This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bayou Chene Reunion

Each year I have the privilege to receive an invitation to attend the Bayou Chene reunion. Even though I’m not part of the family tree that is the cause of the reunion, I am tolerated because in a small way I am working to chronicle the lives of some of those people. The people I mean are the Carlines and Couvilliers and Kellys and Sanders’s, and by various degrees of kinship, many other surnames.

The story of the Bayou Chene community is a well-known one to those with connections to the Atchafalaya Basin, and doesn’t need a detailed description here. Suffice it to say that there were many reasons why people ended up in a place that was only reachable by boat. There were farmers in the early days, when the logjam on the Atchafalaya River kept the annual water cycle to a minimum – there was a good bit of dry land in the Basin then. When more water began to come into the Basin, commercial fishermen added their energies to Bayou Chene. There were people associated with the timber industry, and some that were there just to take advantage of the money to be made in any community. There were saloons, and grocery stores (kind of). There was a school, and a cemetery. The saloon doubled as the funeral home when disputes within its walls became fatalities. You could drink at the bar at night and see someone you drank with laid out on that same bar the next day, so they say. There was never a formal government in that community, the St. Martin Parish sheriff took care of what official law was needed. And the sheriff was a long boat ride away most of the time. With this in mind, you often hear that Bayou Chene was a place of refuge for any number of people hiding from something, or someone, on the outside of the swamp. I have seen no documentation for this, but it is an easy thing to believe, true or not. And when the sheriff showed up, you can imagine a certain loyalty within the group of people who lived in that community, even with the bad blood between some that must have existed – human nature being what it is. It might have been the “I can kick my dog any time I want to, but don’t you dare kick my dog” thing. At any rate, the people who lived along the bayous at Bayou Chene had to be a tough people with the willingness to flourish in a frontier situation. And not only did they flourish, but the bond that was created between the families still exists all these years after the final dissolution of the community. It shows itself to be alive and well each year at the reunion I went to today. This gathering celebrates a way of life more than a common ancestry, and it celebrates something not many of us have today – a sense of community.

I was struck by several things today. What impressed me the most was seeing the age groups all mixed together; some very mature people nearing 90 were sharing conversations with two and three (and maybe four) generations that were less in years. Maybe the following was the most notable, though. From this group of very diverse people living on Bayou Chene, these very close-to-the-land-and water people, a degree of sophistication has risen in succeeding generations that might not have been predictable. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

The man in the white shirt next to Edward (on the right) is Bob Vuillemont. He is the son of a one-time resident of Bayou Chene, Dew Robert Vuillemont ,who eventually became one of the fish boat operators in the Basin. This man (and son Bob) ran the boat from Morgan City far up the Atchafalaya Basin twice a week to buy fish from commercial fishermen and sell them groceries and other goods they might require, like shotgun shells and bolts of cloth. That was in the middle 1940’s. Now here is his son Bob in Morgan City today talking to me about the oil business at a world class level (not that I can understand it at that level). This man went to SLI in Lafayette (remember?) and got a degree in petroleum engineering. From that base he traveled over much of the world as a consultant to the oil industry. Quite a change from life on the bayou bank in Bayou Chene. And to add further interest, his son adopted a European lifestyle, and lives in Paris with his French wife. So, Bayou Chene to Paris, a long road, and a short one in some ways.

Another. While I was waiting in line to get my serving of jambalaya and white beans, I overheard the man behind me discussing his profession with the man behind him. The first man was telling the second one a lot of detailed information about his part in getting astronauts ready to fly in space, and his part in the activities aboard the shuttle. I’m listening and thinking “this started in Bayou Chene”? And it did.

Then, sitting at the table eating the jambalaya, I overheard (it sounds like I spent the whole day eavesdropping) another man being described as a top flight mechanic who works on the big commercial jets we will be flying on next week.

I’ll bet you could repeat this kind of observation 50 or more times if you knew this group of people really well. My point is, if you take a geographically isolated group of people of this genetic makeup and forcibly disperse them, they will probably find a way to flourish in the new environment. These people did.

I went to the event with Edward and Lena Mae Couvillier, my old friends from Myette Point. We met the Carl Carlines at the pavilion in Lake End Park. On the way there we stopped at the Anlsum brothers’ cypress wood location and they were slicing logs to make boards. Slicing is the right word. The big horizontal bandsaw would cut a board off of the squared-off log just as smoothly as it can be done. I asked them what was to be done with the boards they were selling from this log and they said the wood was being purchased for a fence. Really. Truly, to each his own.

