HISTORY OF PELICAN POINT ... POINT HOUMAS
A brief history of this community where you have chosen to live and play
Those of us who live here can tell anyone who asks, that we live at Pelican Point or we play golf here and almost everyone will know where we mean. But notice, I called this history, PELICAN POINT...POINT HOUMAS, and for good reason.
As you would expect, long before the European explorers arrived, the American Indians were well established on this site. These were the Houmas (Oumas) Indians. When the first French explorers surveyed the Mississippi River and gave names to the important land marks along the course of the river, they called this 180 degree turn in the river "Point Houmas" because of the large Houmas Indian village located here.
Houmas House is situated directly across the river from the actual "point" formed by the river turning back on itself. The Grand Houmas Village was also located on this side of the river, right here where you are.
The Houmas had selected well. Their land was high, fertile, accessible and fruitful. These were the same assets coveted by the early explorers. And, sure enough, about 300 years ago French explorers and settlers began to trade with the Houmas and in time began to elbow them off their land. Unlike the Plains Indians, who moved about following the herds of buffalo, the Houmas were settled and built permanent dwellings. They cultivated the land and raised chickens, maize and beans. From the river and bayous and the forest they must have had easy access to fish and game. They were trading for pelts with the French and getting glass beads in return.
The fact that the Houmas were well known is evident from the early maps of the Louisiana Territory. Maps from the early 1700's show the location of New Orleans and the next identified settlement upriver on the east bank of the Mississippi River is the "Oumas Village". During the 1980's several archaeological sites were carefully studied and over 300 items were found and identified. A few of these sites are now inside the golf community. Other sites were nearby. Two of which were around the Burnside Cemetery. You can see the cemetery from #3 or #5 green. It is the dense group of trees covering about five acres across highway 22. This was the plantation cemetery established in 1831. When I was about 10 or 12, we used to play "Tarzan" in the graveyard. On occasion we would witness a funeral, since the plantation hands were still using the cemetery. Many of the tombs were well made and decorated. Usually cement plaster over brick, with a headstone and cross. It was evident that the oldest tombs had used Plantation Bricks made by the slaves. Some of the tombs still exist.
By: Thomas J. Robert, Pelican Point Resident, born and raised on the property