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True Stories on False River, Louisiana

Lake front property all around False River in Oscar, Louisiana.

The view up and down the False River lake in Oscar, Louisiana.

Pointe Coupée Museum | Sharon Henry

“False River is for fishing, skiing, swimming and… drowning!” says Kerrilyn Breazeale of the Pointe Coupée Museum. “It doesn’t happen often, maybe once a year. But you know, it gets so boring you kinda want to see a body floating along, just SOMETHING! You know?” she jokes. Kerrilyn’s obviously craving a little excitement in life.

What To See In Oscar, Louisiana

Born and raised in New Roads, Louisiana just four miles up the road she tells us she’s a Heinz 57 variety, “or pot liquor whatever you want to call it; I’m German, Jew, Russian, Scot and American Indian, I’ve got everything in me.”

Kerry-Lyn Breazeale of the Pointe Coupée museum, in Oscar, Louisiana, USA.

Kerrilyn Breazeale of the Pointe Coupée museum, in Oscar, Louisiana, USA.

We had popped into the museum and tourist centre here in Oscar, just north of Baton Rouge having been impressed by the picturesque lakefront properties lining Louisiana Highway 1 to find out about the area. That’s when we met Kerrilyn who was excited to welcome visitors.

False River and the Mississippi

“False River used to be part of the Mississippi River,” she tells us, “but in 1722 because of spring rains and high water it changed course.

One of the grand homes around False River, Louisiana.

One of the grand homes around False River, Louisiana.

There are little jetties all along the lakeshore.

There are little jetties all along the lakeshore.

“False River is actually now a lake that’s why it’s called ‘false.’ The homes around here are camps or belong to doctors, lawyers and such, usually from Lafayette, New Orleans or Baton Rouge. To rent one would be kind of steep. If you wanted to buy one, you’re talking almost a million,” she nods matter-of-factly.

Kerrilyn is very animated and speaks fast, it takes a beat to process what she’s just said, even so we hit if off from the get go.

Trying Not To Nod Off

“It’s great living in the area, I mean it’s quiet and peaceful, but when they have something going on, they have something going on; water sports, parades, festivals,” she concedes.

Inside the Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana, USA.

Inside the Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana, it’s quite small but full of stories.

Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana, USA.

Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana, USA.

The colourful map of False River and the Mississippi, displayed inside the museum.

The colourful map of False River and the Mississippi, displayed inside the museum.

An original 1800s bousillage wall is preserved behind glass.  Bousillage was used for insulation and is a mixture of horse and deer hair, mud and moss.

An original 1800s bousillage wall is preserved behind glass. Bousillage was used for insulation and is a mixture of horse and deer hair, mud and moss.

“What’s the biggest thing that happens here? I would say murder! Once in a while you have a murder. But it’s safe.

“Also I’d say, staying awake because it’s so boring! Yeah, that would be the biggest event, to stay awake.” The last census count in 2009 clocked a population of 900 in Oscar.

If you haven’t cottoned on by now, Kerrilyn has a crazy sense of humour, she’s a real character.

Allan Ramsey Wurtele and the Sugarcane Harvester

She tells us of Oscar’s most famous resident, Allan Ramsey Wurtele, inventor of the mechanical sugarcane harvester. “He was born and raised in Minnesota. In 1927 he saw in the paper 2,000 acres for sale in Pointe Coupee Parish that came with a house, bought it site as seen. Came down here, loved the area, noticed all the sugarcane and invented the sugarcane harvester. He authored ‘Continentalism: for Enduring Peace.’ He was in the navy for 14 years, he was a prolific man, very wise, I wish he were still alive and I wish he were our president,” Kerrilyn rounds off before rushing to open his book for us to inspect. “It’s amazing we would not have any taxes, no nothing. Yes, the man was amazing!” In 1974 Wurtele’s daughter donated this very museum building and land to the parish. His grave is on the grounds.

Table of contents of Allan Ramsey Wurtele's book, Continentalism: for Enduring Peace, written in 1944.  The definition of continentalism is the adoption of common policies, etc, among the countries of a single continent, lessening the independence of each country and promoting the unity of the continent. Other definition of continentalism is a characteristic of the inhabitants of Europe, such as a common viewpoint, etc.

Table of contents of Allan Ramsey Wurtele’s book, Continentalism: for Enduring Peace, written in 1944. The definition of continentalism is the adoption of common policies, etc, among the countries of a single continent, lessening the independence of each country and promoting the unity of the continent. Other definition of continentalism is a characteristic of the inhabitants of Europe, such as a common viewpoint, etc.

Allan Ramsey Wurtele is buried on the grounds of the Pointe Coupée museum.

Allan Ramsey Wurtele is buried on the grounds of the Pointe Coupée museum.

Model of the original Creole cottage, now the Pointe Coupee museum and tourist centre. The building is architecturally significant because it is a rare example of a log cabin type construction in a Creole type house. The original portion of the house dates from the early 19th century.

Model of the original Creole cottage, now the Pointe Coupee museum and tourist centre. The building is architecturally significant because it is a rare example of a log cabin type construction in a Creole type house. The original portion of the house dates from the early 19th century.

Kerrilyn has yet to travel outside of the US, “My husband keeps saying ‘you have to get a passport.’ I would love to go to England, it is my favourite place. I’m a big tea drinker, I love to shop (Harrod’s sounds great), and we both love art and antiques.

“The other place I’d like to go is Jamaica because my favourite musician is still Bob Marley.”

Another typical property on the shore of False River lake.

Another typical property on the shore of False River lake.

The Pointe Coupée museum is small and informal and has a lovely view across False River from the back porch. The property is an old Creole cottage that dates back to the 1800s. Two rooms exhibit the interior of a typical home of the time.

It's been brilliant meeting Kerry-Lyn and learning about Oscar at the Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana.

It’s been brilliant meeting Kerrilyn and learning about Oscar at the Pointe Coupée museum, Louisiana.

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