The river is at 2.1 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling to 1.1 by Wednesday. That is LOW, but it won’t stay there. The Ohio and Mississippi are both rising pretty much all the way up and we’ll get a little of that water.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Karen said...

I was excited to find this blog by searching around on the internet. I am descended from the Carlins and the Larsons who lived on Bayou Chene. I remember my grandpa Carlin's eyes lighting up when he talked about "those days!" My grandmother was the daughter of Carl Larson who they referred to as "Mr. Charlie." Apparently he owned one of those grocery store/saloons! Of course, my grandmother made us all think her dad was a saint! From the Carlins and the Larsons, my family branched out among the Mendozas, Verrets, Cases, Currys, Stockstills and many others. I hope to be able to attend one of those Bayou Chene reunions in the very near future. Thanks for posting your experience at one of the reunions....such a joy to read. They certainly were an interesting group of people.

June 04, 2007 6:28 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hi Karen. In my opinion you are lucky to be descended from such sturdy stock as the Bayou Chene people. I have tapes of stories about many of the people you mention. Perhaps one day we can share some of that. Thanks for the comment and the kind words. Jim

June 04, 2007 9:22 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I'm descended from George and Elizabeth Lively, I'm the grandson of their son John E. Lively. I'm interested any ANY information regarding them.


July 11, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Sorry Rob, i don't know that family. Good luck with your search. Jim

July 14, 2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

hi karen and jim, my name is nathan carline, missed being born on bayou chene by about a year or so but my dad eveart carline was born and raised there and his father dennis , not sure which dennis or denis he was because i see a lot in the carline family. sure would like to hear from one of you guys, or both, i'm in church point,louisiana and my email is cajunman592003@yahoo.com phone # 337-684-8269

August 05, 2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi Jim, I have exhausted my phone lines in the last three days trying to find someone who was at the Bayou Chene reunion this year. Did you go and do you plan to put an entry here for us all to enjoy? I heard that someone had a Larson book for sale and I'm trying desperately to find out who it is so that I can buy one for myself. Can you give me any leads? Thanks so much and I love to visit your site over and over....Keep up the good work!

November 30, 2007 8:11 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Karen, i would have responded to you privately but i don't have your email address. Yes, i did go this year. Spent a lot of time talking to a Mr. J.C. Carlin, who also had "Mr. Charlie" Larson as a grandather. I regret i didn't get an address for them. But, i also met Stella Carline Tanoos, who has a massive Carline genealogy. I believe you could get contact information from her if you want it. I am reluctant to post contact informtion for other people online, so if you would email me at jim337@centurytel.net i would be happy to forward it to you. Thanks for the kind words. Jim

December 02, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger LizT said...

Wow! I had no idea there was an annual reunion of folks from Bayou Chene! When does this take place? (We drive thru Morgan City alot in route to my Aunt's in Thibodaux.)

My Grandmother, Mary Jane Babers (also, called Beavers, Bavers, etc.) was born at Bayou Chene in 1901, to Charles Babers and Elizadie Girouard. His Sister Mary became a DeLord, Married to Oscar. My Great-Grandfather was Samuel Babers, who was supposedly Dutch,(often referred to as "Black Dutch"). He met and married Mary Louisiane Moore, at Bayou Chene. We have no record of their burial location and thought maybe the Methodist church records would reveal the details since they were members. Does anyone know if the records were relocated? and if so where? Any information about these family members would be greatly appreciated.

January 16, 2008 11:35 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hi Liz. I'm trying to find a contact person for you for the reunion information. I have no way of contacting you other than comments to this blog. Let me know if that is satisfactory, and if you still want some contact information. Thanks for the comment, and good luck on finding your connections to the past. Jim

January 17, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Hi, My name is Keith Smith, son of Elliott S. Smith, Sr., son of Nathan and Leah Carline from Bayou Chene. My dad used to pick moss as a kid in Bayou Chene. I went to the Bayou Chene reunion for the first time in 2007. Boy I missed out on alot in the previous yrs. There are so many wonderful people at the reunion and relatives to meet who I have never met before. I am looking for someone that may have a picture of my dad's mother. She passed when he was 3yr,2weeks old. It would mean the world to me if I could get a picture of here to give to dad because he doesn't know/remember what she looked like. You think any of you folks can help us. Dad is 83 yrs old now and I think this would be great disclosure for him. Our address is E.S. Smith, Sr. 207 Marion Dr. Houma, La. 70360 Phone 985-873-7083 My cell # is 985-381-6990 Thanks!!!!!

