The Twentieth Century


1901—Oil is discovered in Louisiana.

1904—St. Rose Plantation, located near St. Rose Avenue, is demolished.

1911—George Cousin’s Lumber Camp is established behind Lakewood West Subdivision.

1912—The Hymelia Crevasse begins on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. near the St. Charles/St. John parish line.

1912—On November 11, a massive train wreck occurs in Montz.

1914—World War I begins.

1914—Destrehan Plantation property is sold to Mexican Petroleum Company for the establishment of an oil refinery.

1915—The “Great West Indian Hurricane” ravages south Louisiana on September 28.

1916—The New Orleans Refining Company acquires Good Hope Plantation property to establish a marine petroleum supply terminal.

1917—First Flood Control Act enacted as a result of Bonnet Carré, Hymelia, and other crevasses.

1917—Congress declares war against Germany.

1917—After twenty-seven years of interdiction, St. Charles Borromeo Church Parish is reinstated to the diocese.

1918—After forty-one years of closure due to fire and interdiction, Red Church is assigned Father John Basty as pastor.

1918—Louisiana Legislative Act 114 bans use of the German language in churches, schools, and newspapers.

1918—Cousin’s Lumber Camp closes.

1919—Carson Petroleum begins operating on the site of old Cedar Grove Plantation, St. Rose.

1921—Present-day St. Charles Borromeo Church is built; old Red Church is torn down in the later twenties.

1921—The courthouse is renovated and expanded.

1922—Cities Service Oil Company begins operating in St. Rose at Carson site.

1923—Bank of Hahnville is established.

1924—Destrehan and Hahnville Public High Schools are established for white students.

1925—General American Tank Storage Terminal and General American Transportation Company begin operation in Good Hope.

1927—The Great Mississippi River Flood affects the nation and initiates planning for construction of the Bonnet Carré Spillway.

1927—Prospect Plantation (Good Hope) is torn down in a levee setback project.

1928—Flood Control Act of 1928 marks the beginning of the end to serious flooding in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

1929—Bank of Good Hope is established.

1929—Bonnet Carré Spillway construction begins in July.

1929—The Great Depression begins in October.

1929—St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School opens in Destrehan as the first private, parochial school in the parish.

1929—Shell Petroleum Corporation, forerunner of Shell Oil Company, acquires the New Orleans Refining Company facility and it becomes
            Shell Norco Refinery.

1933—The federal government establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

1935—Colonial Dairy opens in Taft and becomes one of the largest dairies in Louisiana.

1935—Dr. John Earle Clayton builds Claytonia, a large and stately residence north of Airline Highway in Norco.

1935—The federal government establishes the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

1936—Bonnet Carré Spillway is completed.

1937—President Franklin Roosevelt visits the spillway project in Norco.

1938—Fire destroys Alice Plantation in Ama.

1938—The Mississippi River levee setback claims riverfront properties in Luling.

1938—Texaco drilling operations in Paradis Field begins.

1938—Bayou Des Allemands Oil Field is discovered.

1939—Paradis Oil Field is discovered.

1939—World War II begins.

1941—The United States enters World War II as Pearl Harbor is bombed by Japan.

1948—St. Charles Borromeo High School opens in Destrehan.

1949—St. Charles Parish Waterworks District I is created by the police jury.

1950—Korean War begins in June.

1951—Bethune High School in Norco and Carver High School in Hahnville are established for black students.

1952—Lion Oil Company begins construction of its facility in Luling and merges with Monsanto in 1955.

1955—Shell Chemical Company opens in Norco.

1955—First parish library opens in Hahnville as a “demonstration library.” Charlotte Gaylord serves as the first librarian.

1957—Edward A. Dufresne, Sr., builds Esperanza Plantation House in Luling. It remains a working plantation (2010) on which sugar cane has 
            been grown since circa 1763.

1958—American Oil Company closes its refinery in Destrehan.

1959—Earl K. Long visits the parish.

1960—Bunge Grain Elevator opens.

1960—The Louisiana legislature establishes the South Louisiana Port Commission authorizing management of a public deep-draft port on the 
            Mississippi River for the three river parishes: St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist.

1961—United States special military force build-up begins in Vietnam.

