing on First St., Robin St., Second St., and Saizan Ave. as well as construct a depot to be known as the Port Barre Depot. This depot was to be constructed on the same location as the present day Port Barre Fire Station.
Her mentioning those crossings was extremely helpful.
I don't know if the depot was built. I did a brief search for the fire station this afternoon but, frankly, I was worn out with Port Barre. I saw several people to ask and decided that they were bad candidates.
In 1909, the New Iberia, St.Martin & Northern RR Co. filed suit against Morgan’s La. and Tex. RR and Steamship Co. It seems that the New Iberia line had to cross over the Morgan line at a point south of the Frisco depot. The Morgan people were sabotaging the crossing. The suit charged the Morgan RR with “malice in their attempt to obstruct and impede construction of the New Iberia line. The courts found in favor of the New Iberia Line and the crossings were eventually completed. When looking at the map which shows all the railroads coming into Port Barre, and the number of times they cross each others, it is a wonder there were not more wrecks.
By January, 1910, all four railroads were in operation at Port Barre.
The author's conclusion:
"The OG remained in use until around 1951".
The T&P RR assume those rails in 1915 and the T&P were the final owners, I know that. Mike's dad ran that line. Again, she's a little off.
"The NI, St. M & Northern RR Co. abandoned its tracks in the early 30’s after the Stave mill closed.
That was the Missouri Pacific line coming up from Arnaudville and Pecaniere along La.741.
The Southern Pacific (Morgan’s La. & Tex. RR& Steam Co.) stopped all passenger and mail service in 1936. After that the train occasionally came during cotton season to load bales of cotton. All services were discontinued by 1940 and the tracks were removed".
The cross tracks of the SP and MP (NI&N RR) are out on La.741. I love this place. It is where the SP was found guilty of malice in their attempt to obstruct and impede construction of the New Iberia line. (Hanky Panky). It is marked as "Crossing A", where the purple and red lines cross. La.741 coming north from La.31 near Leonville, follows the MP grade (purple) north until it hits the cross tracks. Then the road follows the SP (red) on across US 190 and then up Railroad Ave, aka, La.741. Here are pictures from my two recent visits. It's quite a place.
It is amazing that the bed is so visible. On my last visit it was very visible as the farmer had cleaned the bed off on a half mile stretch northwest from NI&N RR/ SP cross tracks.
I was shooting north up the grade of the SP, which I think is actually the highway's bed. That's a state cop coming at me. I saw him slow down. I bet he thought I was beaming HIM.
Next is looking south on the Missouri Pacific ROW. That turn is where the road
starts following the MP bed.
If you drive down 741, the MP bed forms the west levee of the
crawfish farm pond on the left.
Next is looking north on the MP rails that went to the "Frisco Depot".
Then they went into town and met the Opelousas Gulf and North East RR's line
to Melville and Crowley.
The concrete block might have some rail significance.
How bout now? This picture was taken today. The farmer
has plans for the old bed. Is he going to use it for a road,
hopefully, or, is it to be plowed under? If so, my timing was
priceless. Another bridge to history will be gone.
My timing was priceless.
This is what I found on the ground, again, priceless. That
wood is probably 100 years old. It, of course, is what is left
of the railroad ties that were churned up by the grader or
whatever attachment he was using?
These are the last bits of evidence here.
Here's looking out to where there was probably a trestle. I'll
have to check the topographic map for a stream or lowland.
You can see the Port Barre water tower in the background.
Indeed there is an intermittent stream shown.
This evidence is now gone.
Here are a few more pieces of tie.
Moving north on the "All the Railroads" map, a point of interest would be the Frisco or CSNO&P depot. As I rode into Port Barre and onto Friso Street, I looked for old people. I found a really old one sitting in his pickup truck. I asked him where the depot had been and he motioned "down the street" and then said, "by the light", on US 190. That would have put it way off the present rails. Frisco Street curves toward the rails and I would think the apex of that curve would have been the depot, but maybe not? The fact that it is off the rails leads me to believe that a siding was provided for the depot.