March 02, 2008 4:30 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Keith, As mentioned in a previous comment, the person currently holding the Carline genealogy book is Stella Carline Tanoos.She is very helpful and, if possible, would recommend who might have a picture of your relative. If you want to get in touch with her, let me know and I'll give you a phone number and/or an email address. Hope this works out for you. Jim

March 03, 2008 8:46 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi again Jim!
I have been contacting more "cousins" and am in constant contact with Stella Tanoos. She took the information started by my grandfather, John Ira Carlin, and my uncle, J. C. Carlin, and my brother Randy Clark and has documented it all into a Family Tree program. She is doing a fantastic job and I've been sending her tons of information along with pictures. I am posting to see if 'Liz' will contact me. I have a picture with my grandfather and one of is brothers and some cousins in it that was taken in 1918 and there is a DeLord in it. To say it could be Oscar DeLord, I don't know. But, I also have a link to a Baber tree she may be interested in. I hope you received the information I personally sent to you about my uncle J. C. Carlin that you met at the last reunion. Those Carlin's are a hearty bunch. My uncle is 85 and never stops going. He will be down to visit again next week. Drives himself!
Jim do you plan to do a write-up on here on this past years Bayou Chene reunion? Will so look forward to it. I certainly plan to make the next one.
I won't post my email address on here but I believe you have it and you can pass it on to "Liz."

March 24, 2008 2:40 PM  
Blogger jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 24, 2008 9:23 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi again Jim,
I did not get Liz' email address off of the post and it has been deleted. Could you email me directly or put it back up just for tonight? Thanks.

March 27, 2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger chet said...

Hi Jim,
Like Karen I am interested in attending a Bayou Chene Reunion this year. My great, great grandfather, Elie Leo Landry married Alice A. Verret on 5 Nov,1867, according to my aunt's family tree. I once saw the Bayou Chene homestead 30 years ago with my uncle, John Arthur Forster, son of Alida Eunice Landry and William A. Foster. It was almost entirely silt covered at that time with just the roof ridge sticking out. Please let me know if there will be a reunion this year

April 16, 2008 8:31 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Chet, the reunion is held the third Saturday of September. This year it will be on the 20th. The site is Lake End Park in Morgan City. I'm sure the folks there would be glad to see you. Good luck, Jim

April 16, 2008 10:02 PM  
Blogger Eileen Mechana said...

My grandmother was Francis M. Babers, dau. of Samuel Babers & M. Lousiana Moore of Bayou Chene. I want to attend the Bayou Chene reunion Sept. 20, 2008. Who may I contact for more information? Thanks, Eileen Mechana

June 18, 2008 3:29 PM  
Blogger Eileen Mechana said...

When I ask for more information on the Bayou Chene reunion, I failed to leave my email which is zelphaom62@cox.net. Thanks

June 20, 2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Raymond said...

My Grandmother was Odelia Henry or Henri. My Father told me she was from Bayou Chene. I have done much research back can't find any record of her. He told me she died when he was 3 years old, he was born in 1915. Are you aware of any families there by that name?

August 11, 2008 6:55 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Michael, there are some folks who might help you but I need your email address to send you their's. If you want to, send it to my edress at jim337@centurytel.net.
Thanks, Jim

August 14, 2008 10:48 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

My father, Bob Vuillemont, pictured in the column above, passed away suddenly this April. I remember as young man going camping with Dad and Grandpa Vuillemont in the Basin. Their camp was located right off Keel Boat Pass not far from Grand Lake. Dad would take me on the school route he would ride by boat to school every day. A great history of river people that were determined to make a better life for themselves and their families.

September 03, 2008 4:50 PM  
Blogger chet said...

Looks like Hurricane Gustav really hit the Atchafalaya basin and Morgan City head on this week. Any idea if the reunion is still going to happen? Seems like it would be quite a burden to get everything back online in 2 weeks.

September 03, 2008 9:49 PM  
Blogger Chiquita said...

I am interested in getting a copy of the family tree that was framed on the table...it was beautiful...
My husband's mother was from Bayou Chene', her name is Betty Landry, her parents were Henrietta & Lucien or Louis Landry they were from Bayou Chene...If anyone know any information ont his family I would really appreciate any information you can give me.
my email address: mawcolek@aol.com

Thanks, Chiquita

November 07, 2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Sorry, but I didn't get to attend this year's reunion so I'm not familiar with the tree you mention. Perhaps others will read your comment and respond. Best, Jim

November 08, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

I am a definate relative . my dad was Alonzo Landry. I remember many pics of Arthur and Ann Forester, and visits to New Iberia where i grew up. My brother, Ted landry attend The Bayou Chene reunion often and I hope to go this year.

