Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Neighbors--1860 in St. John Parish by J. W. Dorr, continued

                                                           The Parish Seat

     Edgard Post-office, forty-two miles above New Orleans, one of the two post-offices of the parish of St. John---Bonnet Carre, on the left bank, five miles below, being the other. That settlement is about the size of this. Here are some ninety or a hundred buildings, along the levee road, two or three pretty nice stores, the parish buildings, well built of brick, a neat Catholic church, and a graveyard of considerable extant and well filled with its silent inhabitants. Some of the monuments are fine. The mail to and from the post-office are carried three times a week.
     There are two newspapers published in the parish, "La Jeunne Amerique", at Bonnet Carre, and "La Meschacebe", at this place. There are eight public schools in the parish, four on each bank, and eight school districts. The mill tax for the support of schools amounts to nearly $4500, and the number of educable children is nearly seven hundred. The  whole tax paid by the parish into the coffers of the State is about $15,000, and the parish tax is between five and six thousand dollars.
     The total value of property in the parish is returned at about $4,500,000, half of which is the value of slaves, of whom there are over 4000 to about three thousand whites. The mercantile interest in this parish is of much greater importance than in St. Charles, numerous stores being scattered along the levee road at comparatively brief intervals. Wherever the middling classes are a considerable proportion of the population, there the country stores are numerous; where the wealthy planters predominate, they are scarce, for everything that the planter does not raise on his estate he purchases in the city, and there the planters' ladies go to do their shopping.

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