Lovely La­borie: Au­then­tic and Re­ally Lu­cian

RICH IN HIS­TORY AND RE­ALLY LU­CIAN

Tropical Traveller Magazine - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

Be­fore the ar­rival of Euro­peans in the early 1600’s, the dis­trict of La­borie had been home to dif­fer­ent groups of Amerindi­ans. Arawak ar­ti­facts such as zemis and pot­tery have been found in the Black Bay area and there are in­trigu­ing rock basins and pet­ro­glyphs in some in­land lo­ca­tions. The deep bays of the dis­trict with their reef-pro­tected shores pro­vided at­trac­tive lo­ca­tions for hu­man habi­ta­tion.

It's likely that the first Euro­pean set­tlers of the vil­lage now known as La­borie were the French in the 1700's. In 1763 there were per­haps a dozen houses in the small com­mu­nity known as "L'Islet à Caret." The name was French for 'Tur­tle Is­land,' after the log­ger­head tur­tle that came to nest on the beaches and the sandy, reefy is­land that once ex­isted in the bay.

La­borie be­came an in­de­pen­dent parish in 1765. By 1775 more houses had ap­peared along with the first church, and 81 es­tates through­out the quar­ter had been al­lot­ted to French set­tlers, some of whose names live on in the names of nearby com­mu­ni­ties such as Augier, Banse, etc.

In Oc­to­ber 1780, a dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­cane hit Saint Lu­cia and de­stroyed most of the build­ings and crops on the is­land. That hur­ri­cane, thought to be the worst in Saint Lu­cia’s recorded his­tory, also swept away the lit­tle is­land in the bay, but the Kwéyòl name and iden­tity of Anse Kawet (Bay of the Tur­tles) lived on.

By 1789, the vil­lage was re­named La­borie in honor of Baron Jean Zénon An­dré de Véron de La­borie, French Gov­er­nor of Saint Lu­cia from 1784 to his death in 1789, for his ef­forts on be­half of the white res­i­dents to re­in­state La­borie as a sep­a­rate parish, and for the restora­tion of its church.

Through­out the 1800s and early 1900s daily life in the dis­trict didn't see great changes. Most peo­ple lived in­land, ‘in the coun­try’ where they farmed, com­ing down into La­borie Vil­lage on the week­ends for mar­ket day and church. The other main ac­tiv­ity was fish­ing.

Many La­bo­ri­ans went abroad in search of ed­u­ca­tion and work to des­ti­na­tions such as the UK, Panama, Cayenne and Bri­tish Guiana, Canada and the United States. Roads were ei­ther non-ex­is­tent or dif­fi­cult so most com­merce and travel to other com­mu­ni­ties or the cap­i­tal, Castries, took place by boat.

The Bean­field Air Force Base, an air­field built dur­ing the sec­ond World War, was staffed with sol­diers and air­men from the United States and brought some em­ploy­ment and pros­per­ity to the La­borie and Vieux Fort area. The old air­field was even­tu­ally trans­formed in the 1970s into Saint Lu­cia's He­wanorra In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Some of the in­fra­struc­ture built dur­ing that time still sur­vivesl, in­clud­ing roads, some build­ings and in­ter­est­ingly, some con­crete pill­boxes along the coast be­tween Vieux Fort and La­borie. The for­mer pub­lic hos­pi­tal in Black Bay was ini­tially built dur­ing that time. Yet, by the end of the sec­ond World War, La­borie was still not con­nected to the elec­tric­ity grid and pipe-borne wa­ter.

In the 1950's, United States' Forces based in the Caribbean built a radar sta­tion at Morne Le Blanc in La­borie. In or­der to sup­ply their radar sta­tion, they also built and im­proved in­fra­struc­ture such as im­proved road ac­cess from Vieux Fort to La­borie, all the way to the Morne. The for­mer radar sta­tion is now a park, man­aged by La­borie's ECHO-Lab and open to all.

Although nowa­days La­borie is a mod­ern vil­lage, the sleepy beach­front and busy fish­er­men make for a chilled out, very au­then­tic back­drop for the vis­i­tor who likes to get off the beaten track. Most homes now have piped wa­ter and elec­tric­ity, many have cable TV and the In­ter­net. Just like any­where else in the world, there are teenagers that can barely be dis­tracted away from their smart­phones. But in La­borie, they have par­adise as a back­drop for their self­ies . . .

Check out ilove­la­borie.com for more about lovely Labowi!

is on the Pic­ture per­fect La­borie

Lu­cia, and south­east coast of Saint

old­est home to one of the is­land's

churches.

Fish­ing is one of the main eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in La­borie.

Fish pots on the beach

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