August 28, 2009 12:20 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hello Bernadette:

Hope you can attend. I plan to be there and look forward to meeting you if it turns out to be possible. Be sure to wear your name tag, and I will too.

Thanks, Jim

August 28, 2009 12:41 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...


My name is Kathleen Mocklin and I work for the Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Every year we hold a Swamper's Reunion where people who still or used to make a lving in the waterways of Louisiana come together and share their stories. Many of the people who attend are from or descended from the Bayou Chene family.

We would like to cordially invite you, any guests you would like to bring, and anyone who follows this blog to the annual Swamper's Reunion on Saturday March 6 from 10 a.m. to Noon. The reunion will be held inside the Lockhouse in Plaquemine, LA.

If you have any questions my number is (225) 687-7158 and website is www.plaqlock.wordpress.com. Hope to see ya!


January 30, 2010 10:00 AM  
Blogger Hazel Horton Monceaux said...

My name is Hazel Horton Monceaux. my father Andrew Earl Horton was born in Bayou Chene in March of 1910. His parents were Lee Andrew Horton and Elvine Bellot (Belliot, Billiot). Grandparents were Francis Ophelia Avet, Prosper Bellot (Belliot, Billiot) Louise Muszer and John W. Horton. If anyone has any information on my family please contact me @hhpendarvis@cox.net

April 03, 2010 6:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm a descendant of the Larson family and upon the death of my aunt have come into possession of many photographs from generations of family on Bayou Chene. I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them. Some were from my grandmother, a Verrett, before she married. I would like to make sure the photos end up somewhere that people can see them. There are no children on my branch of the family tree and I don't want this history to be lost. Any suggestions?

September 09, 2010 8:45 AM  
Blogger chet said...

Jennifer, I forwarded your blog to my sister, Margaret Sharon Lusk Davis. She is keeping the family history now and has many pictures. Yes we have many Verrets and Landrys in our family tree. Look her up on Face book and the Bayou Chene Group for photos, Chet.

September 09, 2010 3:24 PM  
Blogger Taureau said...

I didn't make the reunion in Morgan City on September 20, 2010, however, I do plan on making some of the reunions in October 2010. Where is a good place for me to talk and visit with some of the former residents of Bayou Chene?

September 21, 2010 12:28 AM  
Blogger jpwade said...

view Bayou Chene in google maps......

open http://googlemaps.com and in the search box paste......

http://www.czmartin.com/jpw/cajun/bayou_chene22.kmz ......

in the map window upper right you can turn on satellite images, ...... to the left of the map window you can uncheck land use, topographic, aerial,layers...... images were geo-referenced in ArcMap GIS to public land survey section 34

the usgs topographic, 1935 aerial, is from the pdf document for download at: ...... http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/prj/hist_arch/bayou_chene/bayou_chene.htm ...... regards, jpwade, http://www.czmartin.com/jpw

November 01, 2011 7:17 AM  
Blogger irshkjun said...

Hi Karen and Jim,
I just stumbled upon this by researching about Bayou Chene. I was told a month ago that the house I own was floated down the Bayou Teche from Bayou Chene. I was told that this house was the Post Office and I bought it from Mrs. Thelma Case before she passed away.
Could this be a true version of this story? I was told this by a friend of George Case's. He said he and George went boat riding and george showed him where the house,(post-office), was moved from.
Any information you may have on this would be greatly appreciated.
My cell # 678-938-0324
My name: Myrna Romero
email- irshkjun@bellsouth.net Thanks,

November 17, 2011 8:17 PM  
Blogger Pamela Johnson said...

I am a decendent of Numa A Verret Sr. My grandmother was the daughter, Elizabeth Pearl Verret Hanks. We have some heir property in the Basin, and would love to come to the reunion and see if I could find some family. I would also love to get in touch with someone that could take me to see some of the property. I know most is marshland, but some land.
Would someone let me know when, where and what I need to do to attend the Bayou Chene Reunion. Thanks,
Pamela Hanks Johnson

June 13, 2012 5:09 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hello Pamela"
Please email me at jim337@centurytel.net so that can get your email address and answer you. Thanks, Jim

June 13, 2012 9:04 PM  
Blogger Sue Garrett said...

I'm a descendant of the Piserelle (Pissarello, Pasalella, Piscrella, family. I believe my family are from the Bayou Chene area. My great grandfather was Achille Pissarello (1852), my grandfather was Sebastian (1889) and father was Vincent (1914). Would love to learn more about the area and the families from there. Anyone that can share information about my family can reach me at s.garrett1432@yahoo.com thank you so much!

April 05, 2013 9:51 PM  
Blogger Kstar said...

