Plaquemine history lives on in England
The historic Plaquemine Lock has extended its rich history to England. An English chef with ties to the Schwing family here in Plaquemine has opened a new restaurant in Islington, a suburb of London. The restaurant, known as “The Plaquemine Lock”, is fittingly located near the Regent’s Canal Lock.
Work started on this project several years ago when Chef Jacob Kenedy, a descendant of Dr. Samuel Schwing, came to Plaquemine along with his mother Haidee Becker and a television film crew to research and document his family history with the idea of developing a restaurant with a south Louisiana Cajun flair.
Chef Kenedy and his mother, Haidee Becker, chose the Iberville Museum as a background for the filming showing the family’s history here in Plaquemine. Chef Kenedy’s ancestry goes back through his mother Haidee Becker, her mother Virginia Campbell, her mother Carrie Beth Schwing and her father Dr. Samuel Schwing. The first boat to enter the Plaquemine Lock was the Carrie B. Schwing, named after Dr. Schwing’s daughter. The Carrie B was a steam driven paddle-wheel river boat built in 1904 by Schwing Lumber and Shingle Company, on Bayou Plaquemine, that plied the Atchafalaya basin and beyond towing timber in its early years and oil in later years.
The “Plaquemine Lock” restaurant will feature Cajun and creole cuisine and the interior features murals painted by Haidee Becker. The murals include images of the steamboat Carrie B. Schwing, maps of the Plaquemine area, and pictures of the Plaquemine Lock. It will also feature memorabilia relating to Chef Kenedy’s grandmother the late actress, painter, marionette artist and socialite Virginia Campbell, a native of Plaquemine. Some of Mrs. Campbell’s memorabilia will also find a home locally at the Iberville Museum.
Even though the Plaquemine Lock is out of service as a lock it still functions as a historic site and its history will now live on in England. We all owe a word of thanks to all who fought so hard years ago and even today to keep this piece of history alive here in Iberville Parish.