The German Coast in Louisiana, oder:

Warum es "Mississippi is the new Pegnitz" heisst – und nicht umgekehrt...

The German Coast aka Côte des Allemands was a region of early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the east side of the Mississippi River – specifically, from east to west, in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James parishes of present-day Acadiana. The four settlements along the coast were Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg.

Until today these parts of the Mississippi River are called Bayou des Allemands and Lac des Allemands. The area's name was derived from the large population of German pioneers who were settled along the Mississippi River in 1721 by John Law and the Company of the Indies. When the company folded in 1731, the Germans became independent land owners.

The area remained under the French regime until 1768, when France delivered Louisiana to the Spanish. The French and German cultures mixed, with French becoming the dominant language. German names were given French translations. Heidel became Haydel, Ruber became Oubre, Träger - Tregre and so on... From the time of their arrival, the German immigrants (most of them being catholics, like the Irish) began speaking French and intermarried with the early French settlers. Over the subsequent decades they intermarried with the descendants of the latter as well as the Acadians. Together with other settlers, they helped create Cajun culture.

Despite periodic flooding, hurricanes, and the rigors of frontier life, the German pioneers made a success of their settlements. Their farming endeavors provided food not only for themselves but also for New Orleans' residents. Some historians credit these German farmers with the survival of early New Orleans.


Thus, for a lot of Germans, not at least from Franconia, the Mississippi once was the new Pegnitz.

And it still is for us. And for all ya Burners out there.

Photo by Arne Marenda
Photo by Arne Marenda