Telephone: 504.782.8517 Ann Montgomery
The German Coast Farmers' Market will serve as a community gathering place,
tourist destination, and a market for a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers
and other value-added items in the parish of St. Charles.
Founded in May of 2003, the German Coast Farmers' Market, a non-profit organization operated by a volunteer board of directors, was established to encourage the ability of
farmers and small vendors to reach the public directly with the freshest of produce
and home-grown and produced products. The Inaugural Market was held June 7th, 2003,
on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish. On July 5th, 2006, our second location
opened on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish.
The idea for the development of a German Coast Farmers' Market originated with
the German Coast Community Heritage Group seeking to celebrate the living
tradition passed on informally within our community by families and community
members. The German Coast is one of the oldest settlements in Louisiana.
Some of the earliest settlers' descendants continue to farm and provide produce
for the community. It has been written by prominent historians and scholars
that the Germans were instrumental in saving the Louisiana Colony.
In addition to local products, our Market features a variety of special events
including live music and entertainment, pony rides, holiday celebrations,
Kid Krewe du Mardi Gras parade, St. Patty's Pet Pawrade,
advice from Master Gardeners, Preserve Contest, Cookbook Exchange, Plant Swap, community outreach programs, and arts and crafts vendors!
THE TEAM THAT MAKES THINGS HAPPEN
Market Site Coordinator
Public Relations Coordinator
Amber Champagne Pinero
St. Charles Parish is the fourth oldest settlement and first German settlement in Louisiana.
It was originally known as the German Coast, then the County of the German Coast, and then established by Act 1 of the Louisiana Legislature of 1807 as the "Parish of St. Charles".
It was named after the Ecclesiastical Church Parish of St. Charles Borromeo.
Settlement of the German Coast - 4th Oldest Settlement in the U.S.
The following information was taken from the writings of J. Hanno Deiler, Helmet Blume, Ellen Merrill
and Reinhart Kondurt.
The history of the settlement of the German Coast was lost and almost completely forgotten for several hundred years until J. Hanno Deiler traced what people believed were French names back to their original German names. The early German settlers readily married into French families already living on the German Coast, adopted the French language, and even accepted Gallicized versions of the German names. Names such as Toups, Tregre, Zeringue, Schexnayder, Troxler and Oubre, long believed to be French names of Southern Louisiana, are now realized as German. How and why did this happen? Most German settlers were illiterate. Schools had ceased to exist in many countries because of wars. The French settlers were here and because they were better educated in reading and writing, they were the scribes. So the scribes phonetically rendered the names of the Germans on shiplists and census tables as they were heard. The priests who recorded the baptisms, marriages and deaths were also French and recorded German information as it sounded. This process is referred to as Gallinization. A good example is Zweig. It was almost immediately translated into LaBranche because they heard Zweig as Twig! Without exception, German names of the first German colonists of Louisiana were changed and most of the descendants subsequently became unsure as to the original spelling.
Historians have not yet determined the actual number of Germans that left their homeland in or around 1719 for America, but it is possible that it was between one and five thousand. Historians are in agreement that only 300 survived to become the actual colonists and the original settlers of the German Coast.
John Law began recruiting Germans to Louisiana in the spring of 1720, going to farmers in the Rhineland with advertising pamphlets. His plan was to create a model plantation community employing several thousand industrious German farmers. In the posters, Louisiana was described as “a land filled with gold, silver, copper and lead mines”. Thousands died of disease or starvation before they left the shores of Europe. Many more died on the pest ships or the shores of old Biloxi (Ocean Springs, Mississippi) where they finally landed. The surviving Germans were finally settled about 35 miles upriver from New Orleans in the area now known as St. Charles Parish. Three villages modeled after European towns were established with the help of lumberjacks and carpenters. The 3 villages were named Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg. Special conditions of life existing for the early settlers were subtropical heat, perennial threat of flooding from rainfall and hurricanes, and subtropical flora. The fear of attack by Indians dominated the lives of the German Coast people. While involved in the construction of the homes, the German Settlers were busy preparing lands for cultivation. By 1721, the Germans were already diverting their agricultural products to the New Orleans markets. The German settlements became Louisiana's only dependable source of fresh foodstuffs. By 1724, the German Coast had earned the reputation of being the Colony's "breadbasket". The spoken German language died slowly, surviving longest in German marriages. But when a German male married a French woman, the children took the mother's customs, dialect and manners, and were even given French names. The written German word died out all at once. German schools were never established. The Germans were very industrious people and played a significant political role in the colony. In the early days of Spanish rule, Governor Ulloa seemed to threaten their economic livelihood as farmers. The German people acted as a group to facilitate the expulsion of the Spanish in the Revolt of 1768. They left few cultural contributions. They wrote no books, printed no newspapers and had only a slight impact on the art and language of the colonial period.
Years later, the Acadians from Nova Scotia arrived on the German Coast and the Germans welcomed them, intermarried with them, and as a result became more French than ever. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase brought an avalanche of new people. The Americans invaded the German Coast. The County of the German Coast became the Parish of St. Charles and German Coast farmers remained the "breadbasket" of the colony. Slave labor became an issue and a German immigrant by the name of Georg Michael Hahn emerged on the scene, bought a plantation, and laid out the plans for a village to be known as Hahnville, now our Parish seat of Government. Today many descendants of the original German settlers live in the Parish. Some farm the land and carry on family traditions, still unable to separate the Germans from the French.