The following quotes are taken from Old Louisiana Plantation Homes and Family Trees by Herman de Bachelle Seebold, M.D. In Two Volumes - Volume One, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 1971
The famous plantations and property owners of St. Bernard Parish in 1815 in order of the distance from the city to Bayou Terre Aux Boefs were, Montreuil, Macarty, Lavau, Duplessis, Butler, Dupre, Solomon, Prevost, Piernas, Dezilet, Delere, (acres) Sigur, Languile, Macarty, Chalmette (owned by Ignace Martin de Lino de Chalmet. Antoine Bienvenu, (1425 acres), Versailles (owned by Casmir Lacost, son-in-law of Pierre Denis de la Ronde), and subsequently acquired by Drauzin and Ereville Villere).... pg. 64
Kenilworth, the Old Bienvenu Plantation
Some distance out on the road known as the St. Bernard Highway, eighteen miles from New Orleans to be exact, can be seen distinctly.......a beautiful old plantation house sheltered by a grove of oak, cedar and pecan trees, and surrounded by a luxuriant wealth of blooming greenery and palms.....
Pierre Antoine Bienvenu, who came from Quebec, Canada, in the year 1725, built the house in 1759 according to the best available record. It is of the high basement type so prevalent at that day--the lower floor rooms having been converted into living quarters in later years. Massive wall--heavy batten shutters and an attractive outside stairway, which rises from the brick-paved lower gallery--are all typical of this type of cool and comfortable mansion. The walls of the lower floor are of brick cement-finished, while the walls of the upper floor have a weatherboard surface in lieu of the cement--a feature quite common in many Louisiana plantation houses. It is of mortised peg construction with most of the labor done by slaves. During the period the plantation was occupied by General Albert Estopinal--who purchased it in 1887 as a home--changes in the attic were made so it could be used for bed-rooms--and the more modern window frames in the attic substituted for the original ones.
Now the property of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and after a considerable outlay the house has again been restored the gardens, and planted old fashioned roses and fragrant flowers until it again appears no doubt much as it did in the original owner's day. It looks very lovely and inviting from the roadway, with its plantation and outbuildings stretching far rearward. The room arrangement is the same upstairs and down. The kitchen as usual is in an out-building connected by a covered passageway. The pigeonnaires and stables are gone as are the garconnaires, but enough remains to give a very good idea of what these old places looked like originally. Most of the slave-made heavy hardware, hand-made, on doors, windows, etc., is intact.
Filled as it is with a nice collection of antiques by the Wilson family, many of the pieces having historic association. This house has been known by numerous names--for many years as the Estopinal place, later as Kenilworth, a name by which many know it today. Another property, the Gothic place some distance away on the Mississippi River around the bend, also called Kenilworth, is of distinctly Gothic type. Both belonged to an English syndicate that at one time operated a chain of sugar plantations, most of them being purchased after the Civil War when sugar and cotton plantations could be purchased for a song.
Pierre Antoine Bienvenu
After the transfer of Louisiana to the Spanish the French were given and accepted representation in the Cabildo according to old records of the Louisiana Historical Society. This Cabildo met in New Orleans December 1st, 1769, and besides the governor, included among others was Antonio Bienvenue (all names Latinized in this ancient record). This Mr. Antonio Bienvenue, owner of the Bienvenue Plantation on which stands the white marble marker referred to in the following article, was the father of Melicourt Bienvenue owner of Kenilworth Plantation and was the first one of the Bienvenue family to locate in Louisiana.
A bronze tablet marks the spot where the white marble marker formerly stood that is mentioned further on in this article. The father of Melicourt Bienvenue was the largest landowner in this area as the family was a wealthy one. The old plantation home was destroyed at the time of the Battle of New Orleans. Later the home was rebuilt on simpler lines. Vincent, Chevalier de Morant [his brother's granddaughter, Marie Adelaida Josephina De Morant, married a grandson of Pierre Antoine Bienvenu, Louis Marcel Bienvenu, our direct ancestors, ], married twice. His first marriage was to Madame Constance Volant Marquise, widow of the martyred Pierre Marquise, issue one child Constance de Morant who married twice: 1st, to M. Landier, and to M. Magliore Guichard, issue one child named Josephine, who married Melicourt Bienvenue, a son of Antoine Bienvenue who was the father of twelve sons. [11 children, 7 were girls] Antoine Bienvenue lived with his wife and large family of twelve sons on the Bienvenue plantation located in St. Bernard Parish, La.-a plantation that has gone down in history as being part of the Battlefield of the Battle of New Orleans. On the old Bienvenue Plantation one sees a marble tablet telling of the owner of the plantation, and of its being part of the battle-field. One of his sons Melicourt Bienvenu owned Kenilworth Plantation, which he had acquired shortly after the beginning of the 19th century and enlarged it for his wife and family. His daughter, who had been educated in England noting a bayou in front of the plantation that reminded her of the moat around Kenilworth Castle, named the plantation Kenilworth. Pg. 66-8
Gleanings: Pierre Antoine Bienvenu, Sr., was born Mar 1703 in St. Malo, France. He was in Kaskaskie [a French trading post located on the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers] by 3 Jun 1726 when he married his first wife, Francoise Marie Rabut, also born in France. She died in 1739 when her youngest was only seven years old. Antoine eventually came back down the river to settle in New Orleans. His second wife, Marie Marthe De Vens, born at Fort Conde [Present day site is Mobile, Alabama] is our direct ancestor. Her father was one of the was the official engineer of the colony, helping to build and repair the fort. Before coming to Louisiana he was mapping Guinea. He also explored and mapped the Bay of St. Bernard, now Matagoda Bay in Texas. Her mother, Marie Marthe Chauvin was born in Mobile in 1711, and the daughter of a founder of the colony, Jacques Chauvin, who went with Iberville to France and then to Louisiana. Marie Marthe DeVens was 33 years younger than her husband. Apparently she kept him young, because he had six more children with her, lived a full life, and settled happily into a more sedentary existence of a planter and leader of the colony. Their fifth child, Pierre Antoine Bienvenu was our ancestor. He married Marie Charlotte Pascalis Delabarre, whose parents were of French and Swiss origins. Their sixth child was Louis Marcel Bienvenu.