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Louisiana’s history with Cape Verdeans stretches back at least some 158 years. The first known Cape Verdean to settle in Louisiana was Manuel Toechers. He was born circa 1813 in Cape Verde. During the 1850 Census, Toechers was a 37 year-old male living in New Orleans Municipality 3 Ward 1, Orleans.
Five decades later, several other Cape Verdeans were residing in Louisiana. Mann Sanders, born circa 1870 in Cape Verde, was a 30 year-old Black head of household. He lived with his wife, Ella, in Baton Rouge Ward 1, East Baton Rouge. Ella Sanders was a 24 year-old Black woman who, like her parents, was born in Louisiana. The Sanders marriage is the first evidence of Cape Verdean integration into the African-American community of Louisiana.
By 1920, the Cape Verdean population began to rise. Antonio Barry was born circa 1887 in Cape Verde. Elvi Santos, a compatriot, was born five years later circa 1892. Both immigrated to the United States and became crewmembers of the S.S. Lakewood. Both were Single, literate, Black, Males who lived in New Orleans Ward 3, Orleans during the 1920 Census. The Census mistakenly listed the men’s native language as being Spanish.
A. Gorues [Gomes] and L .V. Clemente were both born circa 1900 in Cape Verde. Both were Single, White, Men who could read and write. The men were crewmembers on the S.S. Lake Elizabeth that was docked in New Orleans Ward 3, Orleans during the 1920 Census.
Canded Lima [Caudido Lima] was born circa 1892 in Cape Verde. Lima was a Single, literate, Black, Male living in New Orleans Ward 3, Orleans, Louisiana. Lima was a crewmember on a different ship then the aforementioned.
Manuel O. Porta [Manul O. Costa] was born circa 1891 in Cape Verde. Jones Santiago was born circa 1882 in Cape Verde. Both were literate, Single, Black, Males who were ship crewmembers. They both resided in New Orleans Ward 3, Orleans, during the 1920 Census.
W. A. Wright [W. O. Wright] was born circa 1902 in Cape Verde. Wright was a literate, Single, White, Male living in New Orleans Ward 3, Orleans during the 1920 Census. The 18 year-old was crewmember on a ship.
The Cape Verdean population dropped within a decade, according to official records. Micheal R. Monterio was born in 1903 in Cape Verde. Monteiro was a 27 year-old, White, patient at the U.S. Marine Hospital in the Police Jury Ward 5, Iberville, Louisiana. The rest of the Cape Verdean residents of the city were merchantmen. Pascal Mendis was born in 1892 in Cape Verde. His compatriot, Antiono Pereiro, was born a year later in 1893. Both men were classified as Negro, worked on the ship Anniston City, and were ported in New Orleans, Jefferson. Mendis was a cook and Pereiro was a second cook on the ship. The families of both men lived in Sao Vicente, making it likely that both men were also from the aforementioned island.
Two other merchantmen in the state hailed from Cape Verde. James Almada was born in 1899 and compatriot Antonio Cecilio was born a few years earlier in 1896. Both men worked aboard the George W Barnes that was ported in St Charles Parish, Louisiana. Almada was classified as White while Barnes was classified as Negro.
Cape Verdeans in Louisiana seemed to have had various experiences while living in the state. Some came by themselves, while others seemed to have come in groups. Some were permanent residents of the states being evident by their marriages to locals, while others were temporary residents, working on ships until the next port of call. The Cape Verdean population of Louisiana remains small with only 26 people in the 2000 Census. These 26 will continue the century and a half long story and add to its richness.