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Along the River Road

Past and Present on Louisiana's Historic Byway

Mary Ann Sternberg

Publication Year: 2013

Few thoroughfares offer as rich a history as Louisiana’s River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In this third edition of her extremely popular guide, Along the River Road, Mary Ann Sternberg provides a revised introduction, new images, and updated information on sites and attractions as well as tales and local lore about favorite and overlooked destinations. Featuring background information about the area and a detailed guided tour—upriver on the east bank and downriver along the west—the book gives an overview of the River Road, serving as an accessible and definitive companion to exploring the corridor. Sternberg’s abiding appreciation of the area’s allure—garnered over twenty years of visiting—produces a must-have travel companion to a place that far exceeds its common reputation as only a parade of elegant antebellum mansions. In this new edition, she again encourages travelers to experience the many treasures of this wondrous byway for themselves, seeing how much it has changed over the last decade.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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p. 6-6

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pp. ix-x

This is the third edition of Along the River Road and, you might ask, why bother?
Because much has happened and changed to this richly historic corridor since the revised edition was published in 2001, and I think it ...

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pp. xi-xv

What exactly is the River Road?
Polite confusion reigns when distinguishing between the better known federal designation, the Great River Road (GRR), and our River Road. The former is not the subject of this book; it is a federally designated land route ...

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River Road Timeline

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pp. 1-16

The earliest evidence of human settlement in the River Road area is thought by archaeologists to date from about 3000 B.C. when various indigenous peoples—now known as Native Americans—lived in what is now St. James Parish. (Indian was, of course, the designation given to these native North American inhabitants by European explorers.) Archaeologists ...

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Terms, People, and Places

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pp. 17-28

Acadian: The Acadians, today colloquially called “Cajuns,” were people of French descent who had lived in Nova Scotia—Acadie—until they were expelled in 1755 by the British, who took over their territory in 1713. The exiles were widely ...

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Parishes: What and Why

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pp. 29-33

The political subdivisions of the state of Louisiana, including the seven in the River Road region, are called “parishes,” unlike their equivalents in the rest of the continental United States, where they are known as counties. This peculiarity derives from the initial congruence of the secular territorial divisions of the colony with the ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the ...

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The River and Settlement Along It

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pp. 34-63

When European explorers came upon the Mississippi River, it was the centerpiece of an extensive natural system—what modern engineering jargon calls a “poised stream.” The term means that the river and its dynamic ...

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Agriculture and Industry

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pp. 64-90

To encourage settlement and initiate economic development of the Louisiana colony, the French colonial government made land grants. The Company of the West offered concessions to well-connected Frenchmen, including directors of the company. Some of these holdings were bought merely for speculation and were never seriously developed; others were ...

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Architectural Styles

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pp. 91-100

The emergence of one distinctive architectural form and the adaptive use of others have combined to produce an interesting mix of building styles along the River Road. Formal architecture adhered fairly closely to the tenets of classical design; vernacular (folk) buildings reflected more concrete demands of function, materials, and resources. But both evolved with ...

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The Natural Setting

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pp. 101-109

When the first Europeans arrived, the landscape along the lower Mississippi River looked very different from today. Except for a few widely scattered Indian villages, there was little cleared land anywhere. The river’s vast floodplain, a network of old stream channels and terraces, flatlands, lakes, and backwater swamps, harbored a great variety of natural ...

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Food Along the River Road

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pp. 110-112

River Road cuisine, like the area itself, evolved from a combination of traditions coupled with the addition of local ingredients. This unique fare, with elements of culinary New Orleans and culinary Acadiana, features foods, spices, and herbs derived from French, Spanish, African, West Indian, and Native American influences. It evolved as both plain and fancy, ...

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Upriver Along the East Bank

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pp. 113-210

0.3 The second water tower indicates the community of St. Rose, previously known as Elkinsville, one of the oldest settlements in the area. The name is derived from St. Rose Plantation, which in turn was named for the first patron saint ...

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Downriver Along the West Bank

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pp. 211-316

The River Road from the old Mississippi River Bridge to Port Allen. To follow this section, take La. 1 north (upriver) to La. 987-1 (service road), turn right to the River Road—La. 986—and turn right ...

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Sites Open to the Public

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pp. 317-319

A thumbnail reference to historic homes, museums, and other sites open to the public. Telephone numbers are given, but many of these places can be accessed through their own websites or the website of their town or parish. Admission may be charged. Many churches and cemeteries are often Bonnet Carré Spillway information. Corps of Engineers office, ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 321-322


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pp. 323-344

E-ISBN-13: 9780807150634
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807150627

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: third edition

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Subject Headings

  • River Road (La.) -- History.
  • River Road (La.) -- History.
  • River Road (La.) -- Guidebooks.
  • Historic sites -- Louisiana -- River Road -- Guidebooks.
  • River Road (La.) -- History, Local.
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