1962—Local independent union at Shell Oil Company strikes and later joins the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW), a national union.

1964—President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1965—First United States combat troops arrive in Vietnam.

1965—Hurricane Betsy devastates south Louisiana. St. Charles Parish is ravaged and a tragic fire destroys Claytonia in Norco during the storm.

1965—Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church moves from Taft to Hahnville.

1966—Union Carbide Company, now Dow–St. Charles Operations, opens in Taft on the site of the old Providence and Star Plantations.

1966—Hooker Chemical, now Occidental Chemical, purchases the old Colonial Dairy site.

1968—The River Road Historical Society is organized with the purpose of preserving and restoring Destrehan Plantation. Foundress Wayne   
            Gaupp serves as the first president of the historical society.

1969—Parish public schools are integrated.

1970—Bunge Grain Elevator in Destrehan explodes, killing one and severely injuring two others.

1971—American Oil Refinery donates the deteriorating Destrehan Plantation house to the River Road Historical Society.

1973—All bays of the Bonnet Carré Spillway are opened to avoid major flooding downriver.

1973—Perriloux Plantation in Montz is torn down in a levee setback project.

1973—St. Charles Borromeo Parish celebrates its 250th anniversary.

1974—Luling/Destrehan Bridge construction begins.

1974—Waterford III Nuclear Power Plant permitted for construction on the site of the former Waterford Plantation.

1974—Voters approve a new Louisiana Constitution.

1976—The parish celebrates America’s bicentennial; President Gerald Ford visits the parish.

1976—The new Destrehan and Hahnville High Schools open.

1976—On October 20, the Frosta, a Norwegian freighter, hits the George Prince ferry as it crosses the river from Destrehan to Luling.

1976—The new courthouse opens and the old courthouse is demolished.

1977—Voters approve the St. Charles Parish Home Rule Charter.

1977–78—West and east regional libraries are built.

1978—Implementation of the new Home Rule Charter government begins on January 7.

1980—The first parish president and council members assume office on June 2.

1983—Luling/Destrehan Bridge opens on October 6 as the first cable-stayed structure to cross the Mississippi River with the longest cable-    
            stayed span in the United States.

1983—Ferry service is discontinued on November 13.

1983—Good Hope Refinery conducts a major buyout of homeowners’ property in the town of Good Hope. 

1984—Luling/Destrehan Bridge is officially dedicated as the Hale Boggs Bridge by Act 346 of the 1984 Louisiana legislature.

1985—Hurricane Juan causes major flooding in the parish.

1985—Waterford III Nuclear Power Plant at Taft opens on September 26.

1988—The May 5 catalytic converter (“cat cracker”) explosion at Shell Oil Refinery in Norco impacts most parish communities.

1990—St. Charles Borromeo Parish celebrates the 250th anniversary of its patron saint.

1992—Hurricane Andrew causes extensive damage to southeast Louisiana.

1995—Record rainfall on May 8, referred to as a five-hundred year flood, inundates St. Charles and surrounding parishes.

1996—St. Charles Historical Foundation is established.

1996—The Olympic Torch passes through St. Charles Parish on the way to Atlanta.

1997—Construction begins below Luling on the Davis Freshwater Diversion Structure.

1998—Shell Norco Museum opens.

1999—Denver and Champion historic luggers (cypress boats) are donated to the parish by the Victor Matherne Family of Des Allemands.

2001—On September 11, terrorist attacks on the East Coast paralyze the nation.

2001—Two Catholic pastors from St.Charles Borromeo and St.Gertrude drown in a boating accident.

2002—The Shell buyout of Diamond and other Norco properties is finalized.

2003—Valero, a Fortune 500 diversified energy corporation, opens in the parish with the purchase of the defunct Orion Refinery.

2003—The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial is celebrated in St.Charles Parish.

2003—The German Coast Farmers Market opens on June 7.

2005—Hurricane Katrina strikes southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29. Several weeks later, Hurricane Rita wrecks    
            havoc on southwest Louisiana.

2007—The St. Charles Museum and Historical Association is established from the merger of River Road Shell Museum and St. Charles 
            Historical Foundation.

2007—The two-hundredth anniversary of the civil parish of St.Charles Parish is celebrated on March 31.

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