“Etier’s Bend” as remembered by Will Etier, ca., 1964

Era No. 10 (Packet, 1868-1892) – Burned and lost at Rayville, Louisiana, January 8, 1892

“Etier’s Bend” as remembered by Will Etier, ca., 1964 in “By the Boeuf with Beth”

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 08 Feb 1964, Sat  •  Page 7

Far down in the south end of the parish, the Boeuf meanders around Etier’s Bend, named for Alexander Etier who homesteaded here in the 1800s.

The Etiers Came from France

Etier's Bend - By the Boeuf with BethEtier’s Bend – By the Boeuf with Beth Sat, Feb 8, 1964 – 7 · The Richland Beacon-News (Rayville, Louisiana) · Newspapers.com

How About the Steamboats?

Seated by the open fireplace where a log burned slowly, we sipped black coffee Mrs. Etier had served us. Mr. Etier spieled off some French and momentarily I felt like I was in south Louisiana.

“What do you remember about the steamboats?” I asked Mr. Will.

His eyes brightened.

“Oh I remember all of them,” he said. “The Era No. 10, I remember when she burned up there in McElroy’s Bend. She was loaded with cotton. Burned bales of cotton floated by here a long time.”

The cause of the fire on the steamboat, Mr. Etier thought may have started from burning brush on the river bank. Sparks ignited the bales of cotton stacked on the boat deck.

“In 1907 or ’08, ‘The Jim’ with 1,200 bales of cotton on board sank just below rocky shoals, there at the mouth of Woolen Lake. In low water, they raised her up and returned to New Orleans,” Mr. Etier said.

Rocky shoals in Boeuf River was news to me. Mr. Etier tells me the gravel was pumped out and sold to Caldwell Parish for road construction. Then he went on, “I believe the last steamboat to pass here was ‘The Clifford’ operated by Capt. Swazey in 1935.”

“Yes, they were good old days. I can remember when my brother and I’d be picking cotton, he’d wish for the boat to come and bring us molasses.”

Etier’s Bend (Shown on map)

Bird Hunting on the Boeuf

Mr. Etier mentioned the days of bird hunting when egrets inhabited areas around nearby lakes and bayous.

“Could sell the feathers for as much as $18,” he said.

Along about noontime, we got up to leave. Outside was the good smelling odor of wood smoke. Down a steep bank, muddy water in the Boeuf rippled downstream. We climbed in the car and cranked up to go.

Mr. Etier looked fondly at the Boeuf and said, “The first Ford I saw went by here on a steamboat.”

3 replies »

  1. A friend posted this website link on Facebook and I saw it tonight. I am very interested in this particular article from the Beacon.I want to know if this was an interview with my grandfather, Willie Alexander Etier Sr. (known as Will Etier by most people). My father was Willie Alexander Etier Jr. (known as George or Willie all of his life though).I was born in Rayville, Louisiana and raised in Hebert, Louisiana. I did a research paper in college on my family’s history and I never saw a copy of this article.Please let me know more about the article or book: “By the Boeuf with Beth”.Thank you, Maggie Etier Harris

    • Hi Maggie! These columns were written by Elizabeth Wynn Gunby. They were weekly columns in the Richland Beacon News 👍🏻

  2. Hello my name is Dorisjeanwilks@hotmail.com, and my late father was the last surviving child of the late Harry Etier, cousin to Frank Etier. We are from the slavery side of the Etier Family. My late father’s family were from Richland, Parrish, with French side of family in Rayville, Louisiana. I think my late father’s family resided in Mer Rouge, Louisiana at one point in time.

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