Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha Indians
Faces of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw People
1. Joseph A. Verdin 2. Etienne Dion (1876-1968), Julius Ivy Verdin, Clarence Dion (1903-1968)
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The Governing Body
The governing body of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band is the Tribal Council and the Council of Elders. The Tribal Council is comprised of six council members and the Council of Elders is comprised of four senior members.
- Marlene V. Foret
Vice-Chairperson - Joe Lirette
Council Member/Office Administrator - Vacant
Council Member - Antoine (T-Man) Parfait
Council Member - Wilton (Pierre) Parfait
Council of Elders:
Geraldine Parfait Carrere
Josephine "Cat" Dion
Anna Mae Gregoire
Joseph Deon, Jr.
Antoine (T-Man) Parfait
Martin (Sam) Parfait
Anna Mary Parfait
- Ms Parfait recently passed away. Thanks for your service to your
community and your people.
The Indian people of the Grand Caillou/Dulac community
are descendants of the early 19th century residents of Bayou Terrebonne
(Billiot, LaForet, Dardar, Solet, Verdin, and Courteau) and Bayou Little
Shortly after the great influx of Anglo settlers and land
speculators along Bayou Terrebonne, between 1810 and 1820, many of these early
Indian families left the area, some went eastward - to Isle Jean Charles and
Pointe-aux Chene - eventually to lower Lafourche Parish -
and some to the west, along Bayou Little Caillou.
Up to the 1830's most of the land along Bayou Little
Caillou was considered "public lands" or land owned by the U. S.
Congress, but many Indian families can be documented living there before then
and included modern Indian names such as Billiot, Verret, Fitch, Robinson,
Smith, Jaco, Gregoire, Verdin, Courteau, Dion, Dardar and Parfait. The U. S.
Census of Bayou Little Caillou in 1850 listed only eight families of Indian
surnames. This census did not give the maiden names of the female spouses, but
they can be found in church and civil records. By 1910 only two families of
Indian ancestry were living on Little Caillou.
Where was the "Old Darbonne Settlement"?
There has long been speculation on the location of this settlement in Terrebonne Parish, and even how Bayou Terrebonne got its name. Some old maps show Bayou Darbonne and some land descriptions name Bayou Terrebonne as Bayou Darbonne. It has also been assumed the settlement was somewhere on present-day Bayou Terrebonne. And then there is the legend that Terrebonne was the name of the place where the family of Brigite BELANGER, wife of Henry Schuyler THIBODAUX, was from in Canada, so making that assumption it follows that Henry Schuyler THIBODAUX was one of the early settlers, then the bayou and parish were named for them. Another legend is the name came from old Jean Jacques DUPRE dit Darbonne, believed to have been an early settler. Research reveals these facts:
Jean Jacques DUPRE dit Darbonne was born in Montreal, Canada, on 27 April 1696 and married Marie Anne BIENVENU on 15 July 1722 at Kaskaskia, Illinois. His first three children that are known were: Anne DUPRE (birth date and birthplace unknown); Marie Jeanne DUPRE born in Ouachita Dist. LA (near Monroe LA ) baptized 11 Feb. 1729 (DioNO 1-93); and Louise Marie DUPRE, born at Natchez, baptized 14 Feb. 1729 (DioNO 1-93) . The next children we can prove are: Antoine Alexandre DUPRE dit Terrebonne born 14 Apr. 1740, baptized 11 June 1753 at SLC, New Orleans; a girl (name unknown) born ca. 1742 Dauphine Island, Alabama, baptized in 1742 ; Pierre Laurent DUPRE dit Terrebonne born ca. 1743 at Les Allemands, baptized 2 Jan. 1746 in New Orleans (DioNO 1-93) who was buried in Opelousas LA on 24 Apr. 1783; Guillaume DUPRE dit Terrebonne born ca. 1748, baptized 8 Dec. 1748 at St. Charles Church in Destrehan LA, died 26 Oct. 1819 at Cheniere Caminada (Jefferson Parish LA); and Jacques DUPRE dit Terrebonne (birth date and birthplace unknown) , who remained in Opelousas.
