24 September 2018

Vide Poche

(Thanks to StLGS treasurer, Viki Fagyal, for this week's blog post. Do you have an interesting story to share about early St. Louis history? If so, please share!)

Clement DeLore de Treget founded the village of Carondelet in 1767 on a trip upriver from Sainte Genevieve. Other French settlers from Cahokia and Kaskaskia joined DeLore to form the village. At first called DeLore's Village, it underwent several name changes such as Louisburg, Prairie a Catalan, and finally, in 1794, Carondelet in honor of Baron François Louis Hector de Carondelet, the Spanish governor of Louisiana.1 St. Louis City dwellers affectionately referred to the village as "Vide Poche," meaning "empty pockets," a reference to either the financial status of the inhabitants or to that of visitors departing after gambling losses in Carondelet gaming houses.2 “Carondelet retorted by calling St. Louis “Pain Court” (short [on] bread), for which they found justification in the fact that most of the French settlers in St. Louis were traders and trappers, who did not produce a sufficient quantity of grain to supply the local demand, a frequent scarcity of bread being the consequence.”3 The City of Carondelet was incorporated by act of the state legislature on 1 March 1851.4 Carondelet was annexed to St. Louis City by act of the legislature in April 1870.5

If you aren’t sure your family lived inside the boundaries of Carondelet, the St. Louis City government website defines Carondelet's general boundaries “as Walsh St. on the North, southward to Virginia Ave. eastward to Eichelberger St., southward to the Mississippi River on the East, westward to E. Nagel Ave., southward to S. Broadway, westward to E. Robert Ave., on the South, northward to Virginia Ave. westward to Robert Ave. southward to Alabama Ave. westward to River City Blvd. to Interstate Highway 55 (I-55) northward to S Grand Ave. eastward to Loughborough Ave. northward to Interstate Highway 55 (I-55) westward to Holly Hills Blvd. northward to S. Grand Blvd on the West to Walsh St.”6 Carondelet originally included all the land included in Jefferson Barracks.

Carondelet maintains an active historical society and reference library and welcomes visitors with an interest in the area. To learn more about the Carondelet Historical Society, click here.


1. Norbury L. Wayman, “History of St. Louis Neighborhoods: Carondelet,” StLouis-MOGov (https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/archive/neighborhood-histories-norbury-wayman/carondelet/text6.htm : accessed 10 July 2016), para. 2.
2. Wayman, “History of St. Louis Neighborhoods: Carondelet,” para. 4.
3. William Hyde and Howard L. Conard, Editors, Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis, A Compendium of History and Biography for Ready Reference, Vol. III, St. Louis: The Southern History Company, 1899, p. 1689.
4. Missouri General Assembly, Laws of the State of Missouri, Passed at the Session of the Sixteenth General Assembly, Begun and Held at the City of Jefferson, on Monday, the Thirtieth Day of December A.D. 1850, (Jefferson City, Missouri : James Lusk, Public Printer, 1851), pg. 139, “An Act to incorporate the City of Carondelet;” digital images, Google Books : accessed 10 July 2016).
5. Wayman, “History of St. Louis Neighborhoods: Carondelet,” para. 14.
6.“Carondelet Neighborhood Map,” City of St. Louis, Neighborhood and Ward Maps, StLouis-MOGov, (https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/neighborhoods/profile.cfm?neighborhood=carondelet : accessed 10 July 2016.)

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