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Any Traces Of Frenchtown Left?


VicMan

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http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online...s/FF/hrfvg.html

In the 1920's a group of Creole Blacks of French and Spanish Louisianan heritage founded "Frenchtown."

Yet I heard the neighborhood gradually merged into the Fifth Ward.

So... are there any traces of Frenchtown left?

That is interesting. This is the first I am hearing of this.

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http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online...s/FF/hrfvg.html

In the 1920's a group of Creole Blacks of French and Spanish Louisianan heritage founded "Frenchtown."

Yet I heard the neighborhood gradually merged into the Fifth Ward.

So... are there any traces of Frenchtown left?

You got me wondering where exactly this is? I glossed through both links but hear or

missed no mention of streets. Here is an excerpt that mentions the homes built, which strikes a cord with me because I grew up next to Englewood Freight yards until about 8 years of age. Here is the part that caught my attention:

Today, many of the homes that are still standing were built with lumber from boxcars retired from Southern Pacific Railroad's Englewood Yard, where the majority of Creole men worked. "We used to joke that you couldn't get a job at the rail yard unless you were a Frenchman," longtime Frenchtown resident Catherine Trahan said.

This sort of makes sense because we had friends in the area that still speak French with the accent and broken English. One guy owned a big salvage/car lot way at the end of Wallisville/Liberty Road. Or as people call it "The Land that Time Forgot" :)

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The Handbook of Texas article mentions that Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church is the cultural center of Frenchtown.

You got me wondering where exactly this is? I glossed through both links but hear or

missed no mention of streets. Here is an excerpt that mentions the homes built, which strikes a cord with me because I grew up next to Englewood Freight yards until about 8 years of age. Here is the part that caught my attention:

Today, many of the homes that are still standing were built with lumber from boxcars retired from Southern Pacific Railroad's Englewood Yard, where the majority of Creole men worked. "We used to joke that you couldn't get a job at the rail yard unless you were a Frenchman," longtime Frenchtown resident Catherine Trahan said.

This sort of makes sense because we had friends in the area that still speak French with the accent and broken English. One guy owned a big salvage/car lot way at the end of Wallisville/Liberty Road. Or as people call it "The Land that Time Forgot" :)

Edited by VicMan
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The Handbook of Texas article mentions that Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church is the cultural center of Frenchtown.

There is more information on the website for Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church.

For general information on cultural / historical life of Houston, I have found the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston website and other parish websites as nice resources.

It amazes me how many hidden architectural jewels there are around town (for ex. the chapel at Villa de Matel and the campus of St. Mary's Seminary).

edit: Villa de Matel topic continued here.

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  • 3 months later...
You got me wondering where exactly this is? I glossed through both links but hear or

missed no mention of streets. Here is an excerpt that mentions the homes built, which strikes a cord with me because I grew up next to Englewood Freight yards until about 8 years of age. Here is the part that caught my attention:

Looks like you may want to start on Sumpter Street at the Catholic Church.

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  • 2 years later...

I went to Frenchtown for the first time today. Had to attend the funeral of an old classmate at Mother of Mercy on Sumpter. There were a lot of people there of Creole, or "Frenchmen" heritage there at the funeral. I don't know how many reside in the area now.

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not many.....most came from my mom's hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana and moved further down the freeway to Pleasantville off I-10 and market....5th ward is ripe for development

the kids of those folks now live everywhere else towards the beltway in humble, mo. city, etc.

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not many.....most came from my mom's hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana and moved further down the freeway to Pleasantville off I-10 and market....5th ward is ripe for development

the kids of those folks now live everywhere else towards the beltway in humble, mo. city, etc.

Yeah, Opelousas was one of the places the Priest mentioned when he spoke of the original inhabitants of the area.

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A great deal of Frenchtown was destroyed when I-59 was being built, as this front-page article from the Informer (January 12, 1952) details. This included The Creole Club at 3101 Jerrell, which may have been the birthplace of zydeco music. Just one of the hundreds of Houston landmarks bulldozed, forgotten, and written out of history.

informerjan1252frenchto.jpg

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Here is the complete text of the Marie Phelps article.

Visit to Frenchtown

by Marie Lee Phelps

(Houston Post, 22 May 1955)

"Comment ca va?"

It was a soft voice from the Bayou Teche country of Louisiana.

"Oh! Pliz scuse. How you?" Black eyes rolled in mischievous welcome. "You come into my house?"

I stood on Deschaumes Street, or was it Delia, Adalia, or Lelia? Or was I in Houston at all? The air was heavy and sweet with a tropical abundance of oleanders, cape jasmines, vines. The sumptuous smell of creole gumbo sifted lazily out of a kitchen window.

Was I really only a stone's throw from that roaring artery of the city -- Jensen Drive? You're farther than that, sister. You're as far away from Jensen Drive as the Evangeline country is from Houston. You're in Frenchtown.

This fascinating community, the least known facet of Houston's multiple personality, has been in existence near Liberty Road on the northeast side of the city since 1922. It is about four blocks square. The heart of the settlement may be said to lie between streets with the musical names Lelia and Roland.

Here in an atmosphere as foreign as French pie and rub bo'd (sic) music live about 500 people of French and Spanish descent. They come from Saint Martinsville, Lafayette, LeBeau, Louisiana. They call themselves creoles. Most of them have very fair skin, lustrous, expressive eyes, beautiful black hair. I was struck by the patrician features of those I met, the long nose, the thin, sensitive lips.

What brought these people from the Bayou Teche country to Houston, where they have stuck together thick as a family clan, yet ever apart from the city? Father Cornelius Sullivan, their priest who holds mass, teaches their children at Our Mother of Mercy Roman Catholic Church nearby, says they came when jobs got scarce in Louisiana. The Southern Pacific Railroad in Houston was offering many job opportunities in the

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  • 1 month later...

http://www.tsha.utex...s/FF/hrfvg.html

In the 1920's a group of Creole Blacks of French and Spanish Louisianan heritage founded "Frenchtown."

Yet I heard the neighborhood gradually merged into the Fifth Ward.

So... are there any traces of Frenchtown left?

I'm trying but this forum isn't terribly attachment friendly.

O.K., well.........that worked. There appears to be some really wild discrepancies about where Frenchtown actually was. I read the article above and worked on Google street view around Des Chaumes and Lelia. It's amazing how vacant this quarter of the city really is; mostly vacant lots and "'40's" vintage houses, (my guess); note that the open storm ditches, i.e "bar" ditches rather than covered storm drains. There's talk here of this being in the 5th Ward? I associated this area with the "3rd" ward, but I could be wrong about that. If I can hit on anything definitive, I'll do a photo shoot of the area. The "Church" on Sumpter appears to be much closer to the rail yards depicted on the Google map and I noted that the "hand drawn" map centers on Staples, but so far, I'm not seeing much in that area of any historical interest.

Now, it seems to me that the "confusion" about discrepancies may have been my own. I struck gold on Kentucky street, (see attachment), and am now thinking this probably is the "heart" as it were, of the matter.

3210 Kentucky.doc

So far, in terms of "new" development; I'm not finding what I'd expected to find, except "out" of the area on Liberty Road, i.e. the Louisiana "Shot gun Double". My wife's family is from New Orleans, and the "double" is very popular becuae it works out first for extended family and then as rental property for retirement purposes.

3402 Jewel at Des Chaumes.doc

Edited by Ringo3Khan
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  • The title was changed to Any Traces Of Frenchtown Left?

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