Jean Jacques DUPRE dit Darbonne was dead by the time his son, Pierre Laurent DUPRE dit Terrebonne (also Derbonne), married at Pointe Coupee in 1772 Marie Josephe FONTENOT (daughter of Joseph FONTENOT and Marie BRIGNAC) a native of Alabama and resident of Opelousas. (BRDA 2-291) Pierre Laurent was buried 24 Apr. 1783 at Opelousas, given as 40 years old (SWLR 1-A, 290).
Antoine Alexandre DUPRE dit Terrebonne died between 1780 and 1783 after having married Marie Anne GAUDIN (daughter of Alexandre GAUDIN and Anne BERGERON) in 1770 in St. James Parish.(BRDA 2-267)
So, this eliminates the father and three of his sons as possibilities.
The remaining son, Guillaume DUPRE Terrebonne married Francoise MARGOTA on 30 May 1782 at New Orleans, daughter of Jacques MARGOTA and Marie Catherine BEAUSARGENT. In 1810 Guillaume and his family were residents of Cheniere Caminada. He died 26 Oct. 1819 at Cheniere Caminada and his probate was filed in Thibodaux LA. Early land records of Bayou Grand Caillou show T19S R17E Sec. 2 as belonging to the "heirs of Guillaume TERREBONNE." This section is just below where Bayou Guillaume flows into Bayou Grand Caillou and contained 863.81 acres. Within the lower center of this section of land is another section, Section 68 containing 455.67 acres, listed as "Pedro GONZALES, in conflict with the claim of the heirs of Guillaume TERREBONNE."
Just above the "heirs of Guillaume TERREBONNE" (Sec. 2) was the claim of "widow and heirs of Albert BEAUSARGENT" (Section 84), which was in conflict with the claim of Charles Jumonville DEVILLIERS, containing a total of 1,029.24 acres. Albert BEAUSARGENT was the uncle of Francoise MARGOTA, Guillaume TERREBONNE's wife.
The central narrow strip of land (1,320 feet spanning both sides of Bayou Grand Caillou by 330 feet) belonging to the "heirs of Guillaume TERREBONNE" (between the BEAUSARGENT [Sec. 84] and GONZALES claims [Sec. 68]) was the site of the "old Darbonne Settlement." - on Bayou Grand Caillou, as revealed in the following records:
Old Darbonne Settlement
Terrebonne Parish COB 3, p. 479, Act 471, 2 Dec. 1828
Jumonville DEVILLIERS sold a piece of land on Bayou Grand Caillou, in Terrebonne, to Ferdinand Victor POTHIER, by an act not valid, which land was granted to him by the Spanish Government, containing the following limits, viz: begin by the lower limit, at the place known under the name old Darbonne settlement and measuring , in ascending Bayou Grand Caillou 36 arpents front on each bank of said Bayou Grand Caillou, with depth, between parallel lines of 8 arpents on each bank, containing 5,760 superficial arpents, more or less, in consideration that POTHIER has then, by act passed before Mr. LAFITEE, dated 13 Apr. 1818, duly transported the same land to Jean GRAVIER, and in a further conveyance that the said land was then sold by virtue of two orders of execution of fieri facias, rendered for the Honorable one, the District Court, for the First Judicial District, in court for lawsuits, in which P. A. CUVILLIER and J. B. CASENAVE were plaintiffs, and J. B. GRAVIER was defendant, and that sale which took place, by orders of execution, the said was adjudicated to one James BOWIE, who sold it to various individuals and in consideration that Pleasant Branch COCKE is the present owner, of the larger part of land, having bought it from James BOWIE and one Lemuel TANNER . (COCKE paid DEVILLIERS $1500.00 on the land of 36 arpents front, more or less.)
State of Louisiana
June 16, 1832 I do solemnly swear that the evidence which I shall give concerning the location of Louis DELAHOUSSAYE shall be the truth according to the best of my knowledge and belief. (Signed) Cgne. Delahoussaye.
Mr. DELAHOUSSAYE says that about six years ago he assisted his uncle Chatillon PELLERIN aged about 70 years in building two huts or cabins on each side of the Bayou Grand Caillou. They were rudely built with posts driven into the ground and covered with palmetto. He observed no traces of any former establishment but was assured by his uncle already mentioned that forty or forty five years before Louis DELAHOUSSAYE had established himself there and had cultivated a small spot of ground as a garden. He further says that his uncle had no interest in the claim and that the huts were built as an evidence of the claimants intention not to relinquish their rights.
