Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epitaph

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

The writing of this book could never have come to pass without the help of several outstanding individuals, all of whom deserve heartfelt thanks. First and foremost, I would like to offer profound gratitude to my devoted parents, Robert and DeWanda Platt. Often my parents have queried about my obsession with all things New Orleans and south Louisiana. ...

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Introduction: A Creole College in St. James Parish

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pp. 1-13

Regarding Americans’ fascination with the Old South, Louisiana in particular, the historian Craig A. Bauer put it plainly: “Whether from the ‘moonlight-and-magnolias’ romanticized vision of plantation life as has been presented in the fictionalized media or from a study of the historical tomes written about the antebellum period, there remains a strong interest among ...

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1. Aristocracy, Education, and the Ancienne Population

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pp. 14-38

Louisiana’s antebellum sugar parishes were, as Rodney Cline details, “characterized by the wealth and prestige of the plantation aristocracy.”1 In Richard Follett’s The Sugar Masters: Planters and Slaves in Louisiana’s Cane World, 1820–1860, he goes beyond Cline’s description to paint a vivid picture of expansive sugarcane fields with large, columned plantation homes flanking the Mississippi River. ...

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2. The Rise and Fall of Jefferson College

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pp. 39-67

Thomas Jefferson, one of the most influential minds apropos early American schools, colleges, and universities, insisted that boys and young men sent to Europe for their education returned foreigners.1 Although Louisiana sugar barons respected Jefferson as a fellow plantation owner and defender of freehold farming, they dismissed the president’s home-based instructional ideals ...

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3. The Forgotten Louis Dufau

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pp. 68-93

In the wake of Jefferson College’s closure and the 1837 financial crash, Louisiana economics improved. By the 1850s, French Creole planter affluence was at its height.1 However, the Creole college stood empty. As ancienne population wealth recovered, talk of republican ideals and secessionist thought were ablaze in the sugar parishes. ...

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4. Return of the Sugar Barons

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pp. 94-134

While visiting Valcour Aime’s plantation, a French nobleman (according to Michael Jean Fortier) effused, “Valcour Aime, you are the Louis XIV of Louisiana. The beauties of your plantation remind me of the Chateau de Versailles.”1 As one of the wealthiest French Creole sugar barons in south Louisiana prior to and immediately after the Civil War, ...

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5. Marists and Americanization

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pp. 135-167

When Martha R. Field, better known as Catharine Cole, the late nineteenth-century correspondent for the Daily Picayune, visited the gold coast, she was impressed by the decaying old world grandeur of Louisiana’s French Creole aristocracy. In the midst of sugarcane fields and sharecroppers’ cottages, Cole visited the large, whitewashed buildings of St. Mary’s ...

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Conclusion: Class and College

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pp. 168-178

By the end of the nineteenth century, the prestige once associated with the title Creole had substantially diminished—not without a fight, however. Struggles to uphold the upper French Creole class and its revered social demarcation were characterized by attempts to reinforce the term as one reserved for white individuals of European descent born to Louisiana colonials. ...

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Epilogue: Manresa, the Fifth Life of Jefferson College

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pp. 179-184

Not long after St. Mary’s Jefferson College closed, the Society of Mary decided to sell the college buildings and campus for $75,000. The Marists relinquished control of the sale to Ernest A. Carrere’s Sons. By 1928, however, potential buyers had yet to surface, so the real estate agency approached the St. James Parish school board to inquire ...

Appendix A: Institutional Presidents at the Jefferson College Site

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pp. 185-186

Appendix B: Acts to Incorporate and Support Jefferson College

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pp. 187-190

Appendix C: Sale of Jefferson College to Louis Dufau

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pp. 191-194

Appendix D: Property Deed: Valcour Aime to the Jefferson College Board of Directors

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pp. 195-196

Appendix E: Acts of Transfer: The Jefferson College Board of Directors and Valcour Aime to the Society of Mary

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pp. 197-200

Appendix F: An Act to Incorporate the Society of “The Fathers of the Society of Mary”

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pp. 201-204

Appendix G: Sale of St. Mary’s Jefferson College to the Society of Jesus

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pp. 205-208

Notes

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pp. 209-264

Bibliography

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pp. 265-284

Index

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pp. 285-298