Dan Ellis -- Writer | home
Although unaware to many Coastians, the quiet back-bay area has a wealth of history. Located four miles north of Pass Christian, DeLisle has never been incorporated. Its timber lands had been cut-over during the 1920s. Just a generation past, most of the inhabitants still conversed in the French language.
Today, the community is composed of a scattered population creating a beautiful residential and farming community. Much of DeLisle consists of truck-farming and large residential estates with grazing horses, cattle, and goats. Not having a commercial or manufacturing base, except for Chemours/Dupont, many of its residents seek employment in other parts of the Gulf Coast.
Henderson Avenue, which leads from the beachfront of Pass Christian, when extended northward, becomes Hampton Road. It courses across bridges that cross Bayou Portage, Wolf River, and Bayou DeLisle. That roadway was built in 1914 to accommodate the road traffic that was arriving from New Orleans. Until 1928, the Kiln-DeLisle Road was the only means for automobiles to reach Pass Christian.
Prior to that, all transportation from that area was conducted by sailing schooners.
In this safe haven, away from the coastal beaches, John Huddleston, Mateo Martinolich, and Justine Lassabe started ship yards where many boats were built for the seafood and lumber industries along the coast.
The area became famous for boat construction with several boat yards and lumber mills, such as those operated by W.S. Keel and Jules Sellier, which were located on the banks of several of the streams. Many schooners moored at the “Old Landing” near Antonio Pavolini’s Shipyard on Bayou DeLisle. There, at the bluff, they would drop off furniture, tools, and food supplies from New Orleans and pick up charcoal, lumber and bricks that were taken back to New Orleans in trade.
As even more American and immigrant settlers arrived, the area became known as Wolf Town, which, in 1884 when the post office was established, the name was officially changed to DeLisle.
In its isolation, DeLisle, like the Kiln area, became well known for its own type of White Lightnin’ which was called “Creme of DeLisle.”