The Advocate: Landmarks Society tour explores early history of 'Village of Bayou St. John'

For 300 years, the Vieux Carré has worn the crown of being New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. But some historians now argue that the city’s first European settlement was not on the banks of the Mississippi River but instead on the natural levees of Bayou St. John.

Jamie Barker is one of them. A tour guide and longtime docent at the Pitot House on Moss Street, Barker developed a tour of Bayou St. John for the Louisiana Landmarks Society, the nonprofit that owns and operates the Pitot House museum.

“I started being a docent at the Pitot Hose when I retired a few years ago,” Barker said. “I’m an amateur historian who became fascinated with the history of the area, and so I started researching it more than a year ago. When I felt like I had a good handle on the history, I offered to present a tour based on the research to benefit Landmarks and call attention to the Pitot House. I was surprised to find out that the Village of Bayou St. John was settled by Europeans as early as 1708, 10 years before the city was founded.”

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