Louisiana has sixty-four parishes, and many of
them are as individual and different as the state itself is different from
others in the Union. St. James Parish, a small parish of 249 square miles, is
not only one of the oldest settlements in the state, but it is
different in its population make-up and is important historically.
Cabanocey . . . is a splendid history of the Parish of St.
James. . . . Lillian C. Bourgeois captured the spirit that animates the
population, which is descended from French, Spanish, Acadian, German, and
Creole peoples. Bourgeois writes of the population's customs, beliefs, language
differences, and folklore. Cabanocey is not a collection of dry facts and
dates; rather, it vividly describes how, more than one hundred years ago, the
people of St. James Parish lived, who they were, and what they contributed to
their parish and their state.
Before the Civil War, St. James Parish was the educational center of
Louisiana, and Jefferson College was the first important college in the state.
Founded in 1830, it had fine buildings, a well-equipped laboratory, and an
impressive library. The Convent of the Sacred Heart (1835) for girls was
well-known by prominent families in Louisiana, Mexico, and Central America, who
sent their daughters there.
Cabanocey contains St. James genealogies and thousands of
names of early settlers, including the soldiers, taxpayers, officials,
prominent families, and the first settlers and their children. From the early
censuses and church and court records, descent is traced for many names. The
censuses of 1766, 1769, and 1777 are complete and were obtained from the
archives in Seville, Spain.