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by Carl A. Brasseaux and Alana A. Carmon

Iberville Parish is one of the original Louisiana parishes created in 1807. First settled by Acadian exiles at St. Gabriel in 1767, the parish was initially a region of small farms, but, following the introduction of sugar production into the area in the early nineteenth century, it became one of the South's most prosperous plantation areas.

The plantation economy was based upon slave labor, and large numbers of African American slaves were introduced into Iberville Parish in the antebellum period (1812-1860). Most of these slaves had been sent by their original owners in Virginia and the Carolinas to the New Orleans slave markets (in the process giving rise to the expression "sold down the river").

The parish's history is still vividly reflected in its abundant historical architecture. Nottoway Plantation, located near White Castle, is the most impressive antebellum plantation home remaining in the South. In addition, Plaquemine is a beautifully preserved steamboat town. The Plaquemine Locks historic site provides a fascinating look at the town's earlier role as a gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin and the settlements beyond.

Iberville Parish's beauty, however, is not limited to its architecture. A system of roadways from Plaquemine, Maringouin, Grosse Tete, and Ramah provide access to the eastern periphery of one of America's largest wilderness areas—the Atchafalaya Basin. The Basin's beauty is striking, particularly in the fall and spring.


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