My 2great grandfather was born in Bayou Chene in Sep 1880. Looking for information on any Dardar families.

May 11, 2013 8:54 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Kstar: The only Dardar people I know of belong in the Baldwin/Charenton area and are associated with the Native Americans there, i think. I could be wrong but that's the best i can do.

May 11, 2013 10:52 AM  
Blogger Pamela Johnson said...

Jim in Bayou Chene, on the Numa Verret property there is a Large white cross, at the edge. I ask Bob Zcarkin about this and he said he thought it was from a man that had drowned and thought he had been from New Iberia. Written on the cross was "SAMBOS". That's all I could make out. Do you know anything about this cross!

May 11, 2013 12:00 PM  
Blogger Pamela Johnson said...

That was Bob Carlin that I asked about the cross.

May 11, 2013 12:01 PM  
Blogger Kstar said...

Thanks Jim. From what's have been told he was very dark skinned. I knew his wife was half Indian but I am lost on him. They did marry in Charenton in 1904 but settled in Morgan City. His mom was according to the bible Zelia Marcotte. can't find her either.

May 11, 2013 10:48 PM  
Blogger jim said...

There is a Marcotte family in Charenton.

May 12, 2013 9:05 PM  
Blogger English said...

Hello. My name is Ellen Bodin Bayless. I am the granddaughter of Nellie Rae Carlin Bodin. My grandmother was the daughter of John Ira Carlin. My grandmother died when I was in elementary school. I do not know much about her or her family other than her father was married to two sisters and had 5 children. I am interested in finding out about my grandmother because my father is terminally ill. He handed me some papers with maps of the family property that he is leaving to me. He doesn't know anything at all and I a in need of any information. The Stockstills and the Verrets are on my maps along with Nellie's father and grandfather. Please help if you can.

December 29, 2013 1:22 PM  
Blogger English said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 29, 2013 1:23 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hi. Please email me at jim337@centurytel.net and i will send you a name and address. Good luck.

December 31, 2013 2:23 PM  
Blogger Marlene Verret said...

Hi...I'm a descendant of the Verret's Rodriguez's and Mendoza's. Would you have any information on them. I found this blog today and was so excited to see some of the posts here could be from my relatives. Thanks so much for posting.

March 03, 2014 11:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Marlene, please email me at jim337@centurytel.net and i will send you the contact information for someone who might be able to help you.

March 12, 2014 8:51 PM  
Blogger Susan Butchko said...

hi I am Su Butchko descended from Urbain, Dennis, Mose Peter and Alice Carlin. If anyone has any pictures of my family I would appreciate it as I have spent many hours researching with no luck. I love the Bayou Chene stories and history. Thanks to everyone for their information. happy I stumbled across this site.

December 18, 2014 10:51 AM  
Blogger Shonda said...

My Pawpaw was Hervin Acton "Mutt" Carlin. His dad was Frank Edward "Red" Carlin, who was the son of Thomas Evis Carlin, the grandson of Urbain Carlin. My older brother and I would love to attend the reunion and learn more about our people. I live in Sulphur so I would have no problem driving the Bayou Chene.

June 28, 2015 2:12 AM  
Blogger ELLEN BAYLESS said...

Hi Shonda! We are related.
Red Carlin was my great grandpa!

You can email me at


June 28, 2015 10:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah LeDoux Collins said...


I am new to family research, but I am the third great-granddaughter of Thomas Evis Carlin. I would love to have any information about my family when they were in the Bayou Chene area. Our family is married into the Calcasieu Parish Vincents and LeDouxs so we really have lost connection with any of the Carlin side!

My great, great grandfather was George Raleigh Carlin and his son was my Paw Paw "Bill" Henry Wilbert Carlin of Sulphur, Louisiana.

Thank you for this blog, it is so very nice to hear stories of the area! I want my children to know where they came from! :)

~Sarah Ledoux Collins

August 19, 2015 1:27 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Hi. For information on the Carlin family you can email Stella Carline Tanoos at STanoos@aol.com. She has a huge collection of genealogy for that family. Good luck. You might come to the next Bayou Chene Reunion to he held Sept. 19 at Lake End Park in Morgan City, Louisiana. I'm sure you will meet many people of interest to you. Good luck.

August 23, 2015 5:38 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

My grandfather's sister, Gladys Calhoon Case wrote a book about this area of Louisiana. I have become curious recently to learn more about my ancestors. My birth name was Melanie Joan Calhoon - Daughter of Edward Clair Calhoon and Joan Young. Thanks for posting this. Mel Hofmann, Berkeley, CA

July 28, 2017 10:45 AM  

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