In 1778, the Spanish crown published “El Tributo de Sangre” (The tribute of blood), this ominous sounding edict outlined that for each ton of cargo sent from America to Spain, five Canary Island families of five members each had to emigrate to America.
Between 1778 and 1783 roughly 2,100 émigrés from the Canary Islands, arrived in La Concepcion, Louisiana
They called the settlement Terre-aux-Boeufs but in 1784 changed the name to St Bernard at the behest of the wealthiest man in New Orleans: Pierre Philippe de Marigny.
The male Isleños were conscripted into the Spanish military to repel the coming British invasion (Spain had declared war on England on May 8th 1779).
Louisiana’s governor, Bernardo de Galvez, arranged for their settlement taking care that the colonists received small (depending on the size of the family) parcels of land, cloth, monies, and tools that could be used as implements.
Pierre Phillipe de Marigny donated the lands to Charles III, the King Of Spain whose 30 year reign was drawing to a close
The Isleños quickly adapted themselves to life in Louisiana, and our rich riparian soil was put to good use for the planting of beans, garlic, potatoes and onions.
St Bernard Parish also became a large hunting ground as the Isleños proved to be adept woodsmen. If you were eating duck in a restaurant in New Orleans during this time rest assured an Isleño had shot it from the skies of ‘da parish’
By the early 19th century there were more people of Canarian extraction in the Americas than in the Canary Islands themselves.
This Friday, Oct 21st 2016, Los Islenos Heritage and Cultural Society is throwing a fete in the historic St. Bernard Parish Courthouse near Chalmette.
Tickets are $35 and will feature foods from Arabi Food Store
Call Mrs. Lena Torres Nunez at (504) 491–5266 for reservations
If you like reading about the history of our great state check out “Louisiana The First 300 Years” by Joan B. Garvey and Mary Lou Widmer
we found two St Bernard Parish ladies running an Isleno restaurant in Picayune, Mississippi of all places.