Good Soil, Good Farmland
The soils that predominate in the Cane River corridor—Roxana, Gallion, Moreland, Latanier, and Armistead—are considered prime farmland. Based on the Department of Agriculture definition, these soils are best suited to producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops. The red coloring of the soils in the region gave the mighty Red River both its name and its rusty hue.
The agricultural fertility of the soils long played a major role in the region’s development. Soon after the French arrived and constructed Fort St. Jean Baptiste, settlers began clearing the fertile floodplains along the Red River. They laid out their plantations using the French arpent land tenure system—long narrow lots that fronted on and ran perpendicular from the river to the back bayous. Plantation owners acquired many of these arpents to create their large landholdings. They located their plantation homes along the river, set back enough to provide views of the fields, orchards, agricultural buildings, and of course the river.
Photo by NPS