You might notice the East Reserve (today called the RM of Hanover) is kind of an upside-down L-shape. If it were a full square, it might include La Rochelle.
I’m just saying, it’s pretty close by… especially considering that in my youth, whenever we’d visit frindschoft yantzied (coming from our farm in the Hochstadt area), our family would naturally drive past La Rochelle all the time.
It always fascinated me, because I felt there had once been something more there. Not to mention the fact that there are plaques and monuments on the site. But would you believe, never once did we stop in La Rochelle?
Finally, this past August, I made my dream come true — I finally read the plaques at La Rochelle!
I think I was expecting to discover the history of this spot, but I think I’ll have to google it instead. The monument above mentions (and pictures!) a family that had been in La Rochelle since 1885… but from Wikipedia, I’ve learned that La Rochelle was established in 1859! Wikipedia also told me that La Rochelle was established by Métis families… but this I already knew. I mean, if the name’s French and the place is in Manitoba, then yeah, that’s Métis history right there. I definitely need to learn more of this.
On the site, you’ll also see this lovely plaque, acknowledging the school that was here until 1962:
The RM of De Salaberry’s website says that at one time, there were as many as 30 students attending this school.
In the late 1800s, Mennonites established cheese factories everywhere they went in Manitoba… but here in La Rochelle, there was a butter factory in 1890! (I feel like that’s the French influence… yum!)
When you google La Rochelle, you might learn something else that’s pretty interesting… apparently there’d been a prisoner-of-war camp there during the second world war. Whoa.
And this is about all I can learn about this place. I still would love to take a little walking tour of the area, but… I’d need someone who lives there to agree to this. So, I guess I can continue to dream about learning more about this petite community so near to where I grew up.