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Give Me Some Sugar—Cane

Some interesting facts while I am working on #GrandmaProject

sugarcane

While I’m pursuing my #GrandmaProject, I thought it would be fun to take a quick “trip” to Louisiana and learn some cool things about sugarcane (and interesting facts related to sugarcane). 

Etienne de Bore was born in the Illinois Territory of Louisiana—Illinois was part of the French held territory called Louisiana from 1673-1765. His parents sent him to France to study. French Aristocrats in the colonies typically sent their sons to Paris for an education. Once he finished school, Etienne was named as one of the French King’s Mousquetaires (guardsmen) —a title only given to men of noble birth, so it was quite prestigious.

Etienne returned to Louisiana in 1768. but it had changed a lot. It was held by the Spanish instead of the French then, so he took a ship back to Paris right away. There he rose in rank to Captain of the Cavalry. However, when he married Marie Marguerite, the daughter of the French Royal Treasurer of New Orleans, he decided to come back to Louisiana.

They lived on the plantation that Marie Marguerite inherited. It was located six miles upriver from the French Quarter, where Audubon Park is today. Etienne planted Indigo at first but soon realized sugarcane was a much better cash crop. So, in 1795, the former King’s Mousquetaire and Captain of Cavalry in France figured out how to successfully granulate sugarcane in the Louisiana climate. He transformed the production of sugar forever and sold the first batch for $12,000, an outrageous amount of money at the time. Then, after the Louisiana purchase took place, Etienne became the first Mayor of New Orleans. Today, Etienne de Bore’s name is synonymous with the granulation of sugarcane in Louisiana.

The factories on sugar plantations converted cane into raw sugar and then they could also make rum form that molasses. In the early days, Louisiana plantation owners distilled their own crude rum— the French called it tafia. They brewed up large batches for big parties at their mansions.

As sugar production grew more sophisticated, small sugar mills popped up throughout southeast Louisiana. By 1850, there were over 1,200 mills in the state. And instead of all of them throwing out all that molasses, industrious sugar mill owners bought some distillation equipment and made rum. But by the end of the Civil War, most mills and rum-stills were destroyed by Union soldiers.

During the 19th century, sugar plantations cultivated 105,000 tons throughout the sugar bowl region. By 1861, that figure climbed to 230,000 tons,  which generated $25 million (it would be about half a billion today). More than half of that passed through New Orleans.

Nowadays, sugarcane sales contribute over $2 billion annually to the Louisiana economy. Sugarcane is grown on over 400,000 acres of land in 22 parishes that produce about 13 million tons per year. Also, there’re 11 raw sugar factories in the state and about 17,000 people in Louisiana are employed in the sugarcane industry in production and processing. 

And, that sugar is used for a lot of yummy things. One of them is to coat delicious beignets in powder sugar. Café du Monde, the Big Easy’s oldest coffeehouse has served coffee and sweet beignets since 1862. So, New Orleans is known for its sugar as much as it is for its Cajun and Creole spices.

So there you go! Now you know more about sugarcane than you probably wanted to know! lol

I hope November is treating you well while I am getting grandkid hugs and kisses!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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Take a trip to New Orleans with me!

 

 

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