Ursin St. PREVOST confirms the statement of Mr. DELAHOUSSAYE so far as to say that a few days after the cabins were built he saw them in the place designated. He always understood they were built by the Messers. DELAHOUSSAYE but did not see them built. Before they were built they had resided for a few days with his father . He says also that his brother was present and assisted them in building the cabins. (Signed) Ursin Prevost
State of Louisiana
I do solemnly swear that the evidence which I am about to give shall be the truth according to the best of my knowledge and belief. (Signed) Auguste (his X mark) Bodoin
Auguste BAUDOIN says that the place pointed out by the other witnesses is the same that a surveyor made the commencement of his work about two years ago that he met with opposition and threats from Mr. James BOWIE and a Mr. TURNER and desisted.
The "old Darbonne Settlement" on the Grinage plat of 1841.
On 11 June 1841 Jas. B. GRINAGE, U.S. Dept. Surveyor, made a survey of the Guillaume TERREBONNE land with J. TOUPS and J. B. GRINAGE as chain carriers. The survey was examined and approved 5 July 1841 by H. WILLIAMS, Surveyor General at Donaldsonville, LA.
Pursuant to instructions from the Surveyor General of public lands in Louisiana I have surveyed a tract of land situate on the Bayou Grand Caillou the title to which has been confirmed to Guillaume TERREBONNE by an Act of Congress approved the 3rd March 1835 upon the recommendation of the Register and Receiver of the South Eastern District Louisiana and contained in their report to the commissioner of the General Land Office dated 5 September 1835 under (certificate) No. 187 being in Sect. No. 68 in Township No. 19 and Range No. 17 and Sect. No. 90 in Township No. 19 Range 18 East South Eastern District Louisiana and bounded as follows (surveyor's descriptions)... where I completed the survey containing 870 superficial acres and having such shap(e) form and marks natural and artificial as represented in the above plat this 11 June 1841. (Signed) Jas. B. GRINAGE, U.S. Dept. Suvy.
Bayou Darbonne or Bayou Terrebonne and Williamsburg
The section of land just below Southland Mall (across from where Bayou Cane flows into Bayou Terrebonne) was owned by Jean Alexandre DUPRE, the son of Antoine Alexandre DUPRE dit Terrebonne and Marie Anne GAUDIN. Jean Alexandre was the nephew of Guillaume TERREBONNE of the "old Darbonne Settlement" and Cheniere Caminada. He was married to Rosalie GAUDIN dit Lincourt on 27 June 1791 in New Orleans LA, daughter of Joseph GODIN dit Lincourt and Marie FORET. It is unknown just when they moved to Bayou Terrebonne; they were not enumerated on the 1810 census.
Jean Alexandre's place was where the early meetings of the Terrebonne Parish Police Jury were held, and the site of the first courthouse and jail, the area once called "Williamsburg." It was not until 1833 that the parish seat was moved downstream to the place on the Hache grant, that developed into the town called "Houma."
The Westward Movement
Between the time these people left Bayou Little Caillou
on the westward move and their arrival on Bayou Grand Caillou, by way of Bayou
Salé and Four Point Bayou, new Indian names had been added and included Pierre,
Carriere, Ramagos, Alexandre, Joseph and Francis. Most of the Indians lived
below the Boudreaux and Robinson Canal area, a marshy region not suitable for
farming. Only narrow strips of land border Bayou Little Caillou where a few
cattle could be raised, or small family gardens planted. Most of the people
lived by shrimping, fishing, hunting and trapping. The elders say the Indians
left Little Caillou because the white settlers would destroy their homes by
burning them down while the Indians were away fishing or trapping. Another
reason may be they were dispossessed by the passage of the "Swamp Act"
by the State of Louisiana, which declared these lands uninhabitable and
therefore property of the State, but then sold the confiscated land to
speculators. It could have been a combination of the two.
