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Flatboaters in the late 1700s used to pull into the still waters of Bayou Sara creek where it emptied into the Mississippi River to get out of the river’s strong current and spend a peaceful night on the way to New Orleans. Often these same boatmen also stopped there on their walk back up the river to wherever they started their journey; their boats, with no engine power, could hardly travel upriver against the current, so the flatboats were broken up and sold for lumber, setting the crew afoot as they headed for home.
And so a little shantytown sprang up and took its name from the creek, . . . .
Few of the folks who enjoy community festivals and get-togethers on the landscaped grounds of beautiful Parker Park in historic downtown St. Francisville stop to think of the history of that particular property, but if these oaks could talk! In 1870 Sara Mulholland Flower sold her 40-arpent property called Magnolia Glen, located right in the heart of town where the well-travelled roads leading from Woodville, Baton Rouge and Bayou Sara converged. The buyer was a young dentist from New York, Dennison Stocking, who had moved to Pointe Coupee as a 22-year-old, served four years in the Confederate army, then moved across the river to St. Francisville. There he set up his dental chair in one room of the old Magnolia Glen house and advertised that he would attend all calls on the coast (meaning the Mississippi River) from New Orleans to Natchez, as well as “the back country when accessible with a buggy.”
“All you need is love” say the promotional posters, but you’d better bring your credit cards too, because the popular WAGS AND WHISKERS GALA Saturday, August 1, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Hemingbough just south of St. Francisville, is the major fundraiser for the West Feliciana Animal Humane Society and the “Bo” Bryant Animal Shelter.
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