By Chrissy Cifuentes
While patrons dine at Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Laplace, they are not only captivated by the delicious food, but also the beautiful scenery. Many do not realize the rich heritage that the land of Frenier possesses. Architect and property owner, Murry Daniels, explained that this unique land along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain has much more history to it than what meets the eye. Over a decade ago, he utilized his talent in construction to build Frenier Landing Restaurant. “I built the restaurant around hurricane Gustav, and it has withstood a lot of storms. When Hurricane Isaac came through, the building took the brunt of the storm, which was a 13ft storm surge,” said Daniels. “However, we made sure this building was strong. It is a 150 mile an hour rated storm shelter and is also fireproof.” When designing the restaurant, Daniels took in consideration the history of the grounds. He constructed it to look like an old fishing camp in order to pay homage to its rich history.
In the late 1800’s, Frenier was a small coastal town which consisted of only about 450 people. The only means of transportation was by train or boat, and there was only one general store and catholic church for settlers. “Around 1860, this area became a German and French community,” stated Daniels. “It was named after a German family named Frenier. They came here in the 1870’s and settled before the logging industry became big in this area.” According to Daniels, the nearby town of Ruddock housed a large lumber mill that started cutting the swamps around the region to harvest the overgrown cypress. “This community was a support community for Ruddock, which is about 7 miles away,” stated Daniels. “They grew vegetables here such as cabbage and peas. In fact, the tradition of eating cabbage and black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day began in the heart of Frenier.”
Although this coastal area’s history is rich, it holds a tragic past. On Sept. 29 in 1915, a devasting hurricane rocked the region. It left Frenier completely in ruins with only a few survivors. “It was called the Great West Indies Storm, and it was the highest wind and lowest pressure hurricane ever seen in the United States,” said Daniels. “No one knew it was coming. Residents were not able to leave in time, so mostly everyone perished.” For years the area remained desolate, until the 1940’s. “Slowly the land started being populated again with small fishing camps,” he said. “Now we have this great restaurant here and so many camps,” he said. “I know it will get even bigger and better in the years to come.” Daniels believes that Louisiana’s tourism industry is growing unlike never before in the region. He is thrilled to witness all of the many new attractions Frenier will have to offer within the upcoming months.
As for Frenier Landing Restaurant, they will continue to honor the past by providing local, Cajun delicacies that tantalize the taste buds. Live music and laughs fill the air each weekend, while families feast on their favorites. House Manager Crystal Bird explained that the family atmosphere and location of Frenier is what makes the restaurant so dynamic. “I enjoy when families come together to celebrate special occasions in this beautiful setting,” said Bird. “The central location is perfect to bring everyone together.”
For more information on how to book a private event at Frenier Landing, visit their website at www.frenierlanding.com.