Update: my 1907 pictures need to be added.
On the map you can see the 3 railroads, SP, MP and Colorado... The purple line is Frisco Street. I'll have to go back. I now see that Jacqueline Dr. might reach the wye where the MP met the CO. The train would have to join the CO to get to the station. The fact that the CO became the MP solved that problem. (all speculative). Also, see "Rayne St.? It will come into play later. Click the map, Al.
On the last page we covered the main east-west line, the The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. To icing the cake, here are her words:
"The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. purchased ROW’s in April, 1906 from Mrs. D.P. Saizan. The agreement was that the railroad would maintain three crossings and construct a freight and passenger depot on this 5.17 acre tract of land. This depot eventually became known as the Frisco Depot. The authors says that no one can say for certain what Frisco stands for. The Colorado Southern later changed its name to the Missouri Pacific RR Company".
Next, we'll look at the SP or Morgan's La. and Texas RR. Her words:
June, 1906, Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Co. secured right-of-ways through the property of Dr. J.P. Saizan and Mrs. David P. Saizan It was on Mrs Saizan’s property that the LARGE TURNTABLE was constructed where the engine of the train was manually turned around as the tracks ended near Bayou Courtableau. This turntable and the depot were located along present day Railroad St. There was a service track that ran along the bayou for loading cotton from the gin and lumber from the saw mill".
So, there was a cotton gin and saw mill probably along Railroad Street.
The fact that there was a turntable at where the SP rails ended at Bayou Courtableu brought a chuckle. I had previously said that there was a turntable at Simmesport. That fact was questioned by some, though the residents said it existed. The doubters said it was too expensive and unneeded. Evidently, the use of turntables was not that big a deal. Here's part of the historic drawing. Marked on it was, "Dark lines indicate the location of the Morgan's Louisiana&Texas Railroad turntable on Saizon land". Where I have "Bayou Courtableu" written, is where cargo could be transferred from boat to train. There appears to be a warehouse there, also.
Just past the pink house would be the location of the turntable.
The warehouse area would be on the left. The depot would
be southeast on Railroad St.
This is the overhead satellite shot. See the circle at the end
of Railroad St. Bingo. That was the turntable.
Here's the SP schedule. It is for train 605 and 606. I found this
Public Service Commission request for 1914.
This is a 1926 schedule.
Next are a few pictures taken around Bayou Courtableu in Port Barre. I'm not sure of the date on this bridge. It seems to be the same style as the US 190 bridge just east of Krotz Springs, which would make sense. That was built in 1940.
This is from the north side of the bayou. I need a shot of the
landing and warehouse area from the opposite bank.
A while back a reader, Tiny, sent this, "Back in the day, steamboats could chug up the Atchafalaya and then up to Port Barre. Believe it or not, the average depth is about 25 feet deep. Steamboats used to load/unload in P.B. right by the current bridge. That giant oak tree across from the grocery store was there then (my great grandpa used to tell me). There is a large branch on the tree with a big dip in it caused by countless 19th century children swinging on the swing they had on the tree".
Now, I know that steam boats were used into the 1900's. I don't know when Bayou Courtableu was cut off from the Atchafalaya. I would guess that it would have been after the great flood of 1927 when the Corps of Engineers started re-shaping the world as we know it. North of town, on into Washington, the bayou is no small waterway. We'll see that later.
Next, I'll shift us over to the west side of town where the New Iberia RR, after the cross track feud with the Southern Pacific was settled, came into town.
In early 1909, the New Iberia, St. Martin & Northern RR Company purchased ROW’s through the lands of Mrs. D. F. Saizan. This railroad had to agree to construct crossing on First St., Robin St., Second St., and Saizan Ave. as well as construct a depot to be known as the Port Barre Depot. This depot was to be constructed on the same location as the present day Port Barre Fire Station.
I constructed a map, comparing it to the one from the book, and marked each required crossing.
