(The Zephirin Toups, Sr. Oaks are located on an unmarked property approximately at 2115 LA. Highway 308. This is a group of 5-6 oaks set back in a line, about 200 feet from the highway with sugarcane fields behind. The Joachim Oak and Telesphore Oaks are on the property immediately next door or south of these oaks.)
I identify these trees as the Zephirin Toups, Sr. oaks because this was the original location of Zephirin Toups, Sr’s. home, built circa 1866 and moved in 1974 to a new location. Zephirin was of German descent. His father, Telesphore Toups, Sr., was born in Louisiana’s German Coast, and his father, Gaspard Toups, immigrated to Louisiana in 1721 with one of the first groups of Germans to settle along the Mississippi River in the area of present-day St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes.
Philip Toups, Zephirin’s great, great, grandson provided this excerpt from Zephirin’s obituary: “All of his (Zephirin’s) life was spent in this neighborhood (the St. Charles Community) and he, along with his brother Olezie… were pioneers in settling and reclaiming lands in what is now one of the fairest and most fertile spots in the Valley of Lafourche.” Zephirin died in his home (where these oaks still stand) on October 2, 1908, at the age of 81.
The Zephirin Toups’ home is on the National Register of Historic Places, and I felt the oaks at the home’s original location should receive some historic recognition as well. It’s likely that these oaks were already mature trees when Zephirin built his home on this land. They provided shade and shelter for his home and family and witnessed the passing days of their lives for many years. This link connects to the Louisiana Historic Preservation website with additional information about the Zephirin Toups, Sr. house, a one and one-half story frame structure in the French Creole style.
The following poem was written by Philip Toups after he and his wife visited the home and before they purchased it and moved it…
Bayou Lafourche was settled by a variety of descendants from these first immigrants to Louisiana’s German and Acadian Coasts — Germans, Austrians, French and French Acadians, English, Africans, Spanish, and Canary Islanders. They all made Bayou Lafourche their home, and over time, they merged and blended their various cultures into what today we recognize as Cajuns and Creoles.
The Lafourche Live Oak Tour was created through the generous support of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. For more information on Lafourche Parish events and activities, visit their website at LACajunBayou.com.