Westwego, Louisiana

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Westwego is a city in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States, and a suburb of New Orleans. The population was 10,763 at the 2000 census. It lies along the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Contents

Geography

Westwego is located at 29°54′11″N 90°8′35″W / 29.90306°N 90.14306°W / 29.90306; -90.14306 (29.902986, -90.142932)[2] and has an elevation of 0 feet (0.0 m)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km²): 3.2 square miles (8.3 km²) of it is land, and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (10.64%) is water.

Name

One story states generally that Westwego was so named because it was a major crossing point on the Mississippi river during the great westward movement of the late 19th century. When travelers were asked their destination, they would often reply "west we go". Another more specific tale, recounted in John Churchill Chase's Frenchmen, Desire Good, Children[4] is that the name was the specific outcome of an 1871 meeting of a railroad board of directors in New York, where planning was undertaken to use the site as an eastern terminus ("...west we go from there"). There has been further speculation that this use of "Westwego" as a place name may have been influenced by the board members' familiarity with the name of Oswego, New York.

History

The area of Westwego, Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before Europeans settled here. These indigenous people created huge shells middens that can still be seen in the vicinity today. The French first developed the area in 1719 when French Minister of State LeBlanc started a plantation and a port along the Mississippi River. The port became an important site in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The estate was later owned by the Zeringue family who turned it into bustling sugar plantation, known as Seven Oaks. Planter Camille Zeringue built a canal at the plantation that played a prominent role in the community's history for decades. Other antebellum plantations in the area included the Whitehouse Plantation, Magnolia Lane, and the LaBranche Plantation among others. After Camille Zeringue's death, Seven Oaks was owned by Pablo Sala who divided the property along the canal into lots, which he sold for $40 each. Many of these lots were purchased by displaced hurricane victims from Cheniere Caminada whose homes were destroyed in the great unnamed 1893 storm. With the addition of these families, who were mostly fisherman and trappers, the community of Salaville was born.

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