Starting from the bottom, the yellow line is the New Iberia RR. I would think the depot was on Saizon Ave., La.103, where the un-found fire station is. Moving north, it crossed Second, Robin, and First Sts. It next crossed the young Bayou Teche. The bayou starts just to the north and is a distributary of the Courtableu. It next ran north, crossing Rayne Road and merged with the OG, which is the next discussion. Click the map if it is not large enough.
The Opelousas and Gulf straddled the north part of Port Barre. It crossed the big Courtableu on what must have been a swing bridge. This is the 1906 plat. I can read this on the plat: "Plat showing right of way of the Opelousas, Gulf and NE Ry. Co. through land of John O. LeBlanc. May 12, 1906. So could the author.
The books description:
"December, 1905 The Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. purchased a right of way through the property of Valerian Langlois. It was 100 feet wide and 500 feet in distance on the west bank of Bayou Courtableau. It is now known as the “OG Track”.
I saw no road labeled OG Track on the west side of the bayou. That road is on the east side.
In June, 1906, J.O. LeBlanc sold a right of way through his property to the Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. The purchase price for this ROW was one dollar with the stipulation that the railway company locate, construct, and maintain a passenger and freight depot on part of his land. In the even the depot was not constructed, Mr. Leblanc would have the right to “claim a compensation of fifty dollars per acre for the five and one tenth acres in question”.
Another stipulation of the sale was that within two years the
railway company was to be instrumental in securing an
industry or industries adjacent to the railroad employing
20 or more employees. Craighead Lumber was started in 1908".
Indeed a fine depot was built. Notice the OG boxcar behind the depot.
This road sign is on La.103 heading out of town. To the east
of 103, in a broad median, is where the depot was.
A while back I followed the OG to where it crossed Bayou Courtableu.
There was a large fill before the bridge.
I took a shot out into the water, but, it was late afternoon and the sun
was too much. Later, I crossed over the bayou and took these shots from Rayne Road.
Climbing back up the bank:
This is some new road which I suspect sits atop the old OG
bed west. I followed it to its end where it dropped off into some lowland.
Here'an OG Schedule, Click it to enlarge:
I've traced the whole line starting with the article "Side Tracks"
and ending with the "Swampers" ride. The OG had to try hard
to get to Melville. I suspect Crowley was a little easier.
Back on the north side of the Courtableu, near the school,
is this old bank. I did't want to forget to show it, but almost did.
So, there you go, the picture in 1910.I'll repeat her conclusion.
"The OG remained in use until around 1951. [The T&P RR assumed those rails before 1951, I do believe.] The NI, St. M & Northern RR Co. abandoned its tracks in the early 30’s after the Stave mill closed. The Southern Pacific (M’s La. & Tex. RR& Steam) stopped all passenger and mail service in 1936. After that the train occasionally came during cotton season to load bales of cotton. All services were discontinued by 1940 and the tracks were removed".
Then, when looking at these seemingly shallow new pictures of commonplace rail settings, you see something. Something old and probably important to the history of the community. It happened in the Port Barre yard.
I have collected other files on places the Southern Pacific passed between Cade and Port Barre. I don't want to go back to the various pages and add them in. That would be too much work at this point. All of that will be on the next page, if interested.
As I progressed up the Teche Valley from Cade to Port Barre, following the route of the Southern Pacific branch line, I missed stuff. I'm sure I missed a lot. This page has a few pictures and excerpts that might add to the ride.
After leaving Breaux Bridge, I made the point that the Missouri Pacific had visited Cecelia and the Southern Pacific had not. I had also mentioned that Cecelia was called Grand Point until about 1940. This is from a tour book done by the Federal Writer's Project in the Great Depression.
Next is from the same source. It starts IN Breaux Bridge and follows La.31 south. The highway was numbered "25" back then. I found it when I was researching the area north of Breaux Bridge, called DeClouet. I think it was named for this DeClouet.
And, I found the exact address of the St.Martinville depot.
On the way up to Port Barre this last time, I detoured down Harold
Stutes Road which lies in the the peninsula called Grand Point. I found the SP route.
And, I really tried to get to Frisbee.