The Great Flood of 1927 ultimately decided the fate of the thriving, self-supporting settlement of Sardine Point. The flood had devastating effects on the already weakened levee system which surrounded the Point. In 1932, the federal government decided to build a new levee. The decision was based upon the fact that it was more economically feasible to build a one-mile levee than to repair the fourteen-mile levee. The new levee was built at the neck of the peninsula, resulting in the evacuation of the peninsula and the loss of the culture known to Sardine Point. The residents were paid for the rights to flood their property yet they would retain ownership of the land and continue to pay taxes on it. By not rebuilding the fourteen-mile levee, the land was unprotected against flood waters. The government decision forced the residents to abandon their homes and seek a new life. As early as 1928, people began to leave Sardine Point and within ten years the settlement was deserted.
The Tullier family were among the firsts to leave the Point, in 1930-31. When they left, they "rolled" their house out. This was a long, tedious process. A long cable was attached to the house and a long pole anchored in the ground. A horse or mule was then harnessed to a turn-table and the animal would circle around and around the gear box to pull the house forward. The house, already placed on logs for rollers, was then pulled forward as the horse wound the cable around the pole. When they reached the pole, the process had to be repeated, and more logs placed under the house. The entire process could take days to complete. Most people moved their houses to Brusly or Plaquemine. Some of the houses were dismantled and rebuilt, but each process took time and work. Most of the houses were rolled out. By 1936, when the Victor Comeaux family moved, all residents had been relocated. As the last family left, the land was left to the ravages of the mighty Mississippi River. Since, the land has flooded many times, resulting in the loss of hundreds of pecan and fruit trees.
A visitor to the Point today would never know that it had once been a thriving, bustling place filled with life. The casual observer would see Sardine Point as a wasteland, fit only for grazing cattle. However, to a former resident, many memories of a happy life remain. Some wonder what it would have been like if the government decided to rebuild the fourteen-mile levee.
The images and words in this video greatly detail the devastating effects of the Great Flood of 1927 on residents in Louisiana:
Photo of a house on Patureau Lane in Plaquemine during the flood
Photo credit: Margaret Bourgoyne Blanchard
Patureau Lane in Plaquemine