Forked Island and Cow Island (Story and Questions)


Forked Island and Cow Island (Louisiana)

What do you know about the communities of Forked Island and Cow Island? Both are small communities in Vermilion Parish. Let’s learn a little about each area.
Forked Island

Jules Schexnayder and his family were the first pioneers to settle in Forked Island. They raised 22 children south of the Intracoastal Canal. Later other families came. The families of Onezime Gaspard, Theodore Rung, Helire Broussard, Remy Hebert, Lodias Stelly Sr., Columbus Dartez, Anatole Touchet, Arville Suire, and Oneal Sicily settled there too.

One resource in the area was rice. Rice was planted on Forked Island around 1920. Unlike like today’s machines, the first crops were cut by hand, using sickles. At times there were as many as 40 men working in the same field.

The first road to Forked Island was built around 1917. A new and better road was built in the 1930’s under Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. That was the primary road for years.

Then around 1970, the Louisiana Legislature in wanted to see improved hurricane evacuation routes for low-lying areas of south Louisiana. Another road was planned. Ground was broken in December 1973 for the Forked Island Bridge over the Intracoastal Canal.
School in Forked Island was first taught in one room in the home of Mrs. (Mim) Nelson Harrington.

A one-room school was built in 1910. The school was later enlarged to two rooms, then three rooms. In 1936, the Forked Island Elementary school was built on the south side of the Intracoastal Canal. Classes were held there until 1982, when Forked Island and Cow Island Elementary schools were combined into the Forked Island-E. Broussard Elementary School.

Forked Island's first store, owned by Mrs. Harrington, was located northwest of the Intracoastal Canal. Shortly after Mrs. Harrington's store opened, the Ducre Prejean Store and the Keno Nunez Store opened in the same general area. Martin Primeaux opened the first store south of the Intracoastal Canal in the early 1920s.

Other stores which followed there were those of Saul Prejean, Gaston Dartez, and Lodias Stelly Jr.
The Forked Island area had no church until 1933. Church services were held at the school on Sunday mornings. Around 1933, the Immaculate Conception Church was built. A new one was built in 1965.

Forked Island has a fire department in the area.
Cow Island

The first family to come to Cow Island was that of Pierre LaPoint, probably in the middle or late 1840s. The first family to come to Cow Island was that of Pierre LaPoint, probably in the middle or late 1840s. He chose for his home a hill where herds of wild cattle roamed. Within a few years there were also Gaspard, Broussard, and Nunez families at the place.

One person who lived in the community from 1850 to 1906 was Ernest Broussard. He raised a family of 10 children and was the owner of thousands of acres and large herds of cattle.

About 1900, three one-room schools were built at Cow Island: the Harrington School, the Odelon School, and the Broussard School. Each neighborhood hired its own teacher. In 1918, the Cow Island community approved a tax to consolidate them in one school. The schools combined and it was named the Ernest Broussard Agriculture School. In 1930, a school bus route was started from the E. Broussard School to Abbeville High School. Six years later in 1936, a new building was constructed and E. Broussard became a high school. The first graduation was in 1938.

St. Anne Catholic Church is a Catholic Church in Cow Island.

Many terrible things happened through the years. In 1917 World War 1 began. In 1941 World War II began. The Korean War began in 1950. The Vietnam War began in 1965 and in 1991 men fought in the Gulf War and many have served since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Many area residents have survived many tragedies with fires, hurricanes, floods and sicknesses.

Both Forked Island and Cow Island both have interesting facts about their communities. Can you remember some of the facts?