The History & Lore of Frenier

Zip NOLA is located in the quaint historic town of Frenier. Originally known as Schlösser after its founder Martin Schlösser, Frenier was once a thriving logging/farming community. Nestled on the banks of Lake Ponchartrain on the edge of the Maurepas Swamp, Freniers main commodities were Cypress timer and Cabbage. Though known for its cypress timber, Frenier became famous for its cabbage, which became commonly known as “Frenier Sauerkraut”. With no roads servicing the town, access was limited to boat or a railroad which intersected the town. This railroad became an important lifeline for the town, carrying most of their exports into New Orleans to be sold at the farmers market known commonly now as the “French Market”, and as far north as Chicago.

Frenier is probably best known for its ties to Voodoo! In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s Frenier was home to a well-known Voodoo priestess by the name of Julia Brown. Julia Brown was once a very popular healer in the community. With her healing abilities known far and wide in South Louisiana, Julia Brown commonly treated people from New Orleans to the logging town of Ruddock. As legend has it, Julia’s talents became taken granted for and her position and disposition within the community became tense and degraded. After the death of her husband Celis, Julia became a recluse. Accounts of the towns people declare that Julia spent her remaining years in her swamp cabin, mainly on the porch singing hymns in her rocking chair. It was the nature of the hymns for which caused the towns people such disdain. The context of these hymns could be summarized as “As I die, so does the town of Frenier” or “When I die, I’ll take the whole town with me”.

Julia died on September 29th, 1915 at the old age of 70. The entire town and many of the nearby townsfolk showed up to her funeral service, either out of respect or fear for her premonitions. In the midst of her funeral service, a major Category 4 hurricane now known as the New Orleans Hurricane of 1915 made landfall. With a storm surge of over 12’ and winds topping 125mph, the storm collectively killed over 300 people across South Louisiana, 60 of which were located in Frenier and Ruddock alone. After the storm subsided several days later, the survivors collected the remains of the townsfolk, burying them in a mass grave outside of the town. Julia’s grave was placed alone approximately 100 yards away, where it remains to this day.

Articles and videos on Frenier and Julia Brown: