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In the neutral ground of Louisiana 46 (near Paris Road) are several brick piers, the sole remains of Versailles, the sixteen-room plantation house built in 1805 by Pierre Denis de la Ronde, destroyed by fire in 1876. Extending from the ruins toward the river is the allee of oaks planted c. 1821 by de la Ronde. The trees are known as both the de la Ronde Oaks and the Pakenham Oaks, named for British Major General Sir Edward Pakenham, who was incorrectly said to have died beneath one of the trees after his defeat by Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans (he died on the Chalmette battlefield). De la Ronde dreamed of creating two cities in this area that would overshadow and absorb New Orleans. The city focused around his plantation would be named Versailles, and the other, beside Lake Borgne, was to be called Paris. The modern highway Paris Road (LA 47) gets its name from the Chemin de Paris, the road planned by de la Ronde to link the two cities. Today near the river end of Paris Road is Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church (2320 Paris Road), designed by James Lamantia Jr. for Burk, Le Breton and Lamantia in 1957. The church’s gabled facade of colored glass is articulated with mullions, and a multifaceted roof encloses a column-free, amphitheater-like space; a recent barrel-vaulted addition is beside the church.

Writing Credits

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas

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