Early History


Like any coastal area, southern Louisiana is dotted with
barrier islands like Grand Terre
and Grand Isle and chenieres such as Chénière Caminada commonly called La Chénière
(The Chénière) because it was the most prominent one.  Cheniere is a local word meaning
“oak ridge.”

In 1763 Monsieur Du Rollin was given a land grant to The Chénière which was later sold to
Francisco Caminada who gave it his name.  Land on Grand Isle wasn’t mentioned until the
1780’s when the Louisiana Territory was under Spanish control.  The Spanish encouraged
colonization, so land grants split the island among four men: Jacques Rigaud, Joseph
Caillet, Francisco Anfrey and Charles Dufrene.


Original Land Grants of Grand Isle


Taken from Grand Isle on the Gulf: An Early History by Evans, Stielow & Swanson.


Grand Isle was separated from the finger of The Chénière by a narrow body of water
called “the spit” because it was narrow enough to spit across.  

Grand Isle was settled by the descendants of the original owners as well as other French
Creoles.  Caminadaville was settled by Acadians who had migrated down the bayou from
the Acadian coast as well as Creoles and immigrants from other countries.  

Early settlers of Chénière Caminada probably also included some of Jean
Lafitte’s men.  
Lafitte and his band of pirates, or privateers as they wished to be called, had a base on
Grand Terre but also frequented Grand Isle and Chénière Caminada.  Researching the true
pirate history of the area is difficult because, as
Grace King wrote in her memories of
Chénière Caminada in 1894, “such people do not keep official certificates of themselves”.

Grand Isle Homepage
Kate Chopin Homepage