No. 3099, Morehouse Parish, LA

Photos of Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, which is ranked by the New York Times among the fifty hardest places to live in America.

The smoke from Mack’s Bar-B-Q permeates the air all over Bastrop, the seat of Morehouse Parish. No corner is left untouched by the scent of spiced meat. Mack’s gives the town a feeling of liveliness that would otherwise be lacking. The dominance of the aromas from his smoker serves as a continual reminder that there is a place to share in the communal joy of eating.

Bastrop was founded on a lie. The Baron de Bastrop, Phillip Hendrick Nering Bogel, fled to Spanish Louisiana to avoid imprisonment for tax fraud and adopted a new identity. He was not a baron, and there was no such duchy as Bastrop. Bogel, however, sold such a believable story that his true identity was not discovered until years after his death. Bogel was given a grant for the Morehouse Parish area, provided that he could settle it with 450 families in three years. When he failed to do so, he sold the (now invalid) land grant to Abraham Morehouse, and made his way to Texas.

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