The two brothers in 1800.

The story of Dixie Land­ings actu­ally begins down the Sassa­goula in Port Orleans, with the actions, antics and activities of a pair of brothers.

Growing up in the early 1800s, older brother Everette was a quiet lad who kept to himself, often spending days on end whittling small carvings with a remarkable degree of detail. Younger brother Jonathon, on the other hand, was as outgoing as Everette was private. Something of a showman even as a child, Jonathon yearned for recognition and acceptance from classmates, parents, neighbors and, most of all, from Everette.

“Ol’ Man Pool Bar”, the cabin built by Everette
in 1835 still stands today. Visitors are welcome
to stop by the pool bar for a refreshing drink.

One evening, donning his dad’s old army uniform, Jonathon paraded about the family home acting every bit the military officer. His antics led the family to dub him “The Colonel” and, from that day forward, the nickname stuck. Even as an adult, Jonathon Colby kept the epithet, invariably referring to himself and even signing his name as “Colonel J.C.”

Inseparable in their early years, as the brothers grew into adulthood their personalities pulled them in different directions. Eventually, craving a quieter life than the Port Orleans of 1835 could offer, Everette ventured alone up the Sassagoula River — avoiding contact with the trappers who had already discovered the area to be a goldmine of wildlife — in search of his own private paradise. He was drawn to an area framed by twin oak trees visible high above the lush vegetation. Everette saw that one of the two towering oaks stood on an island and he knew at once he had found his home.

The island was isolated from the trappers’ shacks along the shores of the bayou. Everette built a cabin and constructed a clever aqueduct to bring fresh water from a spring deep in the bayou across the river.

Everette Peace, as an old man,
in the mid 1800s.

The trappers and their families would, from time to time, notice a wisp of smoke rising through the trees on the island and sometimes even catch a fleeting glimpse of the mysterious man who lived there. This, of course, led to many tales of the “odd old man on the island” who was surely an ogre with a taste for lost children.

Before long, “Ol’ Man Island” had grown into a full-fledged legend among the area’s youngsters. That is, until one exceptionally brave (and thoroughly mischievous) young lad built a raft and paddled to the island. Expecting an ogre but finding a kind old man instead, the two quickly became friends. Soon all the children in the area made the island a regular stop. Everette turned his wood-working talents to constructing all manner of playthings for his many new friends. Ramps and ropes, slides and swings, ladders and log-walks and all manner of things... Soon a whole section of “Ol’ Man Island” had become a playland like no one had ever seen before — and one so masterfully crafted it’s still enjoyed by kids of all ages today.

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