Historical Names - Southeastern Bayous

Map of the southeastern Bayou region from West, Atlas of LA Surnames, figure 3, p. 5.

The area shaded in yellow is the Isle of Orleans, which was the object of President Jefferson's original proposal to purchase New Orleans from France in the early 1800s.

Translations (see Father Daigle's Dictionary of the Cajun Language or any French-speaking Cajun; for Indian names, see Kniffen et al., Indian Tribes of LA):

Allemands means Germans; des Allemands, of the Germans

amite
means friendly or kind

anse
means cove

Anse-aux-Outards means cove of the Canada geese; its location on the map is misleading; the settlement actually was on the left, or east, bank of the river across from Bonnet Carré

Baton Rouge means red stick or pole

bayou, a Choctaw word meaning slow-ass stream, is a small river surrounded by wetlands and is sometimes spelled baillou in old records

bleu means blue

boeuf means ox or beef

Bonnet Carré means square bonnet or hat

brûlé means burnt; it's sometimes spelled with an extra "e" at the end 

caillou means gravel or pebble

Cannes Brulées means burnt reeds or canes

Chacahoula is an Indian name

Chacbay is probably another Indian name, also spelled Chackbay

Chapitoulas or Tchopitoulas, pronounced CHOP-uh-too-lus as if the "t" is missing, is an Indian name

Chauvin is a French Creole family name

chenière is a ridge in the coastal salt marshes with oak trees growing on it; chene means oak

côte means hill or mound, also coast

du large means of the open sea or prairie, obviously the latter here; the bayou also is called au large; comme çi, comme ça 

Gálvez was the Spanish governor of Louisiana during the late 1770s and early 1780s who attacked the British at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Pensacola during the American Revolution; his name was Bernardo de Gálvez or Gálves; Galveston, Texas, is also named after him

Bayou Goula is from an Indian nation, the Bayougoula, who lived on the site of the town of that name and whose name in Choctaw means "bayou people"

Guillot, pronounced GEE-yot, is an Acadian and French Creole family name

haché means hand ax

Houma comes from the Indian nation that once lived in the Yazoo region of Mississippi but moved to the bayous of southeastern Louisiana before the Acadians arrived; their descendants still live in the southeastern bayou area; their name is from the Muskogean term chakchiuma, which means "red crawfish" or "people of the red crawfish" 

Iberville, whose full name was Pierre LeMoyne, sieur d'Iberville, was the French-Canadian soldier and explorer of the late 1690s and early 1700s who founded the French colony of Louisiana

isle means island

Labadie is a French Creole family name, often spelled Abadie

la fourche means the fork or branch

Manchac comes from the Choctaw Indian word imashaka, which means "behind it" or "to the rear"

Maurepas was a French nobleman,
Jérôme Phélypeaux, comte de Maurepas, French Minister of Marine and a prominent figure in the settlement of Louisiana; he was, in fact, the son of Pontchartrain

Montegut means high mountain; the town is named after Gabriel Montegut, former director of the mint in New Orleans who moved to Terrebonne Parish; the name is pronounced mon-tuh-GYU as though it were spelled "Montague"

Orléans is a city in central France; Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, the city's founder, named New Orleans after Philippe, duc d'Orléans, regent of France, not the city in France

Outarde is a Canada goose

Paincourtville means shortbread town

Pierre Part, pronounced Pee-AIR PARR, the "t" being silent, is the name of an Acadian settler who lived in what is now northwestern Assumption Parish; it's also the home of alligator hunter Troy Landry of the History Channel's popular "Swamp People" program

plaquemine means persimmon

Plattenville could mean low-lying place since platin means low area of land; Platten also is the name of a family, probably French Creole, who lived in the area

Pointe-à-la-Haché means point of the hatchet or perhaps point that was cut off, as with a hatchet

Pointe-aux-Chênes means point of the oaks

Ponchartrain was the French minister,
Louis, comte de Maurepas, comte de Pontchartrain, who encouraged the settlement of Louisiana

salvador is Spanish for savior

Terrebonne means good earth and is a French Creole family name

Terre-aux-Boeufs means land of the oxen or beef cattle

Theriot is a prominent Acadian family

Thibodeaux, or Thibodaux more properly here, is another prominent Acadian family; the town, now city, of Thibodauxville, later Thibodeaux, now Thibodaux, was named after the political leader who served briefly as governor, Henry Schuyler Thibodaux of Terrebonne Parish

Valenzuéla is a Spanish family name; the village on the upper Bayou Lafourche was created in 1779 for Isleños from the Canary Islands and was named by Spanish Governor Bernardo de Gálvez in honor of the family of one of his aunts

Verret is a French Creole family name that may mean someone who works with glass

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