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Charenton

Trip Planner USA  /  Louisiana  /  Charenton
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Charenton is a census-designated place in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,903 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Morgan City Micropolitan Statistical Area. According to legend, the community received its name from one of the earliest settlers of the region, Alexandre Frere. Frere, a native of Paris, reportedly exclaimed on his deathbed that "anyone choosing to move to that part of Louisiana belonged in Charenton!" Charenton was the name of a notorious insane asylum outside of Paris.HistoryCharenton is home to the only remaining community of Chitimacha Indians. In 1855, the Chitimacha were seriously reduced by yellow fever that struck the region. By 1881, the eastern band had disappeared, leaving the remaining Chitimacha on Grand Lake, located near Charenton. The census of 1900 listed only six families of Chitimacha, with a total of 55 people. Of them, only three were full-blooded Chitimacha. During this period, the Chitimacha's land base had continued to decline as reservation land was divided again and again among members unable to pay the annual taxes. As a result, the land was sold. A court divided the last 505acre of the reservation in 1903, but attorney's fees claimed 280acre of it two years later. Answering a plea from the Chitimacha women, Miss Sarah Avery McIlhenney purchased the land at a sheriff's sale in 1915 and immediately ceded it to the federal government who in turn placed the land in trust for the tribe. Federal recognition followed in 1917, and the Chitimacha became the only tribe in Louisiana to achieve such status. This new recognition and the land held in trust could not have come at a better time. World War I and the pressure it placed on oil companies led to exploration in the region and purchase of land there.
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