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Kismet Plantation, taken sometime in the 1990's

Kismet Plantation, taken sometime in the 1990’s

My last three blog posts (here and here and here) featured a portion of Anthony Tassin’s (a distant relation of mine) personal recollection of Kismet Plantation. Mr. Tassin had quite a few recollections of the old Creole-style plantation, so I have broken them up into sections to share with you. This is the final installment of the Kismet Plantation series:

Ownership and Occupancy

On this subject I can cover only the 1990s. Etienne J. Caire owned the property from 1914 and the ownership has remained in his succession since his death in the 1950s.

When my father accepted a job offer from Mr. Claire to be manager of his store in Edgard, Daddy, Mama and their six children moved from New Orleans (where Daddy had worked for the Purity Wine Company) and lived in the Kismet house until September 1965. The eight youngest children of the family of fourteen were born in the Kismet house, 1913 to 1925.

The damage to the house in Hurricane Betsy was such that the family had to move out to allow repair. The family then moved to New Orleans and remained on South Robertson Street until Daddy’s death in February 1972.

Prior to 1914, and possibly going back to 1895, the Kismet house was the home of Olidé Schexnayder, a school teacher and photographer. Mr. Schexnayder never married. In Marcia Gaudet’s Tales from the Levee, she states:

“Olidé Schexnayder was a photographer in Edgard, born in 1871, and educated at the University of Chicago. The glass negatives of his photographs were found by his great, great nephew, Remy Amedee, in an abandoned corncrib near his grandparents home in Edgard. The . . . photographs depict life as it was in Edgard at the turn of the century.” (p.42)

When the Tassin family moved into Kismet and until 1929/30 (the time when the house was moved), there still existed a room under the house. It had served as Professor Schexnayder’s classroom. It had a wooden flooring, a large square table (about 8′ square) and 2 or 3 long desks (about 6′ long) with the typical grooved trough for pencils and holes to hold ink bottles. In later years, my father used the desks to make lawn benches — indicating the substantial quality of the wood, then at least 50 years old.