Louisiana iris on the location of the Battle of New Orleans and of the small historic Black neighborhood of Fazendeville, founded about 1870 for recently emancipated Blacks and torn down in the mid-1960s to expand a national park in Chalmette, La.
Nearly 60 years ago, a historic Black community founded as a home for newly freed slaves was demolished to expand a national park commemorating the Battle of New Orleans and Civil War casualties. Now park rangers and iris enthusiasts believe they may have found a botanical reminder — Louisiana iris and African lilies that the village's residents may have planted.
Woody Keim, a great-great-grandson of the community's founder, says he thinks it's a tragedy that Fazendeville was torn down and wonderful that the dark purple iris and white and pink crinum lilies have been discovered.
“Even though the government tried to erase this village, there's still life raising its little flowery head to show there once was a community here,” he said.