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Godchaux's Pure Cane Sugar was produced at a sugar refinery in Reserve, Louisiana, where Leon Godchaux, the company founder, was known as Louisiana's "Sugar King".  


Leon Godchaux was a young Jewish immigrant who came to America from France in 1836 at the age of 12.  Because he spoke French, he settled in New Orleans.

Upon his arrival in Louisiana, he made his way as a backpack peddler, selling notions to the ladies of the river plantations.

By 1840, at the age of 15, he had purchased his first store, the  entry into what eventually became a long and successful run in the clothing and department store business.  Godchaux's on Canal Street was a New Orleans institution until finally closed it's doors in 1986 due to bankruptcy.

He acquired his first sugar plantation in 1850 at Bonnet Carre, which he renamed Reserve.  Despite the plantation's location in the deep South, Godchaux was not a slave owner.  A community developed around the mill, also named Reserve.

Godchaux purchased more sugar plantations after the Civil War.  He acquired 14 in all, and consolidated the processing of the sugar to one centralized facility rather than at the individual sugar mills on each plantation.

An extensive railway system was set up to move the raw sugar cane from the plantations to the central mill at Reserve.  The Godchaux Railroads were considered one of the finer examples of plantation railroads.

Leon died in 1899.  His family continued to operate the clothing and department stores, as well as the sugar business. 

Leon's granddaughter, Elma Godchaux, was an author.  Her novel, Stubborn Roots, was  based on the lives of her grandfather Leon and her father Edward.  

The Godchaux mill and refinery was sold in 1958 to the National Sugar and Refining Company.

The Hunt Brothers purchased the refinery in 1975, where it operated until 1985, when the refinery closed its doors forever.


Godchaux's Sugar Recipe BookThe Story of Godchaux's Pure Cane Sugar, 1935, 96 pages

Famous Recipes from Old New Orleans: Collected for You by the Makers of Godchaux's Sugars, 1940, 64 pages

Famous Recipes from Old New Orleans:  Collected for You by the Makers of Godchaux's Sugars, 1948, 64 pages

Famous Recipes from Old New Orleans:  Collected for You by the Makers of Godchaux's Sugars, 1949, 64 pages

Famous Recipes From New Orleans:  Collected for You by the Makers of Godchaux's Sugars, 1955, 64 pages


Cooks and cookbook collectors will be interested in the Godchaux promotional recipe booklets mentioned above.

Cloth sugar bags and sugar sacks are often found bearing the Godchaux brand name.

Railroadiana related to the Godchaux plantation railroad is also popular with collectors.  A couple of examples are old magazine articles and railroad tokens.

Many of the old locomotives and cars are now in the hands of private collectors.  At least one of the Godchaux locomotives can be found still in use at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.


Delta Sugar: Louisiana's Vanishing Plantation Landscape

Not particularly light reading,  but a great overview of the history, culture and legacy of Louisiana's sugarcane plantations.  If you're the type who likes to read about a subject before you visit an area or go on a vacation, this book will likely enhance your actual visit.  The Godchaux's are mentioned briefly in this book, but other plantations studied more closely are the Armant, Ashland, Oaklawn, Cedar Grove, Whitney and Madewood plantations.


In 1992, the Port of South Louisiana acquired the Godchaux-Henderson sugar refinery location.  The Creole plantation house has now been designated as an historic landmark and is located along southern Louisiana's famous River Road.  It is not yet open to the public.

Read about the Godchaux-Reserve Sugar Plantation Home


"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

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