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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:27

Nestled along the peaceful Bayou Teche in St. Mary Parish is the parish seat, Franklin. Founded in 1808 and named for one of the United States’ founding fathers, Ben Franklin, this Cajun country city became home to many


Franklinof South Louisiana’s wealthiest sugar planters. With a population now nearing 9,000, Franklin’s historic district includes over 400 notable structures. The area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, features Greek Revival architecture on many of the antebellum homes that line East Main Street. Of special interest are the beautiful, moss-draped, centuries-old live oaks that front many of these beautiful mansions.

The Grevemberg House is probably the most outstanding example of antebellum architecture. Standing among stately oaks, it was constructed in 1851 by a local attorney and is now maintained by the St. Mary Chapters of Louisiana Landmarks. The home features guided tours and an interesting museum on site.

You’ll note in the picture above that the city proudly retains its early 20th Century iron street light standards in the medians along East Main Street. You’ll recognize them as soon as you reach the center of the city.

For a relatively small Louisiana town, Franklin has had its share of notable Louisiana and National figures. It has been the home to five Louisiana governors, four U.S. senators, one Lieutenant Governor, and a Chief Justice. The President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, spent his childhood along the beautiful Bayou Tech in Franklin.

Sugar still remains as one of Franklin’s primary industries. It shares the economic support from oil, gas, carbon black, salt, and seafood. Franklin’s unique location on the Atchafalaya Basin welcomes fisherman, hunters, and water sports enthusiasts year round. The Fairfax Memorial Boat Landing provides access into the Franklin Canal leading to the Atchafalaya marshes and delta areas.

During the early part of November each year, the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra performs a free outdoor Harvest Moon Fest recognizing the efforts of the farmers and fishermen of area. The fest is sponsored by the city and downtown merchants and includes music, food, and childrens’ activities. There is also a bass fishing tournament held in conjunction with the festival and it is sponsored by the Louisiana Bass Anglers Society.

Along the Bayou Teche be sure to locate the Hanson House (114 Main Street), an antebellum cottage now including wonderful bed and breakfast hospitality. The home was built in 1849 by an English naval captain who traded goods along Bayou Teche. Very soon after, the structure was purchased by Albert Hanson who built several additions which now represent its present size. The home is presently owned and operated by Colonel Clarence Kemper and wife Bette. The colonel is the great-great-grandson of Albert Hanson and he and wife, Bette are outstanding hosts who promise spacious rooms, a peaceful stay and generous plantation breakfast. The Kempers were featured in a recent article about noteworthy B & B’s throughout the South.

Area eateries include the Forest Restaurant at 1905 West Main. The Forest has been around many years and features Cajun cuisine, seafood and a scrumptious breakfast buffet. For lunch at 710 Main Street you’ll find Polito’s Cafe seving the famous New Orleans’ muffaletta’s, poboys, and fresh salads. The Main Street Cafe’ features great sandwiches, soups, and salads and is located at 607 Main Street.

Franklin is less than two hours from New Orleans, located between Lafayette and Morgan City along scenic US 90. Be sure to include Franklin on the Tech in your itinerary for at least a day trip if not overnight.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 16:18