Frenchtown Community, The
2900 Quitman Rd and US 59 north frontage road
Houston , 77020
Not in HCHC database, added per THC Locations list # 89816 sent by Will Howard, entry on 1-6-2008; Marker not installed, dedication set for May 31, 2008 postponed rescheduled for Dec. 6, 2008 & again for Feb. 21, 2009; information in THC Atlas erroneous, wrong date, county, title, etc.
Directions: marker on northbound feeder (east side) of Hwy 59/Eastex Fwy at Quitman/Liberty Road, on triangular esplanade at Liberty/Quitman "Y" near sheltered Metro stop
Key Time Period: 1920 - 1940 Post-WW I & Depression
Marker Text: A distinct ethnic cultural group, "Creoles of Color," developed in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries. With roots in French, Spanish and Native American cultures, they spoke standard or Creole French and practices Catholicism. Free persons before the Civil War, they lost their special status with the onset of Jim Crow laws, and many turned to sharecropping to survive but suffered further with declining agricultural prices and drought. Escaping the devastating 1927 Mississippi River flood, many fled west via highways and rail lines.
In Houston, they took jobs in industries related to oil, construction and railroads. They established a tight-knit, culturally unique community called Frenchtown, today bounded by Collingsworth Street, Russell Street, Liberty Road, Quitman Street and Jensen Drive. In 1929, residents built Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, which later established a parochial school. Families maintained their cultural identity by marrying within the community and closely supporting their neighbors. They held la-las, social gatherings centered on food and music, to raise funds for building new homes. Zydeco music, a blending of Creole la-la and the blues, also played a vital role in distinguishing this community.
Frenchtown began to lose its identity as a Creole enclave after World War II as segregation ended, U.S. Highway 59 expanded and more non-Creole families moved here. Later, the popularity of Zydeco music and a renewed interest in Creole culture brought attention to this unique community and led to various preservation efforts. The Frenchtown Community Association has aided in the reclaiming of this vibrant, distinctive area of Houston. (2007)
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 494 A
GPS Coordinates: 29 47.057, 95 20.354
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 14055