Step off the beaten path, and re-enter the world of 19th century Creole Louisiana in New Roads, Louisiana, where relaxation is the rule, and history and tradition are abundant.
The first settlement in New Roads can be traced back to 1822. A six-block settlement was established at the terminus of a “new road” linking the False River & Mississippi River settlements.
New Roads’ success was guaranteed in 1847 when it was named governmental seat of Pointe Coupee Parish. At the turn of the century, New Roads became a resort community as seasonal tourists began making the pilgrimage to enjoy the tranquil waters of False River.
Le Poste de Pointe Coupée (“The Pointe Coupee Post”) is one of the oldest communities in the Mississippi Valley. The post was founded in the 1720s by settlers from France. The post was located upstream from the point crossed by the explorers, immediately above but not circled by False River. The name was linked to the area along the Mississippi northeast of what is now New Roads. The post was settled by French coming from France and French Creoles as well as Africans coming from the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique and Santo Domingo, the west part of Hispaniola -Saint Domingue in French), later by French coming from Paris (like the family Provost) via Fort de Chartres, Illinois.
In 1768-1769, fifteen French families (among others, the families Provost and Nezat, Pierre Nezat coming from Layrac, France) left the Pointe Coupee Post and settled in the Attakapas Post (today St Martinville, LA). The post was later settled by African-Americans, Anglo-Saxons and Italians.
About 1776, a Chemin Neuf, French for “New Road”, was built connecting the Mississippi River with False River, a 22-mile (35 km) long oxbow lake and formerly the main channel of the Mississippi. The post became New Roads. In 1822, streets were opened and lots created at the False River terminus of the new road. Since its founding, New Roads has been the hub of an agricultural community, focused on the production of sugar cane, cotton, pecans and other crops. Today, the economy is enhanced by industries, retail establishments, restaurants and lodging enterprises, five banks and modern health care and nursing facilities.
On January 31, 1865, toward the end of the American Civil War, five squadrons of Union cavalry marched into New Roads in a blinding rainstorm. Here five Confederate officers under the command of Colonel John S. Scott were discovered hiding in closets, under houses, and in a hole. Scott, who operated around Morganza, obtained many of his supplies from the Union forces in control of Baton Rouge, who exchanged food, clothing, and other necessities for cotton smuggled by Scott’s men.