Claude Joseph Dubreuil, Jr. purchased what is know today as Vacherie - Gheens from the Ouacha and Chaouacha Indians in the 1740's for twelve head of cattle. He named it La Vacherie meaning "Cattle Ranch". His plan was to furnish New Orleans' markets with beef.
In 1879 J.R. Gheens purchased a portion of Dubreuil's holdings. The Gheens family from Louisville, Kentucky was in the taffy business and needed a source of sugar for their product, so they bought the Gheens Plantation which is located in the back of Gheens. Here they would grow the sugarcane to produce sugar for their Taffy Plant back home.
In 1890 Gheens and his brother's incorporated GR Sugar and Cattle Co. The Post Office established on the plantation was called Gheens. When they bought the property, they traded cows to the meat market in New Orleans which was not a success because it took too long for the meat to cross the river. It was from this point on that they focused on only sugar.
Located on the "Gheens Road" – Highway 654, St. Anthony Catholic Church holds a statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor which was believed to have saved a child’s life. As the story goes, a young child named May Ayo was stepped on by a horse which left her with severe damages and in critical condition. May’s family prayed to a picture of Our Lady of Prompt Succor and May’s mother made a promise that if May lived, they would place a statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in the family’s parish church in Raceland. May stopped hemorrhaging and in just a few days her face, which was crushed by the horse had returned to normal. May’s mother bought a statue, but there was no place in Raceland or Lockport for another statue. A few years later, the statue was offered to St. Anthony’s Church in Gheens where it was accepted. In the 1920’s, a severe storm destroyed St. Anthony’s Church and miraculously only the statue was left standing. Throughout the next few years, people in the community took care of the statue until it was given back to St. Anthony’s, and now has a permanent home.
On February 1, 2015 the congregation of the Gheens Presbyterian Church celebrated its 100th anniversary. After the 8am service, the Lafourche Heritage Society joined by Mrs. Melva Cressionie, a 96 year old church Elder and session clerk unveiled a historical marker commemorating the church's part in Lafourche Parish History.
Gheens Bon Mange' Festival History
The Gheens Bon Mange' Festival was originally named the " Gheens Day Festival" and began in the early 70's behind St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Gheens. In 1973 it was moved to the Vacherie - Gheens Community Center grounds.
Since so much great food was being served every year, the board of directors decided to change the festivals name. In February of 1980 the VGCC Board change the Festivals name to the " Gheens Bon Mange' Festival" which means good food.
The final payment on the Vacherie - Gheens Community Center was made in September of 1991. A family dance was held in celebration as a way of saying " Thank You " to the community of Gheens for their support.
One of the people credited for getting the Center up and running was Mr. Gary Dominique. Our community park located behind our center is named after him.
In 1994 our reigning Queen Michelle Morris was crowned LAFF Queen of Queens.