Bayou Salé Road is approximately eight miles long and
now only a narrow raised strip of ground on either side. At one time, there were
sugar cane farms along this road where some of the Indian men were employed as
laborers part of the year. During the planting and harvesting seasons, Indian
women also worked for the farm owners as field hands. In 1910 twelve households
of Indians, of a community total of thirty houses, were given on Bayou Salé and
four on Four Point Road, of a community total of eleven houses. That census gave
the racial description of these Indian families as "mulatto." The
surnames on Bayou Salé Road were Francis (married to a Pierre), Verret (married
to a Foret), two of Dion (each married to a Billiot), Francis (married to a
Benoit), Parfait (married to a Thibodaux; widower of a Gallay); Thibodaux
(married to a Francis), Parfait (married to a Billiot), Foret (married to a
Parfait), Foret (married first to a Billiot, second to a Dion), Dion (married to
a Foret), Billiot (married to a Billiot). The occupations of these Indians were
one blacksmith, five farmers, and fifteen laborers.
The four families of the 1910 census on Four Point Road
included a Verdin (married to a Theriot), Francis (married to a Verdin), Verret
(married to a Verdin) and Dion (married to a Verret). Their occupations included
two farmers, six laborers and one trapper.
Up to 1923 many of these families lived on Bayou Salé
Road and Four Point Road. In August of 1926 there was a severe hurricane that
probably accounted for their moving to the higher ground at Dulac. Many Indians
were drowned in this hurricane, their livestock and homes destroyed. In 1927
there was vast flooding which forced many Indians to seek higher ground. The
area of Dulac where they settled had been a Spanish land grant to Louis Cossier
in the 1780's.
Bayou Grand Caillou
In 1850 there were only two families on Bayou Grand
Caillou that had Indian connection, Louis Verret married to Rosette Billiot, and
Joseph Prevost dit Collet whose wife was Modeste Billiot. Both of the Billiot
women had Courteau mothers.
In the community of Grand Caillou/Dulac there were
several small Indian settlements, and four graveyards where Indians could be
buried: the Prevost Cemetery (still in use), Dulac Cemetery, Felix Canal
Cemetery (destroyed by water), and Bayou LaButte Cemetery (destroyed by water).
There were small sub-communities at Felix Canal, Bayou LaButte, Deer Island,
Bayou Chene, and Bayou Mauvais Bois, which were of a permanent nature. There
were many areas in the swamps where entire families went each year for trapping,
creating temporary sub-communities because families used the same leased
trapping area each year.
Most of these families lived year-round in houseboats.
Shrimpers and trappers worked on a "share"
basis. Most of the Indians did not own boats but were able to obtain the use of
boats by giving a share of the haul to the owner of the boat as rent and to
cover advanced expenses. Shrimping also provided income to girls and women who
worked at the shrimp drying and processing plants.
Most of the fishing was done from Cocodrie. Fish were
preserved by smoking and was also a family affair, called "tasso
making." Family groups traveled by boat to the site of the fishing and
camped out several days to clean and dry the freshly caught garfish over racks
that were placed over outdoor fires. There was a lot of socializing, reunions,
and courting during "tasso" time.
"Grocery boats" provided the trappers and
fishermen in the far-out bayous with necessary staple goods as late as the
Besides a diet of seafood (shrimp, oysters, crabs and
fish), families ate game such as ducks, geese, marsh hens, coons, squirrel and
rabbits. A few raised chickens. Only a few staple foods, such as rice, beans,
sugar, flour and coffee, were bought from peddlers who traveled first by boat,
then horse and wagon, and later by the "rolling stores" - buses that
carried a multitude of goods, including ice and fabrics for sewing, and always
smelled of kerosene.
Cash was earned by working in the cane fields, swamping
(cutting timber in the swamps, then floating it to the mill by way of the
bayous), and moss picking.
Members of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Community are
descendants of these early people and still live in the area, many still earning
a living by shrimping. Almost all of Shrimpers Row, from Bobtown down, are
Indian, as well as the area below Coast Guard Point.
The Indians Today
Young Indians are now able to get an education although
many fall behind because they need tutoring, coming from illiterate homes. There
is no assistance or funding for tutors, or hope of a higher education or
training because funds are not given to "unrecognized" tribes.
The elders get medical care through a local charity
hospital. Living conditions for many of the elders is little improved from the
early part of the twentieth century. Their housing is sub-standard and many
don't have utility services because they cannot afford them.
Unemployment for the working-age adults is high because
of lack of education and training, a result of the days of segregation. Only
seasonal work as laborers is available to them, at minimum wage, not nearly
enough to support families.
The chain of poverty and deprivation continues.
Federal recognition will bring much needed help in addressing these problems and others for the Indian people of Grand Caillou/Dulac and all Biloxi-Chitimacha people.
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