“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana — The American South (West South Central)

Spanish Lake

Old Spanish Trail

Spanish Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
March 29, 2018
1. Spanish Lake Marker
Spanish Lake is an example of a bluff lake, which forms in areas between the bayou bank and the higher bank that runs along the edge of a river's drainage area.

Spanish Lake, formerly called Lake Flamand and later Lake Tasse (meaning “cup” in French), is believed to have been an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River when it flowed 3,800 to 5,500 years ago through what is now Bayou Teche. Spanish Lake is an example of a bluff lake, a type of lake that forms in areas between the bayou bank and the higher bank that runs along the edge of a river’s drainage area. This explains Spanish Lake’s unusual shape, with one side straight as if a bluff structure and the other side a curved line (like a former river course).

In historic times, the land surrounding the lake was a vacherie (cattle range). Later, during Spanish rule of Louisiana, a large number of Canary Islanders and immigrants of Spanish descent moved into the area and settled along its shores, giving the lake its current name.

Spanish Lake is 16 feet higher in elevation than the nearby Bayou Teche. In the early 1800s, before the advent of steam-powered

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mills, the owner of Keystone Plantation used this elevation difference to construct a canal between the two waterways and power a sugarcane grinding mill. This is one of the few known instances of water power used for this purpose in southern Louisiana. After passage of the River and Harbor Act of 1907, the canal was expanded to increase the amount of water available to rice farmers.

The Mississippi River Flood of 1927 sent water between the Teche ridge on the east and the escarpment (a long steep slope) known as the coteau to the west. Floodwaters flowed into Spanish Lake and then New Iberia, where they met rising water from Bayou Teche and inundated the city. The combination of a year of heavy rains and breaks in early Mississippi River levees contributed to widespread flooding throughout the region. This catastrophic event became one of the most devastating disasters in U.S. history and influenced a dramatic shift in the nation’s flood protection policy.

Today Spanish Lake is a favorite local boating and fishing spot. It also offers birdwatching and a walking trail.

Visit for more information about this site.

This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene meander-belt (point bar) deposits of the Bayou Portage occupation of Mississippi River
Erected by State of Louisiana and National Park Service.

Spanish Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
March 29, 2018
2. Spanish Lake Marker

Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentParks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Old Spanish National Trail series list.
Location. 30° 2.67′ N, 91° 51.735′ W. Marker is in St. Martinville, Louisiana, in St. Martin Parish. Marker is on Spanish Lake Road south of West Old Spanish Trail (State Highway 182), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 117 Spanish Lake Road, New Iberia LA 70560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Spanish Lake (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of Camp Pratt (approx. 0.6 miles away); Belmont Plantation (approx. 3.3 miles away); The Erath Building (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Episcopal Church Of The Epiphany (approx. 3˝ miles away); A Walk of Faith (approx. 3˝ miles away); St. Peter's Cemetery (approx. 3.6 miles away); Eddie L. Dorsey, MD; Ima Pierson, DDS; Howard C. Scoggins, MD; Luins Williams, MD (approx. 3.6 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on April 2, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 2, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 348 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 2, 2018.

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Jun. 7, 2023