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St. Bernard Parish

 Chalmette Battlefield 1815

St. Bernard Parish contains a large community of Spanish descent. Sometimes referred to informally as "Spanish Cajuns", the Isleños are descended from Canary Islanders. This linguistically isolated group eventually developed its own dialect. This settlement was first called La Concepcion and Nueva Galvez by Spanish officials, but was later renamed Terre aux Boeufs ("boeuf" = "beef") (French) and Tierra de Bueyes (Spanish) for "land of cattle", because nearby areas were used for cattle grazing. Saint Bernard, the patron saint of colonial governor Bernardo de Galvez, was used in documents to identify the area.

St. Bernard Parish is also home to the earliest Filipino community in the United States, Saint Malo, Louisiana.

The chief historical attraction in St. Bernard Parish is the Chalmette National Historical Park (or Chalmette Battlefield), at which the Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815, during the War of 1812. Many street names near the battlefield bear the names of the chief participants, or take a pirate theme, since the pirate Jean Lafitte was considered to be a hero in the battle. A high school, later elementary and now a middle school, was named in honor of Andrew Jackson, who was the commanding officer in charge of defending New Orleans against the British invasion.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln mentioned St. Bernard Parish in the Emancipation Proclamation as an area not in rebellion against the Union during the Civil War.

From 1919 to 1969, the parish was effectively ruled as part of the fiefdom of Leander Perez, a local Democratic official in neighboring Plaquemines Parish.

During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, New Orleans city and state leaders used dynamite to breach a levee at Caernarvon, thirteen miles (19 km) below Canal Street, to save the city of New Orleans from flooding. At the time, it was thought by New Orleans residents that the dynamiting saved the city, but historians now believe that the dynamiting was unnecessary due to major upstream levee breaks that relieved pressure on the New Orleans levees. The levee breach caused flooding and widespread destruction in most of Eastern St. Bernard Parish and parts of Plaquemines Parish. Residents were never adequately compensated for their losses.


St. Bernard Parish was created in 1807 from the division of the Territory of Orleans.




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Native Americans - Chitimachas


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1830 St Bernard Census

Freedman's Bureau - Louisiana

Largest Slaveholders 1860 Slave Census Schedules

Los Islenos - Heritage and Cultural Society

Canary Islanders

St. Bernard Parish Archives

Louisiana Family Group Sheets

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Louisiana GenWeb


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St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana Genealogy