Heritage lecture on Chatsworth Plantation Sept. 12

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - LSU Rural Life Museum Archeologist Dennis Jones will be the guest lecturer at the Foundation for Historical Louisiana's Heritage Lecture on Thursday, September 12, on "Cultural Resource Survey of Chatsworth Plantation."

Jones will discuss the cultural resource management (CRM) project at the Chatsworth Plantation site in East Baton Rouge Parish and the development of the archaeology lab at the LSU Rural Life Museum.

The LSU Rural Life Museum is conducting an archaeological project on behalf of the L'Auberge Casino. This work is part of a permitting process required by the US Army Corps of Engineers because of the casino's location near the Mississippi River levee.

Dennis Jones, the lead archaeologist and principal investigator will describe the field research and the significance of the Chatsworth Plantation quarters and sugar mill site.

Chatsworth Plantation was a major sugarcane grower and producer of sugar during the mid to late 19th century. A large manor house once stood near the Mississippi River, but it was destroyed to make way for the levee in 1930. The slave quarters, sugar mill and other outbuildings were situated behind the manor house. It is here that the archaeological research is taking place.

The excavations at Chatsworth are part of a larger cultural resource survey sponsored by Pinnacle Entertainment in cooperation with LSU, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office and Natural Resource Professionals LLC.

Started sometime in the 1830s, Chatsworth Plantation went through a number of owners, including father and son Francis and Fergus Gardere, until the land went to a sheriff's sale in the 1920s. While the opulent plantation house for Chatsworth was demolished for levee construction in the 1930s, the remains of the sugar mill and archaeological deposits associated with the slave/worker quarters area lay under the thick vegetation of south Louisiana.

The Heritage Lecture Series is open to FHL members for free and $10 for guests. The public is invited to attend. The event begins at 6 p.m. with refreshments sponsored by Calandro's Select Cellars and Fine Wines, and the lecture follows at 6:30 p.m. in the East Room of the mansion.

The Old Governor's Mansion is located at 502 North Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Go to www.fhl.org for more information.