The Legacies of Slave-holding POC in Louisiana- Morgan Aguillard

Slavery in Baton Rouge

The Legacies of Slave-holding POC in Louisiana- Morgan Aguillard

Morganza, Louisiana 70759, United States

Created By: LSU


The legacies of free, slave-holding, POC in Antebellum Louisiana is arguably one of the most overlooked, but also most intriguing aspects of slave-holding societies in Louisiana.

Throughout the Louisiana Antebellum era, up through the Civil War era, and until the Reconstruction period was a peculiar time for free POC living in Louisiana. Concentrated in East and West Baton Rouge Parishes, as well as Pointe Coupee and Iberville parishes. Despite what is commonly believed, there were instances of POC not only living freely but thriving and flourishing in doing. Some of these individuals became some of the richest black people in Louisiana during this time; others ran plantation empires, and some simply continued to pass on their status and wealth to their descendants. On this driving tour, you will embark on a journey from Pointe-Coupee Parish and end in West Baton Rouge Parish, in an attempt to get a small glimpse into the lives of some free POC during the era of southern slave societies.

In the year 1783, a purchase of 1800 acres of farmable land from a group of local native Americans was made on Fausse Riviere, or False River. Approximately 53 years later, a free man of color, named Antoine DeCuir, would go on to cultivate this same land; this 1783 land purchase from native Americans was done by his father. Spanning from approximately, 1832-35, DeCuir would undergo the construction of his plantation that would take the eventual name Austerlitz Plantation, located in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Decuir was quite wealthy and was born into a family of mixed race, having "mulatto," or "quadroon" features. Decuir also happens to be my fifth great-uncle. Riverlake Plantation House was also owned by a free man of color living in Pointe Coupee Parish, Joseph Decuir; the plantation is believed to have been constructed from 1820 to 1845. Joseph Decuir was actually the brother of Antione Decuir, making Joseph Decuir my paternal fifth-great grandfather. Riverlake is a Creole-style plantation and an antebellum mansion, located along False River in Pointe Coupee Parish.

The most fruitful legacy, however, must be afforded to Antoine Dublecet (1810-1887) and his wife Claire Dublecet/Polard. Born near Baton Rouge, LA, Dublecet was born to both a free mother and father. His father co-owned a lucrative sugar plantation that Antoine inherited, and when he married Claire Pollard in the mid-1830s they together built a plantation empire. Claire Pollard was a wealthy free Black woman who owned her own plantation with an estimated 44 slaves. Together they managed both plantations, growing his wealth considerably, until Claire passed away in 1852. Despite this, his empire continued on. By 1860, Dublecet owned more than 100 slaves and was Louisiana’s wealthiest slaveholder. Their nine children were all educated in France, and two of their sons became medical doctors.

In retrospect, the significance the Decuir, Pollard, and Dublecet families hold in Louisiana is substantial. They represent a segment of society that often never receives the attention nor spotlight it deserves. For these free POC in Antebellum Louisiana to flourish in this says a lot about society during the slave era. First, it can be assumed that being of "mixed-race" or "mulatto" descent afforded many POC an avenue to escape slavery and pursuit a life of freedom. Secondly, the presence of these peoples also affirms the idea that free POC not only had to be productive members of society but also often had to outperform their neighbors in order to retain their free status in society. Finally, the presence of wealthy, affluent, and educated families and communities of POC in Louisiana offers a glimpse into a neglected portion of the antebellum south: despite living alongside the institution of slavery, free POC in Louisiana contributed profoundly not only to the history of African Americans but they singlehandedly shaped the narrative of black peoples within Louisiana slave societies beyond recognition.


“Austerlitz Plantation, State Highway 1, Oscar, Pointe Coupee Parish, LA.” The Library of Congress. Accessed May 12, 2022.

“10 Black Slaveowners That Will Tear Apart Historical Perception.”, October 17, 2021.

“Austerlitz Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish Laif(Typeof ez_ad_units!='Undefined'){ez_ad_units.Push([[970,250],'hometownlocator_com-Box-2','ezslot_0',656,'0','0'])};If(Typeof __ez_fad_position!='Undefined'){__ez_fad_position('Div-GPT-Ad-hometownlocator_com-Box-2-0')};” Austerlitz Plantation (in Pointe Coupee Parish, LA). Accessed May 12, 2022.,ftc,2,fid,546209,n,austerlitz%20plantation.cfm.

“Austerlitz Plantation, Pointe Coupee Parish about 1972.” Louisiana Digital Library. Accessed May 12, 2022.

“Austerlitz Plantation, State Highway 1, Oscar, Pointe Coupee Parish, LA.” The Library of Congress. Accessed May 12, 2022.

Rick Chromey. “Antoine Dubuclet, Jr.: The Cajun Savior of Louisiana.” Rick Chromey, February 14, 2022.

“Search Results from Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, Available Online.” The Library of Congress. Accessed May 12, 2022.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Antoine Decuir. Riverlake Plantation, Oscar, Pointe Coupee Parish, LA. Pointe Coupee Parish Louisiana Oscar, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph.

Ricard, Ulysses S. “The Pointe Coupée Slave Conspiracy of 1791.” Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society 15 (1992): 116–29.

Seebold, Herman de Bachellé. Old Louisiana Plantation Homes and Family Trees. United States: Pub. priv. [Pelican Press, Incorporated, 1941.

Vincent, Charles. “Aspects of the Family and Public Life of Antoine Dubuclet: Louisiana’s Black State Treasurer, 1868-1878.” The Journal of Negro History 66, no. 1 (1981): 26–36.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Slavery in Baton Rouge


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