History buffs tell how Des Allemands’ Black Prince Island got its name

January 07, 2011 at 9:31 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A Des Allemands native who plans on writing a history of the area said he discovered the true meaning behind Black Prince Island during his research.

Roy Lunk, 71, has spent his entire life living on Bayou Des Allemands and has always been fascinated with the culture of the community. In fact, Lunk plans on writing a book on how that culture has changed over the years.

“At one time the oil fields were big here, then they faded, but the people of Des Allemands adapted,” he said. “Now, we have all these fishermen that live here and they find ways to make it work.”

While researching the Des Allemands history of the 1800s, Lunk found a lot of information on the early Indian settlers, which had three separate tribes. One of those tribes, the Ouachas, lived around what is now known as Black Prince Island.

“Their chief was a man named Louis Arouet Prince Noir,” Lunk said. “So the island came to be known as Black Prince Island after him.”

Lunk said that the Ouachas were a wandering tribe that lived in the area between 1800-1900. They were eventually driven from Des Allemands by the influx of whites.

“The U.S. government set them and the other tribes up with a 283 acre reservation in Charrington and most of them moved there,” Lunk said.

Lunk has been researching his book for two years and said he has spoken to several older Des Allemands residents for a first-hand account of the early 1900s. For history that dates back further, Lunk can often be found researching records at the courthouse.

But Lunk isn't the only one who offered up a theory on how the Des Allemands island got its name.

Junior Thompson has also lived in Des Allemands his entire life and said that his grandfather told him tales of a gunboat that might have traveled near the island.

Around 40 prison ships were sent out to sea by Edward the Black Prince of Wales. Most of these ships disappeared, and Thompson said that it's possible one landed on Black Prince Island during or after the time of Edward's reign.

“Throughout the years we have found a few cannon balls between Bayou Gauche and Des Allemands and they seem to date from a time period before the Civil War,” Thompson said. “We have also found a lot of balance rocks, which were used on the bottom of older ships to keep them balanced when items were loaded or unloaded.

“I'm not sure if any of those ships showed up here, but there seems to be a good possibility.”

Thompson said at that time the people of Wales were known for naming land after their Black Prince.

Another resident, Shay Messer Posey, also believes there could be a connection to the Prince of Wales.

“The lavish Black Prince (Edward Woostock/Prince of Wales) owned an island ‘The Mysterious Island' and fought the French in the 100-year war, so maybe it was a name for a fancy advertisement to get people to move there,” she said.

If you have any other theories on how Black Prince Island got its name, contact the Herald-Guide at (985)758-2795.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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